Earlier this week I wrote a post called, “Post Office Profoundness” about an interesting mural I saw at a United States Postal Service (USPS) office here in Chicago. The above photo is the other mural I saw that day, notably created by the same artist. After some research, didn’t I find a fascinating tale about these significant art pieces.
In 1939 the, “Work Projects Administration” (WPA) was formed to employ millions of out of work individuals to carry out public works projects, primarily the construction of roads and buildings. However, there was a tinier, yet well-known project called, “Federal Project Number One” which employed artists, writers, actors, and directors in literacy, drama, and arts activities.
Entering the scene is one Henry Varnum Poor. You’ll love the irony I’m sure. Mr. Poor did not live up to his name in the literal sense. He was, in fact, a rather well-established artist in 1943 when asked to work on the WPA’s USPS murals. It was thought Mr. Poor’s well-respected reputation in the art world would lend the project a sense of propriety, despite the fact most projects were to be completed by unemployed craftsman.
Now, back to the building where we find that the first mural is entitled, “Carl Sandburg”. It portrays farmers and Carl Sandburg with a guitar and the words, “From the sun and the black soil poetry and song sprang”. Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and writer from Illinois. An ode to farmers and artists is the theme behind this mural.
The mural above is called, “Louis Sullivan” which displays iron workers and Louis Sullivan, a Chicago architect who was referred to as, “the father of skyscrapers” for his creations of modern-day skyscrapers. Sullivan was also a mentor to architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The mural notes, “Out of the wealth and the needs of industry came a new architecture”. Mr. Sullivan is depicted holding the Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building; his architectural gem was constructed in 1899 and is still located on State Street in Chicago.
Well, my postal purchases will never be the same, now will they? *grin*