Federal Music Project (FMP)

Aug 20, 2010

dictionary-150What is the Federal Music Project?

The Federal Music Project (FMP) was a federally funded arts initiative committed to the employment of displaced musicians and composers. It was an aspect of the Works Progress Administration of the New Deal and was established in July of 1935 by FDR.

What's the significance?

The FMP employed musicians who had been hit particularly hard by the Great Depression. The program created new orchestras, musicianship courses, and encouraged a revival of traditional music and folk songs. Low cost or free concerts for children and adults provided venues for arts exposure. Retrained musicians could now not only support themselves but increase the supply of talented Americans.

Who's talking about it?

Barbara L. Fredrickson, a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, argues in favor of a revived WPA and federal arts initiative. Its revival would offer work to thousands of displaced musicians, rather than a stimulus bill that, in her estimation, will go toward more "trinkets and tchotchkes...made in China and paid for with money borrowed from China." Similarly, Bob Gill, Media Manager at St. Charles Community College in Missouri, believes that a resurrected arts initiative might be the appropriate remedy for the economy. Lynn Parramore acknowledges the inspiration difficult times can be for the growth of arts. Perhaps, she argues, a renewed Federal Music Project could discover and nurture the next great style of music, as it did with blues and rock'n'roll.

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