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Francis Robert White

Francis Robert “Bob” White was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa. In 1937 he succeeded Grant Wood as director of all WPA federal art projects in the state of Iowa. While holding that position, White also became the director of the Sioux City Art Center two months after it opened in February 1938.

While Grant Wood portrayed rural Iowa in a beautiful and whimsical way, White wanted to portray the struggles of blue collar workers in town. His paintings in the permanent collection are vivid examples of the manner in which White thought that Regionalism could be most effective. Rather than painting lighthearted images of rural life, White wanted to use his paintings to demonstrate the ongoing need for support for the working class.