Peters' WPA Murals Today

Carl W. Peters once said "If they're good murals done by good men, they'll stay on the wall."[58] Regarding his own murals, this quote has held true. Out of the original fourteen murals that Carl Peters painted under the Federal Arts Project, thirteen of these still remain. The mural that is now considered lost is the 1941 mural "Science and Humanity," which originally adorned the walls of the Rochester Academy of Medicine. His only mural done outside of the WPA, the 1930 mural for the Genesee Valley Trust Company, is also lost: it is believed to be buried under drywall in the original building. As for the rest of Carl Peters' WPA murals, they have faired much better than the aforementioned two murals. In fact, these murals have been so important to their communities that in several cases, they have been moved and funds have been raised to preserve them just to ensure that they wouldn't be destroyed. 

ND 237 P384 A4 2015-006 pg53-1.jpg
Contemplative Life
ND 237 P384 A4 2015-007 pg53-2.jpg
Active Life

Active Life and Contemplative Life in Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy


Carl Peters' first two murals, Active Life and Contemplative Life, were originally located in Madison High School. However, the school was destroyed in the 1980s, threatening the murals that hung in the school auditorium. However, Peters' murals were very important to the school community, so they were taken down and stored with the idea that they would be put up in a new school when the opportunity presented itself. Before the murals were put up in their new home at Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy, they underwent thorough conservation and restoration due to money raised through a foundation in memory of Thomas H. Miller, who had been a pupil and friend of Carl Peters. This helped ensure that the murals would be in good enough condition to last another century on the walls of the new school.[59]

ND 237 P384 A4 2015-009 pg60-2.jpg
Indian Allen and White Woman of the Genesee

Indian Allen and White Woman of the Genesee at Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School 


The murals of West High School, much like those in Madison, also moved after West High School was torn down. Today, the murals Indian Allen and White Woman of the Genesee are in Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, right down the street from the Madison High murals in Wilson Foundation.[61] Not as much has been recorded about the transfer of these murals, but much like Active Life and Contemplative Life, we can conclude that these murals must have been important to the original school in order for them to be preserved after the demolition of West High School. 

Box1-FolderX-008.jpg Box1-FolderX-007.jpg
The Charlotte High School auditorium with the eight murals for The History of the Lake Ontario Region

The History of the Lake Ontario Region at Northeast College Preparatory High School


Finally, Peters's mammoth set of eight murals for Charlotte High School also remain on their original walls. Though Charlotte High closed in 2016, the building still stands and now houses a preparatory school. Though these murals still stand tall, a story published in the Democrat & Chronicle in 2014 describes a story of how the murals were almost lost in the 1990s. According to an English teacher from Charlotte High, he noticed some commotion in the auditorium one morning, and when he went to check it out, he saw that workers were preparing to spray paint the recently scraped and patched walls. Fearing that the murals were also about to be repainted, he asked if there was a plan to save the murals during the painting of the auditorium. The workers, though they had not received any instructions to save the murals, were directed by a supervisor to check out the situation, and this is likely what saved Carl Peters' 1942 murals from destruction.[62]