The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was a program to employ artists as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression.

The purpose of the PWAP was to employ skilled artists to adorn public buildings.

Artists were told the subject matter had to be related to the American experience.

Artwork from the project were shown or incorporated into a variety of locations, including the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Post office murals were created by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts. It was established in 1934 and administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department. The Section’s main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By providing decoration in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.

The “Loggers” mural, measuring 12 feet wide and 5 feet tall and painted by William F. Kaeser, is located on the west wall of the U.S. Post Office on State Street in Pendleton.

Kaeser, after graduating from Herron Art School in 1932, was unable to find employment.

He submitted paintings to Indiana University in hopes of becoming an art teacher.

Still unable to find a job, he entered regional competition, qualified and was asked to submit sketches for a Pendleton mural.

He submitted four sketches to Washington, three of which were approved, with them favoring “Loggers.”

Logging was an important industry in the history of Indiana.

Kaeser submitted the sketches to the postmaster. In 1938, an agreement was reached, and Kaeser was contracted to create and install the mural in the Pendleton post office.

It is an oil on canvas and was completed in 1941.

The Alexandria post office has the only other Section mural located in Madison County.

It is titled “The Sledding Party” by Roland Schweinsburg.

Take time to visit these treasures of the past.

Noel is president of the Pendleton Historical Museum.

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