New Deal Gallery
Current Exhibit on Display
Under the Influence: New Deal Painters And Their Artistic Influences
About the New Deal Gallery:
The New Deal Gallery at Livingston Arts in Mount Morris, NY houses over 200 works of art from the Great Depression. It is the largest known collection of New Deal easel art in the world outside the Smithsonian Institute. The paintings were commissioned by President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. The WPA was part of the many programs created in the 1930s by the federal government’s “New Deal”. By allowing these artists to continue to practice their craft, not to mention eat, the federal government helped create a community of American artists who dominated the arts after World War II. They made New York City, and the US, the new center of the art world.
Our Murray Hill site was visited by Eleanor Roosevelt and chosen for the Mount Morris Tuberculosis Sanatorium when FDR was Governor of New York. The complex was the recipient of a collection of 230+ easel paintings. The sanatorium opened in 1936 and operated until 1971. The campus was turned over to the county in 1973. Since that time our building and most of the buildings on the campus have been Livingston county offices. When the county acquired the sanatorium it also acquired its painting collection created during the New Deal.
After 1973 the works of art stayed on the walls in the Livingston county buildings. They were displayed at the millennium celebration then stored until 2008 when the county and Genesee Valley Council on the Arts opened the New Deal Gallery in historic Livingston Arts Center. Through the auspices of the Livingston county government these historic paintings are now properly cared for. Livingston Arts also houses a library of video & print information about the Great Depression as well as biographical information on the artists in our collection.
Please browse the New Deal Virtual Gallery of the entire Livingston County WPA Art Collection. The Great Depression artwork is showcased in the New Deal Gallery on a rotating basis. Most works require restoration … at minimum cleaning of both the painting and its frame. To contribute to restoration through our Adopt a Painting Program, please click here.
Photographs on this website of the Livingston County WPA Art Collection are used with permission from the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration.
Special thanks to former New York State Senator Dale M. Volker for his support and acknowledgement of this historic art collection.