Thursday, August 25, 2011

John Sharp and the CCC

John Sharp was the native Eldon artist who so fortunately gave Grant Wood a tour of the town during his visit in 1930. Without John Sharp giving Grant Wood that tour one day after lunch he may have never seen this small white frame house with the beautiful gothic window. As John Sharp served such a simple, but very integral role in Grant Wood painting American Gothic, I thought I would share some current research on John Sharp’s life and art.

I recently met Kathleen Duxbury, who is studying artists involved in the CCC. What is the CCC you might ask? The CCC stands for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program put forth by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his New Deal programs. The CCC was established to help create jobs that would put young men to work in conserving the United States’ natural resources. You can learn more about the CCC program by visiting Kathleen’s website at this link:

So how exactly does an artist fit into a group aimed at conservation? The government had created an art program called the Public Works of Art Program, which hired artists and sent some to depict life at CCC camps. John Sharp happened to be one of the artists hired to travel to CCC camps to draw and paint life in the camps. Several of his works now reside at the Eldon Carnegie Public Library, and two of his works are currently on display at the American Gothic House Center.

You can read more about John Sharp and his work in the CCC (as well as Kathleen’s account of her visit to Eldon!) on here blog at this link:

Holly Berg

American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!

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