A block-print wall hanging from the Milwaukee Handicraft Project
Milwaukee Handicraft Project
The Milwaukee Handicraft Project (MHP) began in 1935 when Harriet Clinton, head of the Women's Division of Wisconsin's WPA, saw a need to put female head-of-householders to work. Clinton hired art professor Elsa Ulbricht to lead the project which put women to work producing functional decorative arts for institutions like the Milwaukee Public Schools. The MHP was particularly unique for its willingness to hire African Americans--something most WPA projects would not--and the offices were soon swarmed with eager workers. Although some tensions surfaced between white and black workers, the overall project proved successful. This block-print wall hanging is an example of the attractive and useful work created by MHP workers.