Americana in Rome, NY


Mural at Rome, NY's City Hall

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art ()

Overview Listen

This mural was originally installed in the city's post office, a building that now houses Rome Historical Society and administrative offices for Fort Stanwix. It is now located in the lobby of City Hall. Its official address is 198 N. Washinton St. but it is more easily found as 123 W. Liberty St.

Photos

Photo This is a photo, courtesy of Rome Historical Society, of the mural in its City Hall surroundings circa the mid-1900s. The environs have changed over the years.

Backstory Listen

Wendell Jones painted the oil-on-canvas mural “Barn Raising” in 1942 for the Treasury Section of Fine Arts. Originally painted for the city’s then-new post office, the mural is currently viewable in the lobby of Rome’s City Hall.1 It is not a standard rectangle; instead it was created to adorn the space atop and around a doorway in a building.

According to WPA Art / Post Office Art In New York, "most of the Post Office works of art were funded through commissions under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later known as The Section of Fine Arts) and not the WPA."2

The artist's works were created for other post offices around the country, with the topic of the mural determined after conversation with local residents.  His conversations did not always result in beloved artwork.  In Illinois, for example, the resulting artwork was not hung because it reminded citizens of the ever present risk of flooding and has been lost.3


198 N. Washington St.
Rome, NY 13440

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Sources
1City Hall Mural Barn Raising. The Living New Deal. . Accessed June 21, 2018. https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/city-hall-mural-barn-raising-rome-ny/. This site is a collection of the works of the New Deal and where to find them today.

2New York New Deal Art. WPA Murals.com. . Accessed June 21, 2018. http://www.wpamurals.com/newyork.htm.

3Sandbagging the Bulkheads. Smithsonian American Art Museum. . Accessed June 21, 2018. https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/sandbagging-bulkheads-mural-study-cairo-illinois-post-office-12755. This provides the story of Wendell Jones' mural created in Cairo, Illinois, which was never hung and is now lost.


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