Architecture roots this government agency in place and time, from post offices built by the Works Progress Administration to frontier schoolhouses repurposed for mail collection to bunker-style government strongholds on Tribal lands. The necessity of a community post office (for communication and for commerce) often demands improvisational architecture in developing rural towns, wherein the post office reflects the vernacular language of the built environment it is situated in. In other cases, the post office is deliberately placed or rehabilitated by the government and therefore reflects the institutional trends of the time, such as the complex place-based murals commissioned for each post office built the 1930s as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.
This ever-growing archive is a slow drive across America, a patient research project, and a love letter to the USPS.
Mary Welcome is a citizen artist with an emphasis on cultural empowerment in rural and under-recognized communities. Her work is conversational and research-based, in response to the social, built, and natural environments we situate ourselves within.
Star Route 1, Last Chance Press, M12 Studio, 2017
“God Bless the USPS” Site Magazine: Vernaculars, 2017
“Post Offices: Look at them a bit and the monotony falls away” MinnPost, Dec 19 2012
“Photo Project Looks at the People Who Make Christmas Possible” Jan 2 2013
“Mary Rothlisberger + God Bless the USPS” 2013