During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) included a federal art program called Federal Project Number One, commissioning artists to create visual art, music, theater and literature. This Saturday, April 16, the High Desert Museum will open "Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression." The exhibition will combine original work of the WPA artists with new art commissioned by the High Desert Museum.
"Art for a Nation" is the largest art exhibition the museum has ever undertaken, according to Director of Communications Sandy Cummings. "We're very excited about the expansive community partnerships we've formed," she says, "which, like the WPA itself, will bring art, music, dance, theatre film and even fashion of the '30s to Central Oregon."
The three artists commissioned for the exhibit are each nationally and internationally recognized. Allan McCollum rose to fame in the 1975 Whitney Biennial Exhibit in New York and today his art is featured in museums around the world. He is working with Bend button artist Delia Paine, who is creating 6,048 pin-back buttons, each in one of McCollum's unique shapes, representing Oregon Trail pioneers who inscribed their names on a rock in Wyoming.
Marie Watt is an Oregon artist and member of the Seneca Nation who uses blankets to create towers in her "Blanket Stories." She was recently commissioned to create a sculpture three stories tall by the U.S. Department of State's Art in Embassies.
David Willis is a glass artist and international art instructor living in Portland who explores the relationships between people and nature. Flameworking glass has taken him from the University of Oregon, to Japan, to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York.
The exhibition at the High Desert Museum will run from April 16 through Oct. 2.
"Art for a Nation" Exhibit Opening
Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The High Desert Museum,
59800 S Hwy 97, Bend