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Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA - — Paul Wei­de­man

An auc­tion of shov­els on Fri­day, June 5 — sym­bols of the New Deal work pro­grams of the Great De­pres­sion — benefits New Deal preser­va­tion projects in New Mex­ico. In the auc­tion trove are shovel blades adorned with ren­der­ings by artists in­clud­ing Paul White, D.Y. Be­gay, Mon­ica Hal­ford, and Robb Rael, as well as signed shov­els by Arlo Guthrie and Al Franken.

Paint Your Shovel is pre­sented by the New Mex­ico Chap­ter of Na­tional New Deal Preser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (NNDPA). The Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps (CCC), one of the best-known of Pres­i­dent Franklin De­lano Roo­sevelt’s New Deal pro­grams, was de­signed to put un­em­ployed young men to work on projects of ben­e­fit to the public. Mem­bers of the CCC built the Na­tional Park Ser­vice build­ing on Old Santa Fe Trail and about 30 build­ings, as well as fur­ni­ture and roads, at Ban­de­lier Na­tional Mon­u­ment. An­other New Deal ini­tia­tive, the Public Works Ad­min­is­tra­tion, was re­spon­si­ble for the New Mex­ico Supreme Court Build­ing and six struc­tures for the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf. The Works Progress Ad­min­is­tra­tion built scores of lo­cal roads, sew­ers, parks, schools, and bridges.

Among the other New Deal pro­grams — most of which con­tinue to this day — were So­cial Se­cu­rity, the Fed­eral De­posit In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion, the His­toric Amer­i­can Build­ings Sur­vey, and the Fed­eral Art Project, which funded the mu­rals by Wil­liam Pen­hal­low Hen­der­son in the fed­eral court­house and by Olive Rush in the Fray Angélico Chávez His­tory Li­brary.

Shov­els were crit­i­cal in build­ing roads, wa­ter and sewer sys­tems, and public build­ings, in ad­di­tion to plant­ing bil­lions of trees, said Kathryn Flynn, who was in­stru­men­tal in found­ing the Na­tional New Deal Preser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion in the late 1990s. “We’re cel­e­brat­ing the hard work of those folks who built the in­fra­struc­ture we con­tinue to use and take for granted some 80 years later.”

Flynn is the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the NNDPA, head­quar­tered in Santa Fe. It is the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s most ac­tive chap­ter, hav­ing re­stored seven Brooks Wil­lis mu­rals from be­neath six coats of paint at New Mex­ico High­lands Uni­ver­sity; Olive Rush fres­coes in the bi­ol­ogy build­ing of New Mex­ico State Uni­ver­sity, also hid­den by paint; and a Randall Davey trip­tych of polo ponies, which was un­earthed in a cav­alry unit in Al­bu­querque and now hangs at the State Capitol.

Nancy Meem Wirth, hon­orary chair­woman of the Paint Your Shovel auc­tion and daugh­ter of New Deal-era ar­chi­tect John Gaw Meem, gives open­ing re­marks at the auc­tion set for 5 p.m. at the Scot­tish Rite Cen­ter (463 Paseo de Per­alta). There will be ap­pe­tiz­ers and live mu­sic from David Gilliland and his band Reck­less Aban­don. Call 505-473-3985 to re­serve tick­ets ($10 each) or go to www.newdeal­le­gacy.org.

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