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08 // 18 // 2024

Distinguished Lecture: The Barefoot Mailman and Florida’s Post Office Murals

Starts August 18, 2024 @ 1:30pm , Ends August 18, 2024 @ 2:30pm

Post office murals are visible and enduring symbols of New Deal ideology that provide lasting evidence of governmental art patronage during the Great Depression. Not just for picking up mail or sending packages, during the 1930s post offices offered a place to meet neighbors and catch up on news. In Florida, 16 new post offices were built between 1937 and 1943, and each was decorated with murals or relief sculptures paid for by the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. This presentation discusses the West Palm Beach post office’s exciting mural series featuring Florida’s “Barefoot Mail Carrier,” its subject, and how it fits into the Great Depression’s larger mural project.

Dr. Keri Watson is an associate professor of art history at the University of Central Florida and co-executive editor for Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. She is the author of This is America: Re-Viewing the Art of the United States (2023) and editor of the Routledge Companion to Art and Disability (2022).

This Florida Talks program was sponsored in part by Florida Humanities with funds from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the aforementioned entities.

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