The Dickinson County Historical Society and the Arts Council of Dickinson County in Abilene will host “Images of Depression-Era Work in Kansas Post Office Murals,” a presentation and discussion by Lorraine Madway on Saturday, June 8 at 7:00 pm at the Dickinson County Heritage Center located at 412 S Campbell Street. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. Contact the Heritage Center at 785-263-2681 for more information. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.
This program is the beginning of the Dickinson County Historical Society’s summer Memories of the Prairie Lecture Series. Each Saturday night in June and July there will be an historical program presented at the Heritage Center at 7 pm. The first program is co-sponsored by the Arts Council of Dickinson County. The Arts Council continues to help bring the arts and cultural to the residents of Dickinson County. All of the Memories of the Prairie Programs are free of charge; however, donations are always welcomed to help offset the cost of the programs.
Between 1936 and 1942, the federal government’s Fine Arts Section of the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department partnered with Kansas citizens and professional artists and architects to produce post office murals that portrayed the workers, landscapes, and heritage of Kansas. Madway will discuss how the resulting depictions, heroic if not fully accurate, of agriculture, industry and state history preserved local autonomy while projecting the New Deal values of optimism and communal progress.
Lorraine Madway is the special collections curator and university archivist at Wichita State University Libraries. Her article about the Federal Writers’ Project for Kansas was published in Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains in Summer 2012.
“Along with other art projects in the New Deal, post office murals helped to rebuild the nation’s spirit at a time of crisis,” said Madway. “These images challenge us to ask what we can learn from this creativity as we work to renew the spirit of our state and nation in our own time.”
The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or visit online at www.kansashumanities.org.
For more information about “Images of Depression-Era Work in Kansas Post Office Murals” in Abilene contact the Dickinson County Historical Society at 785-263-2681.