New Deal holiday cards on sale

December 2 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State University's Permanent Art Collection is hoping you will add a bit of history to your holiday celebration, by sending out greeting cards featuring Works Projects Administration (WPA) artists.

"This is the first set of 12 cards from a collection of 65," said John Lustig, curator of the Permanent Art Collection. "We hope to continue this project by releasing a 12-card set for each of the next five years."

The first set of cards includes work by Diego Rivera, Grant Reynard, Reginald Marsh, Adolph Dehn and Howard Cook.

"The first batch features popular and well-known artists, although there are a few rare ones," Lustig said.

These cards were originally printed in 1935 as a demonstration set by the Design Lab wing of the Federal Artists Project, an important part of the Works Projects Administration.

During President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal era, the United States government administered four public arts programs - The Public Works of Art Project, The Works Progress Administration\\\'s Federal Art Project, the Treasury Relied Art Project and the Section of Fine Arts.

These programs operated between 1933-1942 with regulations presiding over how the artists were selected and paid, how the art was documented and where it was install or to whom it was distributed.

Currently, the General Services Administration in Washington, DC has authority over all works of art created during this time period.

Lustig discovered the originals in 2002 and officially registered them with the federal government.

"At the time of discovery, they weren't officially registered," he said. "The GSA didn't know they existed."

Indiana State has 390 works from the WPA collection Lustig said, adding that 65 of the pieces are greeting cards.

The original cards, held in trust in Indiana State's Permanent Art Collection, feature the works of such outstanding artists such as Rockwell Kent, Jose Orozco, Reginald Marsh, Diego Rivera and John Steuart Curry. A wide slice of American imagery is featured in this collection along with the ingenuity and spirit of the 1930s, and various traditional printmaking methods are highlighted.

The originals are currently on exhibit at the Dixon Gallery in Gardens in Memphis, Tenn. through Jan. 15, 2009. During 2009, the collection will be on display in Virginia and in Seattle. The collection has already been displayed in cities such as Kansas City and Chicago.

"I love this collection," Lustig said. "I'm thrilled they are getting out in the public view for all to enjoy."

The greeting cards, printed by Hulman & Co., are being sold at museum gift shops nationwide and are available locally from the Sheldon Swope Art Museum for $16. Greeting card proceeds will be used to support maintenance and conservation of work within Indiana State's Permanent Art collection.

For more information on the cards, or a complete list of places where they can be purchased, contact John Lustig at 812-237-4334.

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CONTACT: John Lustig, ISU Permanent Art Collection, (812) 237-4334

WRITER: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Indiana State University's Permanent Art Collection is hoping you will add a bit of history to your holiday celebration, by sending out greeting cards featuring Works Projects Administration (WPA) artists.

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