The Living New Deal

Still Working for America (

The 1930s were the hardest of hard times. With millions unemployed, America made an unprecedented investment in its people. The New Deal, a constellation of federal programs, put people to work rebuilding America.  The built schools, post offices, hospitals, roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, parks, theaters, airports, and more–much of which America still relies on today. But thousands of public spaces that were the hallmark of the New Deal are disappearing—sold or demolished, along with murals, mosaics, and sculptures that belong to all Americans.

The Living New Deal is making visible that endangered legacy.

The Living New Deal is compiling the first-ever open source database of what the New Deal built, including stories and photographs of people who worked for the New Deal. The website,, shows the impact of the New Deal across America, and what can be achieved when government rallies to serve the needs of ordinary people in troubled times.

UC Berkeley’s sale of a million-dollar artwork by renowned African-American WPA artist Sargent Johnson is an especially troubling, but hardly unusual example of what’s happening as the public domain is dismantled. The GSA, the federal agency responsible for protecting New Deal art, permitted the sale. The university sold Johnson’s 22-foot redwood carving for $150.

Berkeley’s Artwork Loss is A Museum’s Gain, The New York Times

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