The next museum exhibition, The Knowing Hands That Carve This Stone: The New Deal Art of Lenore Thomas Straus, is scheduled to open in Greenbelt in early 2015. Thomas Straus was a young woman only in her twenties when she carved several landmark works throughout downtown Greenbelt, Maryland for the Resettlement Administration in the late 1930s. These sculptures include the seminal pieces “Mother and Child” (c.1939), which is the centerpiece of Greenbelt’s historic Roosevelt Center, a series of bas reliefs (c.1936-1937) depicting the Preamble to the United States Constitution, which were carved in place on the front of the Greenbelt Community Center (formerly Center School), and the Woman sculpture, also in front of the Community Center. In addition to these works, Straus carved large scale animals for the playground of Langston Terrace, a New Deal-era apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
A large portion of Thomas Straus’ work was completed at her studio in Accokeek, Maryland where she and her husband, Robert Straus, lived for several decades and where they became friends with Alice and Henry Ferguson. “Although Thomas Straus was an accomplished artist,” says Megan Searing Young, Director of the Greenbelt Museum and curator of the upcoming exhibition, “she has not yet been studied extensively. This exhibition and its accompanying programming will identify and promote her work, provide new insights into her life and connections with both Greenbelt and Accokeek, and offer an opportunity for those interested in local history, WPA and New Deal art, and women artists to learn more about her and the New Deal era in which she thrived.” If you have knowledge of Thomas Straus and/or of her work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.