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Press Release                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Racine, WI     January 22, 2010
The Racine Art Museum Reflects on Tough Times

Tough Times

The present economic recession invites us to re-examine artworks created 70 years ago during the similarly harsh financial climate of the Great Depression. Open January 24 through April 18, 2010, Great Art from Tough Times: Wisconsin WPA Artworks in RAM's Collection features pieces that form an accurate record of the tough economic times and everyday life of the 1930s. Coinciding with the annual Watercolor Wisconsin competition currently on display at RAM's Wustum Museum, the show also serves as a reminder of the generations of painters who preceded, inspired and taught our contemporary Wisconsin artists.

Artists were particularly affected by the Depression. As economic hardship eliminated discretionary income, commissioned projects, teaching positions and sales disappeared. Roosevelt and the WPA administration realized the important role that the arts could have in bolstering the country's spirit. At a time when the arts were not considered part of popular education, supporting the arts through Government funding was revolutionary.

Like the more timely American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the WPA program was not without controversy. Although its original intent was to feed artists rather than create great works of the art, what emerged from the WPA program was a legacy of serious documentation of the work of regional artists for future generations.

More about the exhibition

Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open to the public Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $5 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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For more information or to request images, please contact:

Laura Gillespie
RAM Marketing Assistant
262.638.8300 x 114

Image Above: Santos Zingale, 1908-1999, The Thing, 1938, Watercolor and tempera on paper, Racine Art Museum, Works Progress Administration, Wisconsin Federal Art Project