Seaweed Portraits of the 1930s

Politicians and news outlets have started using the term "WPA" again — have you noticed? The Works Progress Administration, of course, put people to work during and after the Great Depression. Even artists were paid to work; the WPA encompassed projects that employed actors, painters, and writers. We are totally not making this up! One of California's largest architectural projects resulted in Aquatic Park: the pier, the beach structures, the bleachers, and the white, boatlike Streamline Moderne building you've no doubt admired from the outside. But take the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building Tour, and find out the truth: It's actually a national treasure. The interior hides world-class art, including soaring, semi-abstract sea-themed murals by Hilaire Hiler, and the exterior holds gorgeous carved slate panels by Sargent Johnson, one of only two African-American artists to work for the WPA.
Starts: Dec. 10. Daily, 3 p.m., 2009

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