Demystifying the Doctor: Government-Sponsored Art Comes To a Coffee Shop Near You

For fifty years starting in 1949, the Puerto Rican government's Division of Community Education (Divedco) enlisted famous artists to make splashy, public-interest poster art about issues like hygiene and medical treatment. The 'Rican politicos also commissioned a series of short films on the same community service topics. Maybe because they were made by artists, the films display a level of human drama not normally associated with PSA's: watch a mother wrestle with whether or not to take her sick daughter to the hospital in "Doña Julia," above.

The Smithsonian's Latino Center screens several of these quirky propaganda-dramas at the hip U Street coffee shop/bar "Busboys and Poets," tonight, November 6, from 7-9 pm.

See the posters at the S. Dillon Ripley Center until January 18, 2009.