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Norwalk's Hidden Treasure

WPA Murals reflect community's history

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Norwalk, CT | Added on March 11, 2014 At 01:33 PM

A new mission with some old pieces of art:  the Norwalk Arts Commission hopes to inspire appreciation of Norwalk's history and the arts through WPA Murals.

Susan Wallerstein, a member of the Norwalk Arts Commission said, "WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, almost like the stimulus plan that we had not that many years ago.

With 46 pieces throughout the City in seven locations, the murals make up one of the largest collections of restored Depression-era art.

Wallerstein said, "We also were the home, in Silvermine in particular, of many well know commercial artist of the time. A few who were from Norwalk, a few who had come to the Arts Students League in New York City from the Midwest, so we had not only the need and the money from the federal government but we also had a pool of artist who needed to get back to work."

It's fairly easy to walk right by one of the 31 murals in Norwalk City Hall. But the Norwalk Arts Commission hopes their docent program will encourage visitors to stop and take a closer look.

"They come to get their beach passes or pay their parking tickets or pay their taxes and they come into City Hall and they don't realized there are 31 murals here. We want to train a group of docents to be able to give guided tours of the 31 murals at City Hall and eventually the additional 10-15 that are located at other places throughout the City," said Wallerstein.

The murals have been in Norwalk for decades and Wallerstein says it's important to learn about what they represent.

"For young people or for people who have lived here a long time, to see how both things have changed in Norwalk in the past 50-60 years, but also how many things have remained the same. For example, most of the murals on the third floor of City Hall relate to oystering and aqua culture is still a really important feature of Norwalk's economy," said Wallerstein.

Wallerstein added, "I think it's a sense of legacy and continuity and pride in our community."

The Norwalk Arts Commission will hold an information session about the docent program on Wednesday, March 26th at Norwalk City Hall. 

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