Introduction to TE's Mural Collection|
LARGEST ART GALLERY
Murals: Old, New, Good and Bad
it’s an art form we seem to need.
Oklahoma Post Office Mural "Prairie Fire" by Ethel Magafan|
Comes in Two SizesIn
recent years there has been an increase in the awareness of what are commonly
called “Post Office
Murals.” These were murals (and other works of art) which were created during
the years 1934-1943 under several government programs. They provided some decoration
for the new post offices that were being constructed all around the country. Funding
for the artwork was (creatively) based on 1% of the construction costs of the
buildings. The work provided artists with an income – since (as one government
official put it) “they have to eat, just like everyone else.” For the stipend
that was paid – usually between $300 and $750 – it has been (inch-per-square inch)
one of America’s best investments, with the value of some works being deemed “priceless.”
Stamps or Murals – with nothing in between.
Missouri 1939 post office mural " Products of Missouri" (detail) by
James McCreery. TE photo, April 2009|
|Books have been published
for postal murals in Arkansas, Indiana, Texas, Tennessee and other states. Over
the years, as towns have outgrown their postal facilities, murals have been removed
to new post offices or have been recognized for their historic value and now have
places of honor in county courthouses and regional museums. About 10% have been
destroyed, painted-over or lost since their creation.|
While each publication
on murals stops at the respective state lines, our coverage does not. Mural themes
were often regional and artist’s imaginations were not confined by lines on a
map. Nor is our coverage limited only to post office murals.
from Ville Platte, Louisiana's a hand-painted wall mural by Waven Boone. TE photo
without a geographical or historic draw for tourism, many towns have discovered
the (relatively) inexpensive idea of creating their own draw – through paint.
Those towns that have the wisdom to employ professional artists seem to fare much
better than those who abandon their walls to anyone with a brush. For the towns
that have the wisdom and far-sightedness to have themselves declared their state’s
“Mural Capital” – the results are even better.
is Texas’ Mural Capital through the work of a talented “itinerant muralist” named
Billy Ines who painted detailed historical murals based on actual photographs.
These murals provide a living bridge to Breckenridge’s
past – which heretofore was resigned to the town’s museum and archives. Visitors
were once limited to genealogists and scholars, but now, thanks to the Ines works,
any visitor passing through Breckenridge
can “connect” with the town – even if it’s a brief curiosity-piquing moment.|
Amphibians occupy a hand-painted mural in Rayne, Louisiana|
TE photo, April
| In Louisiana, the
mural capital is Rayne, a town that tapped into one particular aspect of
their commercial history (the exporting of frogs) and have blended the talents
of a professional muralist with local painters – keeping the whimsical theme lively
(while avoiding bruised feelings). |
from Oswego, Kansas' post office mural "Kansas Farm Life" by Robert E. Larter.
TE photo, April 2009|
is actually Inclusion |
Mural coverage in this series will include both
post office and “tourist murals” as well as the stories behind them (when available).
One of the
more useful aspects of an Internet presence on any subject is the magnetic factor.
New information becomes available frequently – and can be added almost immediately.
Anyone wishing to share stories of their murals can write to firstname.lastname@example.org
with MURAL in the subject line.
Copyright John Troesser
Office Murals | Texas Murals