McCracken, William

McCracken, William Weir Miskimmon (1906-1962)

William McCracken was born April 4, 1906 in Belfast, Ireland. Before working for the WPA Federal Arts Project, he painted for the Public Works of Art Project. He was a graduate from the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1931. He was an instructor at the Famous Artists School for nine years. In the book, In Pursuit of Paradise: History of the Town of Stratford, Connecticut, author Lewis G. Knapp wrote: “The community center worked hard during the depression years, teaching sewing, canning, and home budgeting to housewives….Bill McCracken’s art courses led to exhibits by emerging artists, among them Steven Dohanos, Norman Rockwell, and Kerr Erby….” He was also an art instructor with the Fairfield and Bridgeport adult education programs of the the public school system and was staff artist with the General Electric Company during World War II.  He also taught art at Sterling Community House in Stratford and was chairman of its Art Committee.

He began his work for the WPA on December 5, 1935. He completed eight murals and one easel painting that were allocated to the Bridgeport Normal School, the Council Room of Stratford Town Hall, the Children’s Room of the Bridgeport Public Library, Pleasure Beach Park, and the Newfield Branch of the Bridgeport Library. McCracken died April 1, 1962 at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut at the age of 55.

Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; WPA Allotment Card. Additional information and corrections were provided by William McCracken’s family.

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from William McCracken:

Bridgeport Centennial: oil on canvas
Landing of the Founders: oil on canvas
Children’s Books: aka Mother Goose Armchair Adventures: oil on canvas
Eight Decorations for Shooting Gallery: oil on wallboard
Decoration for Children’s Playground: oil on wood
Three Marine Panels Music Shell: oil on wallboard
Skiers: oil
Gutenberg: oil on canvas
Ivanhoe: oil on canvas
McCracken, William