Growing up as an artist in Washington DC, I had great appreciation for the wealth of public artwork in town, but little more than a basic understanding of how it came to be created. Given our current disastrous economy and my fears — as part of the arts community — about my part in it, I've been reading up on the Great Depression. Some of the approaches to tackle the joblessness back then seem relevant right now.
I'm talking about the New Deal, the WPA, and the CCC. Not only did the WPA create jobs for thousands of artists, artisans and craftsmen (as well as the general population), it left a legacy of public art that is a fascinating look into the social values of the time.
Wikipedia has a great overview on the WPA. It got me thinking...
Maybe it's time to revisit this idea.