(February 20, 2015)
"See America: Advertising Our National Treasures through Graphic Design" opens February 21 at Centenary's Meadows Museum
SHREVEPORT, LA — In the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA) created the "See America" poster series. It featured our country's most stunning locations to increase tourism and stimulate the economy during the Great Depression. Recently, San Francisco's Creative Action Network (CAN) revitalized this series with an international design campaign aimed to support the conservation of our National Parks. The Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College now features an extensive selection of these historic and contemporary poster designs to highlight the beauty of our country and the talents of graphic designers nationwide.
(Left) Historic poster by Alexander Dux, c. 1939.
(Right) Contemporary poster of Jackson Square by Robin Rials Williams, 2014.
This exhibition was curated by Centenary's Communication-New Media students, the Creative Action Network (San Francisco), the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.
To raise awareness about the importance of our National Parks and cultural landmarks, the Meadows put out a special call for regional submissions last fall. Over 50 designs were submitted in two months; all appear digitally within the gallery and on the Creative Action Network's website at www.seeamericaproject.com. Dr. Erika Doss, Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, selected 12 of these submissions to be included as full-size posters within the exhibition, next to their national and historic counterparts. Doss is the author of several books on American art, including Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism and Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities.
Dr. Erika Doss, Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame
A film by Mary Lance entitled Artists at Work: A Film on the New Deal Art Projects featuring interviews with artists employed by the WPA program during the Great Depression screens continuously in the gallery. Additionally, historian Dr. Samuel Shepherd, Chair of the History and Political Science Departments, will give a free lecture on "The WPA: Lifting America with Work of Lasting Value" on Saturday, March 14 at 2 pm.
A free opening reception will be held for the public on Saturday, February 28, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The exhibition closes on Saturday, March 28.
The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or to schedule field trips, call the Museum at 318.869.5040, or visit www.centenary.edu/meadows.