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WPA Events

July 6 (Sunday) 11:00 AM (Free) - Meet at Coit Tower entrance
Coit Tower Walk & WPA Murals Presentation
By Mark R. Johnson

The important WPA art works have just been added to the National Historical Registry, and there is a continuing fight to stop the privatization.  The Coit Tower murals are part of the New Deal’s Public Works Art Program (PWAP) and were also part of a historical struggle when the witch hunters tried to censor the social and labor murals of the people of California.
Mark Dean Johnson, Professor SFSU and Author of At Work: The Art Of California Labor
Review - LaborFest Coit Tower WPA Mural Presentation-7/7/08
By charles Slay

July 8 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free) -Labor Archives & Research Center, SFSU 480 Winston Dr., SF
The Federal Theater Project & Its Work
Presentation by Joel Schechter
The Federal Theatre Project stages a pro-union play seventy years ago.
SFSU Professor and theatre historian Joel Schechter will discuss Pinski’s play, its original production, and other progressive works staged under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Theatre Project between 1935 and 1939.  The presentation includes a slide show of production photographs, and reading of excerpts about these works and plays from Schechter’s new book, Messiahs of 1933, just published by Temple University Press.

July 12 (Saturday) 12:00 Noon (Free) SF Main Library - Koret Auditoriium - 100 Larkin St., at Grove
New Deal Films and Presentations
With Harvey Smith, Gray Brechin and others.
New Deal historians Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith will introduce and screen films produced in the 1930’s and 1940’s about the largest public works project in the history of the United States.
The films to be shown are: The road is Open Again, Hand, Dawn Strikes the Capitol Dome, We Work Again, The River, Work Pays America, The Columbia, Artists at Work.
ARTISTS AT WORK focuses on the visual arts programs of the New Deal, highlighting the impact on the lives and work of American artists. Interviews with Ilya Bolotowsky, James Brooks, Joseph Delaney, Harry Gottlieb, Chaim Gross, Lee Krasner, Edward Laning, Jacob Lawrence, Alice Neel, Joseph Solman are included, along with archival film, photographs, sound recordings, and original color photography of the works of art. ARTISTS AT WORK chronicles the New Deal effort to spread "art to the millions" through the country's first comprehensive art education program. The Artists Union and related political activities are explored, as are the destruction and loss of works of art produced under the New Deal Programs.
For information call (510) 649-7395

July 15 (Tuesday) 10:00 AM (Free) SF Main Library Meet on 6th floor near the New Deal Exhibit
The New Deal Exhibition
With SF SEIU Local 1021 member librarians, Jason Baxter and Christina Moretta, Historical Photography Editor
This extensive exhibit shows the role of the New Deal for working people in San Francisco from the construction projects to the other work that was done during this period.

July 15 (Tuesday)
7:00 PM (Free) West Portal Public Library 190 Lenox Way, SF
The New Deal In The Sunset District
Presentation by Gray Brechin
The Sunset has many monuments to the New Deal including libraries and sites in the Golden Gate Park. This unknown history will be revealed in this entertaining talk.

July 19 (Saturday) 9:30 AM (Free) Meet at Berkeley High School Main Entrance on Milvia in Berkeley
The East Bay Schools, The New Deal & The Education Crisis Today (Presentation & Walk)
With Harvey Smith, Fred Glass, Oakland Education Association (OEA) and Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT) representatives.
For information please call (510) 649-7395

July 26 (Saturday) 7:00 PM ($5.00/Donation) SEIU 1021 HALL 350 Rhode Island, SF (Enter on Kansas between 16th & 17th)
Music From The WPA
Music From The WPA with The San Francisco Bay Area Labor Heritage Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus, Jack Chernos, Carol Denney and others. From Woody Guthrie who worked as a public artist to thousands of other musicians and singers the 30’s was a renaissance of working class music and culture.
The chorus will perform it’s Beans, Bacon and Gravy, a set of spoken word and songs about the depression and the New Deal.
The chorus has performed at the Convergence of the Choruses at the George Meany Center in Washington D.C. and at the celebration for the 75th anniversary of the Highlander Center in New Market, Tennessee.

July 27 (Sunday) 10:00 AM ($15.00) Civic Center Between Asian Art Museum & Main Library, SF
WPA Bus Tour

Join Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith as they travel through history on a bus tour of historic sites built by unionized labor. You will learn about the major contribution workers made during the depression era of the New Deal program. They will discuss 75 years of the WPA. Please be aware that the tour will take about 5 hours depending on the traffic and the discussions.
Co-sponsored by UTU Local 1740

Meet at the San Francisco Civic Center, between the Asian Art Museum and the Main Library.
Reservation required:
Call (415) 642-8066 or by e-mail: and leave your name, # of reservations and phone number to get back to you in case of any changes.
Make reservation, then send check to:LaborFest, P.O. Box 40983, SF, CA 94140
(Sandwiches and drinks will be available on the bus.) Bus will be back at the Civic Center. Tour lasts about 5 hours.