CCC ART – Reima Victor Ratti – Artists of the Civilian Conservation Corps is now available at: B&N, Amazon and soon will be available at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
This is a story of a young, New Deal artist with a romantic name, Reima Ratti. Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1914, he was like so many young boys of his generation. Young men who came of age during the jobless years of the Great Depression. Ratti joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a regular enrollee to help himself and his family. As a trained, but untried artist, he brought along his sketchpad, pencils and brushes. What transpired, during his CCC artist days and beyond, would set him on a path to history.
“I have heard much about the CCC artists and the fine work they have done. I would very much like to be a CCC artist myself.” Reima Ratti 1936
Ratti depicted what he felt and saw…the rock-crushing labor that changed the course of the Milwaukee River, fire-fighting on Isle Royale and the sculpting of a figure, a CCC boy at the end of the work day. This statue became the model, six decades later for the CCC Worker monument. It has been reproduced on a grand scale, and is found in our state and national parks. A sculpture to remind us of the great the lasting good accomplished by the CCC during a period of great adversity.
During his short life Ratti’s artistic gifts lifted up those around him and quietly afforded him an opportunity to do great things for his country and the legacy of the CCC.
CCC ART – Reima Vistor Ratti is an inspiring, tragic, news-worthy, and deeply researched part of American New Deal art history.
A story which has remained unrecognized until now.