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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Thu., Feb. 23, 2012

From our archives, 75 years ago

One immensely popular Depression-era public works project in Spokane did not involve shovels or saws.

It involved trumpets, guitars and costumes.

It was the Works Progress Administration’s School of the Arts, in the Hutton Building. After only one week of operation, more than 1,500 people had signed up to take free classes at the school. Demand was so high the school had to shut down registration temporarily.

The idea was to provide work for unemployed artists, writers and musicians as teachers. The school offered classes in all kinds of artistic endeavors.

“Classes in radio and stage dramatics, musical theory and arranging, interior decoration and costume designing were signed up to class limits Monday,” said the newspaper. 

Classes in piano and tap-dancing had recently been added. The school was asking for loans of guitars, trumpets and saxophones for students to use.

A year later, in 1938, the WPA would launch the visual art-oriented Spokane Art Center, which would eventually have 27,000 dues-paying members.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1870: Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

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