Home Welcome 2009 Schedule About LaborFest Endorsers Contact Us



WPA Events

July 3 (Saturday) 1:30 PM  (Free) - Meet at the east end of the Rincon Center lobby- Mission at Steuart, SF
Historic Rincon Murals Tour
By Jay Streets & the Rincon Mural team (City Guide)
The Rincon murals were the very last WPA project to be completed. When these murals were unveiled, powerful voices called for their destruction, but 40 years later, they saved the Rincon Center from demolition. The historic lobby murals tell many stories, from San Francisco history to the politics of the Cold War era. Discover the artistic and political background of these treasures.

July 8 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Berkeley City College Auditorium - 2050 Center St., Berkeley
WPA Film Screening:
Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story
This film chronicles the history of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers’ Project (FWP).  The FWP hired white-collar workers - writers, journalists, teachers and artists.  Its major project was the travel guide series, which documented American life and history in every state and many cities.
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley City College Social Science Department.

July 9 (Friday) 1:00 PM (Free) Meet in front of Berkeley High School - Corner of Milvia & Alston
WPA Berkeley Walk
With Harvey Smith
This walk will explore the “New Deal nexus” there that includes Berkeley High School, the Community Theater, Civic Center Park, Post Office art and the old Farm Credit Building.  Following the walk, participants can view the exhibit “75th Anniversary of the WPA in Berkeley and its New Deal Context.”
For more info: 510-684-0414


July 17 (Saturday) 10:00 AM ($15) Meet at front of Bill Graham Auditorium  - 99 Grove St., SF
WPA Bus Tour
With Gray Brechin & Harvey Smith
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.

Meet at front of Bill Graham Auditorium, between the City Hall 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 with small fee.) Bus will return to Civic Center.
Tour lasts about 5 hours.

July 22 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Berkeley City College Auditorium  - 2050 Center Street, Berkeley
Another World Was Possible:
New Deal Expansion of Public Education During the Great Depression, and Its Contraction Now
In a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Gray Brechin will chart the history of the New Deal’s support for public education, including the construction of schools and libraries for K-University institutions throughout the U.S.  This Depression-era support for education will be contrasted with the current attacks on public education.
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley City College Social
Science Department.

July 24 (Saturday) 9:30 AM (Free) Meet at Coit Tower entrance, SF 
Coit Tower Mural Walk
With Gray Brechin, Harvey Smith, Peter Driscoll
Seventy-five years ago this month artists who were working with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were working on the Coit Tower murals. These political artists were very much influenced by the general strike, and this is reflected in these historic murals.
A media hysteria was also whipped up against the art and the artists in an effort to censor them. Fortunately this failed and the murals remain a testament to the people of San Francisco and the labor movement.

July 25 (Sunday) 7:00 PM ($10) Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts- 2868 Mission St. at 25th, SF
Folk This! Presents:
Your Tax Dollars at Play
Scenes and Songs from the Federal Theatre Project
The Federal Theatre Project, led by Hallie Flanagan from 1935 to 1939, was one of the most significant cultural events of the 20th century.  The Indelible Voices Project presents a program of images, scenes and songs from some of the Federal Theatre Project’s greatest productions such as “It Can’t Happen Here” (Sinclair Lewis’ story of fascism coming to America), “Revolt of the Beavers” (a children’s play described as a “Marxist Mother Goose”), “Triple A Plowed Under” (a “living newspaper”), as well as Mark Blitzstein’s operatic masterpiece “The Cradle Will Rock”.
For advance tickets call (415) 431-8485
or e-mail:

July 29 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Berkeley City College Auditorium  - 2050 Center Street, Berkeley
WPA Film Festival
This film festival will present works produced by the Works Progress Administration and will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the WPA which was launched on April 8, 1935.  The films include many newly-struck prints that highlight WPA projects and the spirit of the New Deal and are drawn from the motion picture holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration.
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley City College Social Science Department. For more info: call 510-684-0414