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Hugo Gellert's Seward Park Murals
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Photographs courtesy of Judy Kahn, unless otherwise noted.

There is a struggle currently underway to save the Hugo Gellert murals at the Seward Park Housing complex, in the Lower East Side, New York City. The four panels of the Hugo Gellert murals, which depict Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Albert Einstein, were commissioned in 1959 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, when the Seward Park Housing Complex was originally constructed by the ILGWU as moderately-priced union housing.

As a part of that struggle, various individuals and organizations have joined together to present a symposium on The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert, to be held at Tamiment Library, NYU, on May 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. For more information on the symposium, visit the Symposium Page.

Like many public works of art, the Gellert murals are not being destroyed through any hostility towards their political content but rather from a lack of connection with their history and a failure to appreciate their artistic worth. Let the Coop Board and Coop members know that they have a piece of history and a work of art on their walls, that people treasure this artist and his work, that it is important to us and may, upon reflection, be important to them—the residents of Seward Park—as well.

Write to the Board of Directors, Seward Park Housing Corp, voicing your support for the preservation of these murals. Please c.c. or email a copy of your letter to Project Director, so we may petition other organizations to join in this effort. Those addresses are:

Board of Directors
Seward Park Housing Corp.
465 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002

Project Director
Teachers College/Columbia University
525 W. 120th St. Box 144
New York, NY 10027
FAX (212) 854-7820

Lesson Plan     Hugo Gellert     Letters of Support     The Murals