Working Artists

Monday, Feb 14 – Mar 26, 2022

Eastern Illinois University
2010 9th St.
Charleston, IL 61920

Selections from the Tarble Arts Center's permanent collection

February 14–March 26, 2022

Main Galleries

This exhibition historicizes the role of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in central Illinois by showcasing the work of artists employed by a major federal agency during the Great Depression. Focused on a variety of themes, including folk art, regionalism, and the American working class, the artwork is significant as a distinct movement in the long history of the development of art. Furthermore, the story behind each piece offers insight into the artist, the historical moment they represent, and a budding artistic movement, as well as the political and economic realities of the era.

Guided by Assistant Professor Dr. Camden Burd, students enrolled in the Department of History’s Public History Practicum selected, researched, and examined the unique holdings of the Tarble Arts Center to design a compelling exhibit for the broader public. Students received hands-on experience by researching works in the Tarble’s permanent collection, working with Tarble staff on curatorial methodologies, and facilitating relationships with community partners to share, promote, and exhibit their work. This exhibition is supported by a Redden Grant from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.


Marion Greenwood, Mexican Harvest, 1941, lithograph, 1995.42.1