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A Rare Look At Lane Tech’s Depression-era Murals

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Here’s an interesting staycation suggestion. Join portoluz for the Lane Tech Murals – a cultural tour on Thursday June 9th, 5 p.m. It’s one part of the groundbreaking cultural series WPA 2.0: A Brand New Deal.

Here’s your unique opportunity to experience a collection of rarely viewed Chicago visual arts gems.  June programming icludes a rare public tour of the Depression-era murals at Lane Tech High School at 2501 W Addison St. in Chicago.

According to portoluz, “The artwork is widely recognized as emblematic of public murals and paintings produced beginning in the 1930’s, many with the support of the federal government as part of a sweeping program designed to put unemployed artists back to work.”

Attendees should use Entrance M–off the parking lot–to enter the building, and are being asked to make a donation.

portoluz’  WPA 2.0: A Brand New Deal, features over 50 arts and humanities programs throughout the city. The year-long festival of programming will bring some of the nation’s leading scholars, musicians, civic leaders, visual artists, policy makers and cultural workers together in a look back on what the federal Works Progress Administration, or WPA, brought to millions of unemployed Americans at the peak of the Great Depression — and how we can reenergize the spirit of the WPA to organize and thrive today, in the worst economic crisis of the last 80 years. According to portoluz:

In 1934, forty murals from the General Motors Exhibition Hall at the World’s Fair “Century of Progress” became a part of Lane Tech’s art collection, and additional works were added during the WPA era. Many were produced through the Federal Art Project, one of the divisions of the WPA. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had made several attempts prior to the creation of the FAP to provide employment for artists on relief, most notably the PWAP – the Public Works of Art Project – which operated from 1933 to 1934, and the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture, which was created in 1934 after the demise of the PWAP. The FAP provided the widest reach, creating over 5,000 jobs for artists and producing over 225,000 works of art for the American people, including some of Lane Tech’s most visually stunning art works.

The widespread popularity of the murals with the public generated great pride at the high school, but over the years the mural collection suffered serious deterioration. In 1995, Lane Tech’s principal and teacher Flora Doody initiated the Mural Restoration Project to save this important collection. Students and alumni lead the in-school tours of the thirteen murals that are currently included in the tour.

The Lane Tech mural tour is co-sponsored by Preservation Chicago, founded in 2001 as a not-for-profit organization that advocates for the preservation of Chicago’s historic architecture through education and community outreach.

Press contact: portoluz: 312-752-5316 | |

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