1935 the W.P.A., Works Progress Administration, was established to provide jobs
to millions of unemployed Americans during the Great Depression. Most people are familiar with the many public
works construction projects undertaken from building roads and bridges to the construction of public buildings such as post offices, schools and libraries.
lesser known aspect of the W.P.A. is Federal Project Number One which offered
work to thousands of artists, musicians, actors and writers through the Federal
Art Project, Federal Music Project, Federal Theatre Project, Federal Writers’
Project and the Historical Records Survey.
Federal Art Project established community art centers, created the Index of
American Design documenting historically and culturally significant material,
and commissioned over 200,000 pieces of art in the form of murals, posters,
photography, sculpture and other formats.
of the commissioned artwork was created within municipal
buildings and public spaces. One example
was Pietro Lazzari’s “Good News” mural commissioned for the newly opened
Brevard Post Office, a Public Works Administration project, in 1941. He was paid $750 for the work.
Lazzari was an
Italian born and trained artist who immigrated to the United States in 1926 and
became a citizen three years later. Over
a long career he became well-known for a variety of paint media, as well as for
sculptures. His best known works are
bronze busts of Pope Paul VI, Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson.
|Elizabeth Kapp Tyson, library director from 1944 until 1983, helped ensure
that Brevard’s “Good News” would be preserved for future generations.
“Good News” is a
glazed tempera paint mural, reminiscent of a fresco and depicts rural mail
delivery. The scene shows
three farmers discussing the sale of a calf, a postman distributing letters and
a disinterested child chasing a duck.
the Brevard Post Office moved to its current location in 1972 the Broad Street
building was renovated for the Transylvania County Library. When the ceiling was lower the mural had to
be moved from its original place above the post master’s office door, just
inside the front entrance. For many
years it was located in the reference area where it would not be exposed to
|“Good News” hung in the reference area of the library to prevent exposure to direct sunlight.|
the library relocated to 212 S. Gaston St. in 2006 a frame matching the
building’s woodwork was added to the painting.
It hangs in the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room on the second floor
where conditions help preserve it.
a period of nearly 80 years much of the Federal Art Project work has been lost.
In recent years there has been a renewed
interested in these works and their history.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at