New Deal Art in the Post Office
How many times have you been in the post office in the Square and seen these paintings in the lobby and wondered who painted them, when were they installed there, and why? Well, now the wondering is over.
The two murals, Early Rural Mail Delivery and Early Rural School are the work of Rockport based artist W. Lester Stevens (1888-1969), who created the oil on canvas murals in 1936 as part of the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), one of several art programs which fell under the umbrella of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the New Deal agency that employed millions during the Depression.
The federal art programs were created to not only help out-of-work artists, but to enable average Americans to view and enjoy works of arts for free in public spaces. Hundreds of murals were installed in post offices, schools, and federal buildings across the country. Most of the art depicted inspiring scenes from America’s past. You can view 40 other works of New Deal art that survive in Massachusetts (and many more across the country) at this website: http://www.newdealartregistry.org
Dedham is fortunate to have such a treasure; go see it in person in the Post Office lobby, 611 High St.
Thanks again to Joe Flynn and George Milne of the Dedham Post Office for their help in photographing the murals, and to Lynne Damianos for the great photos.