First American Artists’ Congress (14–16 February 1936) By Marie, Annika
The First American Artists’ Congress convened over three days in New York City, and marked the formal establishment of the American Artists’ Congress (1936–1942). The members of the organization were brought together to act on behalf of artists, art, and artistic freedom. The Congress met its broad mandate by organizing exhibitions, hosting symposia, publishing, fund-raising, protesting censorship and lobbying for artists’ rights. Although not overtly aligned with a political party, the Congress’s politics were in keeping with the Popular Front (1935–1939), the Communist Party’s strategy to forge connections with the non-revolutionary intelligentsia and liberal middle class by emphasizing their shared cultural values and stressing the necessity of a mutual alliance against fascism.