The economic crisis of the 1930s focused the attention of Americans on the lives and struggles of ordinary folk. Not surprisingly, much New Deal art reflected this preoccupation with "the people." Visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and playwrights concentrated many of their creative efforts on the patterns of everyday life, especially the world of work. A recurring theme was the strength and dignity of common men and women, even as they faced difficult circumstances. Writers and folklorists used the new technique of oral history interviewing to write work histories that were integrated into broader state and local histories. Painters, printmakers, photographers, and sculptors looked to the streets to depict daily routines and to find models. Federal Theatre Project plays used music, dialect, and images from popular culture to enhance stories that centered on the lives of ordinary people.

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