Sunday, July 17, 2011

San Francisco New Deal Tour

I went on a bus tour yesterday with the organization LaborFest. It was a five tour of the New Deal WPA and PWA sites in San Francisco led by Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith. We travelled around the city on a little yellow school bus packed into seats meant for children. It was a great time! We went from Civic Center to Ocean Beach. They discussed the many lasting contributions the New Deal workers left on the city and the Bay Area. We stopped by the Rincon Annex Center where Gray and Harvey explained the history and importance of the murals found in the lobby and courtyard. These murals were the very last project of the WPA to be completed.

The photo above is from the Rincon Annex. It wraps around the whole lobby and here you can see the beginning, the individual, and the end, a collection of heads of state. The artist, Anton Refregier, believed the way to a perfect American society was moving from individual to collective action. What is very striking is the fact he used a Native American, and standing! Most American art depicts the Native Americans as either lying down, on their bellies, or sitting. All submissive positions. The Moorish detail in the ventilation is an interesting touch.

After the Rincon Annex we drove around and saw more New Deal sights until we arrived in Golden Gate Park and visited the SFP horse stables. This was my favorite part of the tour.

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