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CETA Arts Legacy Project

Because WPA was a centralized program, detailed records are available . . . But because CETA was decentralized no such records exist.
Thus, the quality and quantity of the accomplishments of the program could be lost.
— Congressman Jack Brooks (D-TX), Chair of Congressional Committee on Operations, November 15, 1983


The CETA Arts Legacy Project began as a small group of artists who had been part of the Cultural Council Foundation CETA Artists Project in NYC.
In retrospect, we recognized the importance of CETA as a model for government support of artist employment and for community service.
We also saw knowledge of the CETA Arts programs slipping from history.

From 2011 to 2019 we focused primarily on researching and gathering documentation for the CCF Project and getting word out to the public
through a website, scholarly presentations and articles. Through our research we gained a greater appreciation of the national scope of
CETA’s support of artist employment. By 2020, with the added impetus of the great damage done to the cultural economy by the
Coronavirus pandemic, we expanded our efforts to a national scope and have now assembled a broad coalition.

In 2017, CETA Arts legacy efforts gained a partner in NYC’s City Lore/Place Matters initiative, which has lent staff, space and other
resources in support of the project and has acted as a kind of institutional home. City Lore’s archivist, Molly Garfinkle,
has been its primary liaison to the legacy project.

List of Legacy Project Participants and Advisors

Recent Media Appearances

The Forgotten Federally Employed Artists - article: Hyperallergic (12/20)

Artists Look Back for a Path Forward - radio interview: Cityscape with George Bodarsky WFUV-FM (4/21)

CETA Saved Me - photographic feature: aCurator (4/21)

Artists say a forgotten Nixon-era jobs program could radically alter federal arts funding - article: Philadelphia Inquirer (4/21)

more

Academic Presentations

"The Forgotten Federal Artists: CETA and the CCF Artists Project"
Christy Rupp • Ademola Olegbefola • Judd Tully • Blaise Tobia (chair)
at the College Art Association conference in NYC

"Artists, Institutions and Public Funding for the Arts: the Legacy of CETA"
Tom Finkelpearl • Rochelle Slovin • Ted Berger • Steven C. Dubin • Howard Singerman (chair)
at Hunter College

more

Partners

City Lore/Place Matters is allied with the CETA Arts Legacy Project.
If you are on Facebook - see the NYC CETA Artists Project page.

They have organized meetings including a major reunion of CCF-CETA artists and administrators in 2018.
They have digitized and transcribed vintage oral histories and created additional ones.

They are planning a CETA Arts exhibition in the Fall of 2021 for two spaces on the Lower East Side
and are working with the Delaware Museum of Art projecting a series of exhibitions for 2026.

They have received support for their CETA Arts work from the Doris Duke Foundation,
the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation and the National Endowment for Humanities


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