WPA poster "Work Pays America" with two men shaking hands over wheat. Farm and Industry imagery.

“Work Pays America” by Vera Bock, WPA NYC

Did you know that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration hired out-of-work commercial artists during the Great Depression?

From 1936-1943, the WPA Poster Division designed, printed and distributed millions of posters to raise awareness about public issues. The posters were custom designed and beautifully silkscreened by hand. Unfortunately, the government did not keep a central record of these posters and most of them have been lost and long forgotten.

Posters for the People is a People’s Initiative created by Social Impact Studios to preserve the legacy of the WPA posters by putting this national treasure back into the hands of the American people. Our ongoing search through private and public collections has created the most comprehensive record of posters known to exist – more than doubling government estimates.

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the New Deal in 2008, Social Impact launched Posters for the People, with a book published by Quirk Books, hosted a city-wide festival, and created an online “living archive” to document and present the posters. Since then, we’ve sponsored a New Deal Film Festival and curated exhibits at the National Constitution Center, Adrienne Theatre, Mural Arts Program and Penn State, and many more.

Learn more about Posters for the People on the always-growing living archive website.

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