The Beauty of a Block

The Beauty of a Block: Women Printmakers of the WPA Era

The Beauty of a Block: Women Printmakers of the WPA Era, an exhibition highlighting 19 women artists who were employed in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project during the 1930s and 1940s. The selected prints are drawn from the Hite Art Institute’s expansive print and drawing collection, which holds over 4000 prints from artists around the world. Since the 1930s over 100 exhibitions have been curated from this collection, but this exhibit will be the first to focus solely on a group of women artists.

Curated by students Megan Bogard-Gettelfinger, Whitney Mashburn, Jessica Oberdick, Elizabeth Smith and Leanna Smith in the Critical and Curatorial Practice Seminar, this exhibition grew from expansive research into these selected artists, which revealed strong professional and personal networks — an aspect accentuated in the exhibition through the display of personal artifacts and letters. The selected prints have been chosen to encompass a wide variety of mediums and subject matter, and emphasis was placed on imagery focused on workers, families, landscapes, and the industrial growth of America during the 30s and 40s. The resulting display includes artists’ working in a variety of print media including woodcuts, lithography, and serigraphy, and imagery depicting race, gender, and societal roles.

The Beauty of a Block will be installed in the Schneider Hall Galleries on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus from May 29-July 17, 2015, with an opening reception on May 29 from 5-7 p.m..

Artists included are: Gertrude Abercrombie, Florence Arquin, Ida Abelman, Leah Balsham, Vera Berdich, Kathleen Blackshear, Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Cleo Van Buskirk, Ruth Cheney, Eleanor Coen, Blanche Grambs, Nan Lurie, Clara Mahl, Ann Nooney, Miné Okubo, Elizabeth Olds, Dorothy Rutka, Ethel Spears, and Katherine Uhl.