About Let's Get Lost

New Deal Murals of San Francisco explores the history and legacy of the city’s most fascinating murals from the Depression era.  These paintings were created by the federal government’s various relief programs, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), in the 1930s and 1940s. While mapping all of the New Deal murals that still exist in the city, the mobile app focuses on three sites in depth:  “Aspects of Life in California” at Coit Tower, “The History of California” at Rincon Center, and Diego Rivera’s “Pan-American Unity” at City College of San Francisco.  The mobile app provides historical perspective as well as little-known facts about the murals through rich media content, such as video, audio, images and text.  An educator guide and supplementary educational materials are provided at kqed.org.

As the nation faced an economic crisis, the New Deal mural art programs were intended not only to put artists to work but to create public art that would instill pride in American history and culture. While many aspects of the New Deal murals reflect this theme, San Francisco artists also used the paintings as social criticism, which, at a time when the country was questioning its proper course, brought into question basic notions of democracy, equality, and freedom of expression.

How these murals were created, who created them, what they expressed, how they were discussed, debated, and at times censored – these form the dramatic stories revealed through interviews, archival photographs, and film footage.  Through the lens of these works of art, we illuminate the historical and social impact of the New Deal mural art in San Francisco and reveal some of the impulses and contradictions of the times.  Produced by KQED in partnership with the California Historical Society and California’s Living New Deal Project.  Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the KQED Opportunity and Innovation Fund.

Let's Get Lost Credits

Funders

National Endowment for the Humanities

KQED Opportunity and Innovation Fund

 

Production Credits

Producers

Christine Murray

Joan Johnson Miller

Adrienne Calo

Senior Interactive Producer

Mark Taylor

 

Mobile Development and Design

Bayinteractive, Inc.

Project Manager: Kaisa Pyhälä

 

Associate Producer

Josh Cassidy

 

Design

Zaldy Serrano

 

Education Project Supervisor

Kristin Farr

 

Education Technologist

Matt Williams

 

Project Manager

Meghan Laslocky

 

Still Photographer

Brad Knipstein

 

Camera

Blake McHugh

Jerome Noonan

 

Sound

Marin Moran

John Osborne

Hugh Scott

 

Sound Designer

Peter Dunne

 

Editors

Gail Huddleston

Josh Rosen

 

Researcher

Katherine Kula

 

Narrators

Patricia Gregovich

Abie Hadjitarkhani

Charlie Varon

 

Project Scholars

Gray Brechin

Historical Geographer

University of California Berkeley

 

Robert Cherny

Professor of History

San Francisco State University

 

William Deverell

Director

Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

 

Anthony Lee

Associate Professor of Art History

Mount Holyoke College

 

Robert Leighninger

Faculty Associate, School of Social Work

Arizona State University

 

Jason Scott Smith

Assistant Professor of History

University of New Mexico

 

Project Partners

California Historical Society

Living New Deal Project

 

Special thanks to

City College of San Francisco

Rincon Center

San Francisco Arts Commission

San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department

 

Julia Bergman, Rivera Archives, City College of San Francisco

Donald Cairns

Ruth Gottstein

Adam Gottstein, Volcano Press

Catherine Powell, Labor Archives, San Francisco University

Brigit Refregier

Timothy Sutton

Masha Zackheim

 

Archival Materials

The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

 

Barbara Bernstein, New Deal Art Registry

 

FDR Library

 

Ivan C.F. Heisler Collection

 

Jan Chaffee

 

Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University

 

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection

 

Dorothea Lange, White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco, 1933.  Copyright the Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California, City of Oakland.  Gift of Paul S. Taylor.

 

Dorothea Lange, Man Beside a Wheelbarrow, 1934.  Copyright the Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California City of Oakland, Gift of Paul S. Taylor.

 

People’s World

 

Prelinger Archive Films/Getty Images

 

San Francisco Art Institute

 

San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

 

San Francisco State University / SF Bay Area TV Archive

 

San Francisco Zoo

 

Oral history interview with Anton Refregier, November 5, 1964, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Bernard Zackheim and Julia Rogers work on Coit Tower mural, 1934 / Peter Stackpole, photographer.  Photographs of artists working on Coit Tower mural/Peter Stackpole collection, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Anton Refregier, ca. 1945 / Adrian Siegel, photographer. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

A sketch for the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, ca. 1940 / Anton Refregier, artist. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

An illustrated note from J. E. Stanton to Anton Refregier regarding his depiction of padres from The Order of Saint Francis in the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, 1947 / J. E. Stanton, author. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Sketches for two scenes, the top one depicting slavery and the other depicting the Broderick-Terry Duel, for the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, ca. 1940 / Anton Refregier, artist. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Sketches for two scenes depicting the 1934 Maritime Union Strike for the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, ca. 1940 / Anton Refregier, artist. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

A sketch for the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, ca. 1940 / Anton Refregier, artist. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

A copy of a sketch outlining revisions to a panel for the Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco, ca. 1948. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Anton Refregier, ca. 1935 / unidentified photographer. Anton Refregier papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Series Concept

Mark Taylor & Craig Rosa

 

 

Executive Director, Communications

Scott Walton

 

Director, Television Production

Sandy Schonning

 

Executive Director, Interactive

Colleen Wilson

 

Project Director

Louise Lo