Video of Ennis Carter: Artist and WPA Archivist

I just love it when an artist stumbles upon a historical subject and adopts it as his or her own passion. One great example, who will be the subject of a future post, is the Brooklyn artist Duke Riley, who takes homespun historical re-enactment to unprecedented, and sometimes illegal, levels of authenticity.

My friend the artist Ennis Carter also does this, in a more measured and congenial way. A graphic designer and community organizer, Ennis is the founder of Social Impact Studios in Philadelphia. An unapologetic creator of “propaganda,” she cites as her formative influences both the bauhaus movement and the government brochures she saw all over the U.S. Army bases as the child of an Army officer.

It might seem like an unlikely combination of influences, but the link between the two is arguably the posters of the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA’s) Poster Division during the New Deal. Ennis was so taken by the posters that she founded the online archive “Posters for the People” and authored a book about them, “Posters For the People: Art of the WPA.”

I talked with her earlier this summer while a traveling exhibit about the posters was in Rahway, New Jersey. Brooklyn’s Greg Reitman edited this video for me.

Artists For the People from Charles Bowe on Vimeo.

The exhibit has since moved back to Philadelphia. Philly people, you have till August 30th to check it out at the Healthcare Workers Union, District 1199C, 100 S. Broad Street, 10th Floor.


  1. Jack King says:

    What a great video! My e-mail address is Let me hear from you.

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