Also joining in the ceremony was Aaron Rhodes, the son of Daniel Rhodes, the artist who painted the “Air Mail” mural inside the Piggott Post Office.
“My father’s artistic energies found expression in a variety of forms over the course of his career and his Works Progress Administration sponsored murals were his foundation,” said Aaron Rhodes. “His murals depict people like those he knew and identified with growing up in a small midwestern community and were a bridge to his future as a ceramic artist, teacher and author.”
Each of the pane’s 10 stamps features a detail of one of five unique murals:
“Kiowas Moving Camp” (1936)
One of the Kiowa Six, a group of 20th-century Native-American artists hailing from Oklahoma, Stephen Mopope (1899–1974) designed a multi-part mural depicting Plains Indian life. Mopope and Kiowa Six artists James Auchiah (1906–1974) and Spencer Asah (ca. 1906–1954) used tempera to paint 16 canvas panels, including “Kiowas Moving Camp.” They can be seen at the Anadarko Post Office in Oklahoma.
“Mountains and Yucca” (1937)
Deming, New Mexico
Painted in oil on canvas by Kenneth Miller Adams (1897–1966), “Mountains and Yucca” depicts Cookes Range, located in southwestern New Mexico just north of the Deming Post Office where the mural is displayed. This landscape is rendered in soft colors and features yucca shrubs and trees and other plant life.
The Section of Fine Arts commissioned artist Olive Rush (1873–1966) to create murals displayed at public buildings in Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico, where she lived. Painted with tempera, “Antelope” features a herd of pronghorn, which are sometimes referred to as American antelope. The mural hangs in the lobby of the Florence Post Office in Colorado.
“Sugarloaf Mountain” (1940)
The work of Judson Smith (1880–1962) appears in Post Office locations in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Painted in oil on canvas, “Sugarloaf Mountain” depicts the small peak located near Frederick, Maryland. The Post Office in Rockville, Maryland, where the mural was initially installed is now a police station.
“Air Mail” (1941)
Daniel Rhodes (1911–1989) created murals that adorn public buildings and Post Office walls in the Midwest. Painted in oil on canvas, “Air Mail” depicts a letter carrier helping pilots load bags of mail onto their plane. The mural, which hangs in the lobby of the Piggott Post Office in Arkansas, is an ode to postal workers’ commitment to serving communities across the United States and beyond.
The Postal Service has committed to the upkeep of these classic paintings and currently has a federal preservation officer and historian to 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, according to the news release.
Printed underneath each mural is the town or city and state in which the work of art is located. The words “Post Office Murals,” “Forever” and “USA” run along the bottom of the stamps. The stamp issuance includes two of each design. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps.