Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Federal Art Project (FAP), Photographic Division collection dates from circa 1920-1965, with the bulk of the records spanning the active years of the FAP: 1935-1942. The collection comprises 12.4 linear feet of photographic prints and negatives, including photos of FAP artists and the artwork created by them, and other activities of the FAP in communities throughout New York City and other states. Photographers include Andrew Herman, Sol Horn, David Robbins, Leo Seltzer, and others.
Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection has been digitized and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Walton Family Foundation.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are related collections, including the Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948. Additional FAP records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.
The Federal Art Project (FAP) was one of the Depression-era work-relief programs of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was established in May 1935 specifically as a work relief program for the millions of individuals left unemployed during the Depression. Its name changed to the Work Projects Administration in 1939 when it fell under the administrative hand of the newly created Federal Works Agency. (At that same time, the Federal Art Project officially became the Federal Art Program.) Under the Federal Art Project, separate photographic divisions were set up in several states, most notably in New York City. In addition to documenting the work and activities of artists employed on the program, photographers documented the activities of other projects under "Federal One," including the Federal Theater and Music Projects. Photographers also worked on creative assignments for exhibitions, photo murals, etc.
The collection was anonymously donated to the Archives of American Art in the late 1950s.
This site provides access to the papers of Federal Art Project. Photographic Division in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 18,430 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001