How Murals In 26 Kansas Post Offices Tried To Cheer People Up During The Great Depression

SteveBlog, Slideshow

KCUR: A mural showing a stagecoach crossing a snowy, windblown Kansas landscape once graced the walls of the Olathe post office. Albert T. Reid’s “The Mail Must Go Through” was created as part of a New Deal-era program that put 29 pieces of art in 26 Kansas post offices.

The story behind these pieces of art, and the conflicts arising from the democratic process that led to their creation, are the subject of “A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State,” a documentary by Kansas City filmmakers Kara Heitz and Graham Carroll.

The United States Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts commissioned more than 1,600 murals and sculptures to be put in post offices across the country between 1934 and 1943.

“The federal government also recognized — Roosevelt’s administration and administrators working for him — that people needed to feel uplifted and positive,” says Heitz, a lecturer of American history at the Kansas City Art Institute. “They needed images to give them hope in their daily lives.”  Read more.