My last post listed all the artwork, mostly paintings, displayed in downtown York storefront windows during National Art Week in 1939. It caught my eye since The Parliament arts organization is promoting a similar venture, utilizing vacant display windows.
I also found another Gazette and Daily article from November 1939 listing other National Art Week activities. I wondered if there was still a National Art Week, so I did some internet searching: National Art Week seems to have come out of the WPA (Works Progress Administration), created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create jobs during the Great Depression. The FAP (Federal Art Project) was the visual arts division of the WPA, and that seems to have been the impetus behind National Art Week, which officially lasted only a few years. The Great Depression was coming to an end, and focus shifted quickly to the United States entry into World War II.
A catalog entry for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art references papers from National Art Week from Washington State in 1940 and 1941. We know from the Gazette and Daily articles that is was being observed here in 1939, and an online article from an Alexandria, Louisiana newspaper tells about their National Art Week events in 1938.
Some other countries, such as the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, seem to be currently observing their own National Art Week. The United States now commemorates Arts in Education week, established by a 2010 resolution passed by the House of Representatives.
Here’s the 1939 article:
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