The New American Travel Poster

montezuma-castle-604(Montezuma Castle National Monument by Jon Cain, $25 from See America)

I have always loved the New Deal-era travel posters of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). When President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the WPA in 1935, he aimed to create jobs for out-of-work Americans during the Great Depression, especially artists. The WPA helped designers produce 35,000 posters publicizing art, education, health, safety, theater and travel. Sadly, only 2,000 of the posters remain today, but the Library of Congress has collected 900 of them. These colorful, detailed illustrations of America’s unique treasures have always captivated me, so when Jennifer and I found each other’s blogs last week, I was delighted to see she wrote about a revival of these posters, and I just have to share it with you.

great-smoky-mountains-604(Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Jon Cain, $25 from See America)

The Creative Action Network (CAN) and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) teamed up to create See America, a revival of the WPA posters in celebration of the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary in 2016. CAN and NPCA put out an open call to designers and artists asking them to submit their own modern-day versions of the posters that highlight America’s natural, cultural and historic landmarks — a way to encourage individuals to reconnect with America.

Designers can submit their own work to the project, which will be displayed and made available online for purchase as prints, mugs and tote bags. Better yet, the designers receive 40 percent of all revenue after costs. Some of the posters are already on display at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y. through June 30. Other exhibitions of the posters are in the works for later this year, and the open call for submissions is still open. Check out the full gallery here. Thanks again for the tip, Jennifer! // susannah

hawaii-volcanoes-poster-604(Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by Alyssa Winans, $25 from See America)

(All images from the See America website.)

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