The Works Projects Administration (WPA) was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of the New Deal attempt to combat the Depression. This included the Federal Art Project (FAP) that provided finance for the employment of artists. Headed by Holger Cahill, it employed artists on relief while maintaining a small number of non-relief artists for supervisory positions. Artists received $23.50 per week and were expected to produce one major piece within a specified number of weeks or to work a certain number of days on a mural or architectural sculpture project.
In 1936 the Federal Art Project was employing more than 5,000 artists. In eight years (1935-43) the FAP produced 2,566 murals, more than 100,000 easel paintings, 17,700 sculptures and 350,000 fine prints. The cost of the FAP was over $35,000,000.