In 1935, the Federal Art Project was established. It was part of President Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration, and employed thousands of artists over the next decade to create art for public spaces in federal buildings. Four murals – by Ilya Bolotowsky, Albert Swinden, Joseph Rugolo, and Dane Chanase – were commissioned for the Hospital of Chronic Diseases on Welfare Island (later named Goldwater Memorial Hospital, Roosevelt Island).
Goldwater Hospital was set to be demolished, to make way for a new building. But first, three of the murals were removed. After more than 18 months of restoration, the Bolotowsky, Swinden, and Rugolo murals will be on display to the public before before being installed in the newly built Cornell Tech building on Roosevelt Island. (The Chanase mural was never located.)
Revealed: WPA Murals from Roosevelt Island is on display January 30 – May 29th at the Herbert F. Johnson Musuem of Art at Cornell University.