Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Lucy Salyer


The Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration had a lasting impact on the American art scene. The experiences of artists associated with the Provincetown, Massachusetts art colony make evident the impact of the federal relief programs. The importance of the Provincetown art colony to the American art scene survived through the 1930s because of federal support. The focus on Provincetown and this smaller group of artists allows for comparisons to be made with the national society and art scene. The value of the Federal Art Project did not lie mainly in the finished artwork, but rather in the process of creating the art, in the innovations and experimentations in technique, and the sustained presence of art and professional artists during the Depression. The important group of modern artists from the 1940s--1960s owes much of its success to the Federal Art Project.