WPA 2.0, A Brand New Deal was an overarching theme for a multi-arts and humanities series that explores the Great Depression of 1929, the role of the “cultural worker,” and the current economic crisis. The instigation utilizes film, music, lectures, visual arts exhibitions, and other cultural productions to emphasize and engage the theme through a variety of weekly events. To date, portoluz has developed over eighty distinct events under this WPA series banner. Notable partners include: Kartemquin Films, The University of Chicago, The Illinois Labor History Society, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University.
A sample illustration of the range of featured events include: the Chicago debut (at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival) of Don Byron’s New Gospel Project; a lecture on the Chicago WPA murals by noted art conservator, Heather Becker; appearances by noted scholars: Dean Baker and Van Jones; and This Land is Our Land – a centennial concert tribute to Woody Guthrie. The majority of the WPA 2.0, A Brand New Deal events were presented at no cost to the public.