Posters for the People: Rediscovering the Lost Art of the New Deal - Atlas Obscura

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Posters for the People: Rediscovering the Lost Art of the New Deal

Hear about a local initiative to track down and identify posters produced as part of the Works Progress Administration New Deal!

In the 1930s and 1940s, the era of President Roosevelt's New Deal, the government-sponsored Works Progress Administration (WPA) commissioned artists to create more than 2,000 educational and informational posters for cultural initiatives, travel, and tourism. Iconic and eye-catching, humorous and educational, the posters often combined modern art trends with the techniques of advertising and commercial designs. While many of the posters found their way to libraries or archives, others remained inaccessible and uncatalogued for decades.

Join Social Impact Studios and Atlas Obscura Society Philadelphia for an exploration of the lost (and found) poster art of the Works Progress Administration. Ennis Carter will host an intimate conversation on June 21 about the process of collecting, describing, and publishing the posters online and the hardcover book Posters For the People: Art of the WPAwhich features 500 of the most striking posters. We'll also view and discuss examples up in Social Impact Studios' current pop-up exhibit. 

Ennis started the WPA Living Archive, the most comprehensive online database of WPA posters known to exist, in 2008. The initiative has found more than 100 posters never catalogued by the federal government and highlighted works that in some cases haven't been seen in 70 years. 


Email John Pettit at

Stay connected! Subscribe to the Atlas Obscura Society Philadelphia newsletter and join our Facebook group for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.