Berkeley and the New Deal (Images of America)
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Berkeleys 1930s and early 1940s New Deal structures and projects left a lasting legacy of utilitarian and beautiful infrastructure. These public buildings, schools, parks, and artworks helped shape the city and thus the lives of its residents; it is hard to imagine Berkeley without them. The artists and architects of these projects mention several themes: working for the community, responsibility, the importance of government support, collaboration, and creating a cultural renaissance. These New Deal projects, however, can be called hidden history because their legacies have been mostly ignored and forgotten. Comprehending the impact of the New Deal on one American city is only possible when viewed as a whole. Berkeley might have gotten a little more or a little less New Deal funding than other towns, but this time it wasnt Bezerkeley but very much typical and mainstream. More than history, this book shows the periods relevance to todays social, political, and economic realities. The times may again call for comprehensive public policy that reaches Main Street.
for the American people. However, it was sold to an art dealer for $150 plus tax and eventually made its way to the Huntington museum, where it is now insured for $1 million. (The Harmon Foundation Collection, Still Picture Collection, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.) 80 The restored Sargent Johnson pipe-organ screen is pictured at the Huntington. The effect of the artwork has been described as dramatically modern—somewhere between the Zigzag (Art Deco) Moderne of the late 1920s and
in the empty lot revealed by the glare of day. He was a painter at Coit Tower, and his fresco panel was titled Railroad and Shipping. (BPL.) 95 Arthur Murphy was a WPA lithographer who was influenced by the three great Mexican muralists— Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. Like other artists of the period, Murphy also worked in the style of Social Realism, which was an international art movement. Artists of the movement drew attention to the conditions of working and poor people and of the social
an etching by Elizabeth Ginno, was designed by architect Arthur Brown Jr. Bathed in light at night, the fair could be seen throughout the Bay Area. By the time the lights dimmed in 1940, the United States was on the cusp of war. The fairgrounds were demolished except for the three permanent buildings, and the island became a naval base during World War II. Mine Okubo graduated from UC Berkeley and was a WPA artist and mural assistant for Diego Rivera. She was interned in Topaz, Utah, as a result
Kennedy-Smith, baker and goat farmer, sit on the retaining wall benches that line the Model Yacht Racing Lake at Aquatic Park, built by the WPA in 1937. This view of the bench retaining wall is facing the Eastshore Highway. Aquatic Park is a popular location for hiking, cycling, boating, bird-watching, and picnicking. 20 Aquatic Park Lake was designed to conform to international standards for model yacht racing and hosted both the National and Pacific Coast Regattas for M-class boats in 1938.
remember them is to revive also the ethical vision with which ingenious and compassionate leadership once infused the nation. Sculptor Robert Boardman Howard embodied that vision in a monumental relief that climbs the exterior of the Berkeley Community Theater. The sculpture faces Civic Center Park, for which the WPA also paid. Howard depicted people of all races, brought together by the performing arts. The arts, too—along with the sewers, schools, street trees, and tennis courts—sought to