American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Swan Dive

Swan Dive
Mabel Wellington Jack (1890-1970)
Swan Dive
Lithograph, ca. mid-1930s
Prints & Photographs Division
W.P.A. transfer (217B.1)

The Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), was established in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his New Deal program to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Within the W.P.A., Federal Project Number One (Federal One) was launched as a central administration for the arts-related projects. It provided funds for artists, musicians, actors, and writers through the Federal Art Project (F.A.P), the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theatre Project, and the Federal Writer's Project. Many New Deal artists and administrators shared a vision in which art could be a part of the daily lives of all Americans, not just the elite. Toward this end, work was made accessible to artists, and art was put within the reach of many through community-based education programs, exhibitions, and affordable purchase prices. WPA/FAP artist Mabel Wellington Jack used the print medium of lithography to produce this stunning chiaroscuro image of a diver in mid-flight.

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