Cultural Change and Shifting Views of America Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 September 2016

Cultural Change and Shifting Views of America

The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was a huge event! Not only because the World’s fair is a big deal, but this particular World’s fair was a hard one for Chicago to get. Many other big cities put in their bids to host the event, including New York and Washington D.C. On May 1, 1893, the gates opened at the World’s Columbian Exposition. This fair which was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage also served as a showcase for a fully rebuilt Chicago. ”At the core of the fair was an area that quickly became known as the White City for its buildings with white stucco siding and its streets illuminated by electric lights” (Maranzani, 2013).

The Ashcan school was a group of New York city artists who wanted to capture the turn of the 20th century in New York city through realistic portraits of everyday life. These artists captured all aspects. Not just the rich and promising on Fifth Avenue, but the lower class and culturally textured immigrants. Some critics of the time did not like their choice of subjects which often included slums, alleys, and taverns that were frequented by the local working class. The Gilded age was a time when many changes in America were taking place.

The economy was flourishing and so was art. Painters were depicting a realistic look at all the glories and hardships of the new age. Wealthy Americans wanted to fill their homes with beautiful things and yearned to have their image captured for posterity by having their portraits painted. These two times have something in common. Both include art that depicted realism and the things going on around them. While both covered the high and the low times, the gilded age was a postwar era that marked a cultural change for the country. Painters in this era like Winslow Homer gained fame for realistic illustrations of the Civil War.

Culture inspires art. A lot of artist paint what they know or the things around them. Culture survives man through many things such as, music, poetry, sculptures, architecture, etc. These things are all art. Think back to the ancient times that we study. Hieroglyphics were a form of communication which used pictures to convey messages. This is part of Egyptian culture, yet it is art at the same time. Art and culture is how humanity makes sense of and shares the world around us.

Maranzani, B., (2013). 7 Things You May Not Know About the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Retrieved from U.S History, (n.d.). Painting the Gilded Age. Retrieved from
Boundless, (n.d.), The Rise of Realism. Retrieved from

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