Sunday, March 1, 2015
Sheboygan's Post Office Mural
I'll take a short break from posting the Ashland murals since I'm hitting the road and driving two hours north to stay in a rental in Sheboygan with my mother for the rest of the week. I'm bringing lots of books and even my sewing machine because there's a chance we'll be snowed in on Tuesday, but at least we'll have a great view of Lake Michigan, right?
And speaking of Sheboygan, I can't believe I never posted the post office mural from Sheboygan! I was going through my photo files deleting stuff and a quick check verified that somehow this one never made it on to the blog.
Schomer Lichtner was commissioned in 1935 to paint the murals by the Treasury Art Relief Project. They were gorgeous when my friend Jeanna and I saw them, the murals were restored in 1986.
Jeanna was impressed when we walked inside and found the series on display. Nothing like some marble to frame your art, right?
Also on display was the artist's drawings and the telegram telling him he was awarded the project. These murals were painted during the Depression and meant work for artists who otherwise might not be getting paid.
Speaking of getting paid, I just finished reading "Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. In the late 1990's with some 12 million women being pushed into the labor market by welfare reform, she decided to go undercover and find out just how they were going to survive on the wages of the unskilled--at $6 to $7 an hour, only half of what was considered a living wage. She looked for a job and a place to live, worked that job, and tried to make ends meet as frugally as possible but quickly found that of course it was impossible to live on minimum wage. She lived in Florida and Minnesota, worked as a housekeeper, a waitress and for Walmart. There were a few things she was doing like eating take-out often (because she didn't have a fridge) that I thought someone truly struggling wouldn't do, but the major insight in her book was how difficult the housing market was and how even working two jobs and seven days a week she still couldn't make ends meet. And of course the results highlight why many women stay with men they shouldn't because financially they have little other options. Overall an interesting read, flaws in her experimental approach aside.
Taking part in Monday Mural, wish me luck in Sheboygan with all the snow!