Bronx New Deal - Photo #742 - Evander Childs High School Murals

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Not a New Deal Construction[1] but read on... Evander Childs High School on Gun Hill Road and Barnes Avenue in the Bronx. Like DeWitt Clinton High School (just a mile and half to the west) and every other monumental Bronx school, it has a distinguished history but has been chopped up into mini-"excellence academies" by billionaires and hedge-fund managers, and like Clinton it has New Deal murals inside: The History of Western Civilization by James Michael Newell. Somewhat similar in conception and execution to Alfred Floegel's History of the World at DeWitt Clinton High School; a bit larger (in term of square feet) and definitely more provocative. As to its New Deal pedigree, Newell himself inscribed it “In the years 1937 and 1938 these murals were designed and executed by James Michael Newell...under the Federal Art Project sponsored by the United States government.”[4]  The Federal Art Project was a division of the Works Progress Administration.

References:

  1. Evander Childs Educational Complex, nycago.org, the American Guild of Organists NY Chapter website (in addition its murals, the school also has an enormous pipe organ).
  2. Evander Childs HS, Lehman Art Gallery.
  3. Public Art for Public Schools, NYC Department of Education, schools.nyc.gov.
  4. Cohen, Michelle, Program Director, Public Art for Public schools, Controversy in Context: A Reassessment of James Michael Newell's Evolution of Western Civilization, New Deal Network, Conservation in Context: The Evander Childs High School Murals Project. A lengthy essay on the mural and a controversy that arose in 1968 regarding the potrayal of Black people picking cotton. There is, by the way, a mural in the Bronx General Post Office that shows the same thing.
  5. New Deal, Public Art for Public Schools, NYC Department of Education, schools.nyc.gov.
  6. James Michael Newell, Wikipedia.
  7. Other works by James Michael Newell, Smithsonian Institution.
  8. Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, “We Work Again” (video, 2009).
The New Deal in NYC 1932-1943 | Frank da Cruz | fdc@columbia.edu