Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico 1933-1943: A Guide to the New Deal Legacy
Sunstone Press, 2012 - Art - 374 pages
Do you like to go treasure hunting in obvious or out of the way places? Do you like to view fine art in galleries large and small? This book will give you directions to New Mexico's amazing New Deal treasures and to buildings and bridges, murals and sculptures, paintings and people who made them. They are not necessarily in the most obvious places, and yet many are in places that one routinely visits. They have been patiently waiting in our cities, our villages, our parks, rarely witnessed as being "treasures." They were constructed perhaps even by your own artistic ancestors. This book is full of clues. Go sleuthing! Growing up in Portales, New Mexico, Kathryn Akers Flynn lived in an area with a New Deal courthouse, a New Deal post office, and New Deal schools. She worked at the local swimming pool and partied in the city park, both built during the Depression era. In high school she was a cheerleader on 1930s football fields for onlookers in Work Progress Administration bleachers and camped out at a nearby Civilian Conservation Corps created park and lake. She never knew any of these structures were fashioned by the New Deal, nor did she notice the New Deal treasures in Salt Lake City while at the University of Utah where she received her Bachelor's Degree or the New Deal structures in Carbondale, Illinois where she earned her Master's Degree at Southern Illinois University. Returning to New Mexico, she had a career in the state health and mental health administration that included directorship of Carrie Tingley Hospital, a New Deal facility with many public art treasures. It wasn't until she became Deputy Secretary of State of New Mexico that she realized what was around her. As a result she went on to edit three editions of the "New Mexico Blue Book" featuring information about New Deal creations all over the state. This book presents the history and whereabouts of many such treasures found since compiling an earlier book, "Treasures on New Mexico Trails," and another that focuses on New Deal programs nationwide, "The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration." She also assisted with the compilation of "A More Abundant Life, New Deal Artists and Public Art in New Mexico" by Jacqueline Hoefer, also from Sunstone Press and an apt companion for "Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico." She was instrumental in creating the National New Deal Preservation Association, and now serves as Executive Director.
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Having just read one entry, that on Gordon Kenneth Grant, I'm appalled at the number of factual errors in it. Gordon Kenneth Grant's father was NOT Walter Grant, the NYC gallery owner; he was Kenneth Grant, the manufacturer and salesman of electrical fixtures. While I found evidence of Gordon's time at Berkeley, another source says he attended Stanford University and doesn't mention the California School of Fine Arts in SF nor the ARts and Crafts SChool in Berkeley. Since he was 17 years old in 1925, the year the author has him beginning at Berkeley, I wonder at the other information. Also, city directories for Santa Barbara have him living at 570 East Valley Road in Montecito starting in 1934 until the time of his death in 1940. If he assisted Herter, whom he could easily have met in Santa Barbara since Herter lived there much of the year, it was in 1930-31, according to the Report of the President of Wellseley of those years. Also, Herter painted 2 murals at that time for the new Hetty Green Administration Building, not six. (He may have returned to paint more, but ??). If Gordon moved to New Mexico in 1935 and workedi for the next 10 years promoting American art, it was part time and posthumously. (He died in 1940). The problem with this entry may have been confusion between Gordon Kenneth Grant, his brother Campbell Grant, his uncle Gordon Hope Grant, and a possible other Grant who lived in Santa Barbara and attended Berkeley who was just Gordon Grant (no relation that I can tell). Regardless, that this has been published will lead to even more confusion! A researcher.