May 17, 2019
Sugarloaf Mountain stamp has connection to Rockville, MD
ROCKVILLE, MD — A dedication ceremony for the USPS Post Office Murals Forever stamps will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the Rockville, MD, City Police Station, 2 W Montgomery Ave., Rockville, MD, 20850 at 11 a.m.
Speakers will include representatives from the City of Rockville and the United States Postal Service.
One of the five stamps featured in the collection features the Post Office mural “Sugarloaf Mountain” by Judson Smith. The Rockville City Police Station is the current location of the mural.
Following the dedication, attendees are invited to a reception at Peerless Rockville, 29 Courthouse Square, Room 110, Rockville, MD 20850. Peerless Rockville is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to preserving buildings, objects, and information important to Rockville’s heritage.
Following the reception, Jennifer Fusselle, Regional Fine Arts Officer for the U.S. General Services Administration’s National Capital Region, will give a presentation on New Deal Art and the Sugar Loaf Mountain Mural.
The origin of Post Office murals can be traced back to 1933. That year, in a letter to longtime acquaintance President Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist George Biddle suggested that the U.S. government should commission artists in need of work to enliven the walls of public buildings. Later that year, perhaps spurred by Biddle’s plea, the Roosevelt administration established the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP). Funded by the Civil Works Administration and overseen by the Department of the Treasury, the New Deal program led to the hiring of more than 3,700 artists.
Under PWAP leader Edward Bruce, the artists were encouraged to depict an American scene, a style of painting that eschewed modern trends and focused on the idealized portrayal of daily life in America. In less than a year, the artists created thousands of murals, stand-alone paintings, and sculptures.
Following the expiration of the PWAP in 1934, the U.S. Treasury formed the Section of Painting and Sculpture. Eventually renamed the Section of Fine Arts, the Bruce-helmed initiative sought to brighten newly built Post Office locations and federal buildings. From 1934 through 1943, the Section commissioned more than 1,000 murals. From 1935 through 1939, the Treasury Relief Art Project also funded a small number of murals at existing Post Offices. The buildings were some of the country’s most widely trafficked public spaces, which meant many people could enjoy the murals.
The Section of Fine Arts folded during World War II, but not before commissioning murals for Post Office locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This pane of 10 stamps features five different murals. On the stamp art, the town or city and state in which the work of art is located is printed underneath each mural. The murals included are: "Kiowas Moving Camp" (1936), Anadarko, OK; "Mountains and Yucca" (1937), Deming, NM; "Antelope" (1939), Florence, CO; "Sugarloaf Mountain" (1940), Rockville, MD; and "Air Mail" (1941), Piggott, AR.
The Postal Service is committed to the upkeep of these classic paintings and has a federal preservation officer and historian to both help maintain the beauty of the murals and also educate the public about their place in postal lore. Today, many of these works have been restored and remain on display for the public to enjoy.
Art Director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products at the reception, through the Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide.
The Post Office Murals stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.