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New Deal Art in Kansas explored
Courtesy photo Pictured is the New Deal-era mural at the Hoisington Post Office.

HOISINGTON – Hoisington Public Library will host “A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State,” a presentation and discussion by Kara Heitz at 10 a.m. June 17 at Hoisington Public Library, 169 S. Walnut St. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program, which is made possible by Humanities Kansas. 

Refreshments will be served.

Between 1934 and 1943, the U.S. Treasury Department commissioned over 1,600 pieces of public art for newly constructed post office buildings across the United States. In the state of Kansas, 29 of these murals and other artworks were installed in 26 post offices, as a part of this New Deal arts program. For eight decades, thousands of Kansans have walked past these public works of art – sometimes in appreciation, sometimes with a nod of familiarity, sometimes without even registering their existence. This talk explores what these murals can tell about Kansas during the Great Depression era, and how do they continue to speak to Kansans today.

Kara Heitz is a historian and educator who engages in cultural history storytelling through documentaries, podcasts, and writing. She is a lecturer in the Liberal Arts department of the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) where she teaches courses on 20th century American history, film and history, and critical studies.

“A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Speakers Bureau, featuring humanities-based presentations designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

“The Hoisington Post Office has New Deal art,” said Karen La Pierre, director Hoisington Public Library. “Ms. Heitz will spend some time focusing on the art work at Hoisington.”

About Humanities Kansas

Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit leading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy. 

Since 1972, its pioneering programming, grants, and partnerships have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. Learn more online