Talking Walls of Gloucester

photo of Charles Allan Winter's "City Council in Session''
Charles Allan Winter's "City Council in Session'' c. David, Cogger, Boston Globe


May 22, 2014, 7:00 PM


Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Ave, Gloucester, MA, 01930

Did you know that our region offers some of the finest Works Project Administration (WPA) and other New Deal era program murals? Or that Gloucester City Hall has the best collection of WPA murals in Massachusetts?

Join Essex Heritage and the Gloucester Committee for the Arts for a rare, behind-the-scenes guided tour of Gloucester City Hall’s renowned and extensive WPA wall murals commissioned in the 1930's. Space is limited in order to provide a unique, intimate experience with these recently restored artistic and cultural gems with Gloucester artist and lecturer Susan Erony-- who has been overseeing the murals’ documentation.

Don’t miss your chance to get up close and personal with some of our nation’s most evocative works of art!  All funds from ticket purchases directly support Essex Heritage’s mission to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area. 

Reservations required.

Essex Heritage Members $15; Non-Members $20. Become a member!

  • Purchase tickets online.
  • To pay by check: Please make checks payable to: Essex Heritage. Checks can be mailed to: Essex Heritage, 221 Essex Street, Suite 41 Salem, MA 01970.

Questions? Call Essex Heritage at 978-740-0444.

About Gloucester City Hall's WPA Murals

Gloucester City Hall has, according to the Mass Cultural Council, the best collection of Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) murals in Massachusetts… During the Great Depression of the 1930s, federal money was spent for everything from the creation of guidebooks and public murals to dredging and wall construction. Gloucester had its share of New Deal era projects, such as painting the murals in City Hall. Frederick Mulhaupt painted two murals – which are mounted as a diptych – titled Landing of the Dorchester Colonists 1623 and De Champlain Surveys “Le Beauport”, both painted in 1936.  They are both on the first (main) floor. Also in 1936, Oscar Anderson painted the ship and small boat mural in the Mayor’s secretary office, and Charles Allan Winter painted The Founding of Gloucester in the second floor auditorium.

In 1939, Charles Allan Winter painted three more WPA murals in the main lobby: City Council in Session fills the space above the collector’s windows (approximately 7 feet high by 11 feet wide). City Government covers the opposite wall. Tucked in and around the arch-topped lunettes, the two-part mural, Civic Virtues, spreads across the two other opposing walls. This series by Winter focuses on government themes as befitting their location, and the test of time. They offer special glimpses of our community in the 1930s as they include many portraits from life, great detail, artistry and ideas. Note the boys (youth) in the “planning” section of Civic Virtues clasping pieces from a model of the Gloucester High School.

Today, the City continues to invest in their community's arts and culture, and many of Gloucester's murals recently have been cleaned and restored. Learn more: visit the Gloucester Committee for the Arts (CFTA) website.