NEW DATE! June 2: A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State (program)

Text reads New Date! June 2, 2024, at 2 p.m. background image painting of a river with trees along the banks and clouds in the sky

New Date! This program has been rescheduled for June 2, 2 p.m.

A New Deal For Public Art In the Free State

Sunday, May 5, 2024, 2 p.m. Sunday, June 2, 2024, 2 p.m.

FCHS Archives & Research Center, 2011 E Logan Street, Ottawa, Kansas 66067

Register for online access via Zoom

Between 1934 and 1943, the U.S. Treasury Department commissioned over 1,600 pieces of public art for newly

Smiling woman with dark hair framing her face.
Kara Heitz will present “A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State” on May 5.

constructed post office buildings across the United States. In the state of Kansas, twenty-nine of these murals and other artworks were installed in twenty-six post offices as a part of this New Deal arts program. For eight decades, thousands of Kansans have walked past these public works of art – sometimes in appreciation, sometimes with a nod of familiarity, sometimes without even registering their existence. This talk explores what these murals can tell about Kansas during the Great Depression era and how they continue to speak to Kansans today.

Kara Heitz is a historian and educator who engages in cultural history storytelling through documentaries, podcasts, and writing. She is a lecturer in the Liberal Arts department of the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), where she teaches courses on 20th century American history, film and history, and critical studies.

“A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Speakers Bureau, featuring humanities-based presentations designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

This program is free and open to the public in person and online. To join online, register for Zoom access here. For more information, call (785) 242-1232 or e-mail Diana Staresinic-Deane.

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