The Puerto Rican governments Division of Community Education (Divedco) enlisted famous artists to make poster art and short films regarding social issues

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.

About Anika Gupta
Anika Gupta

Anika Gupta’s writing has appeared in India and the United States, including in Business Today magazine, where she served as its first digital content editor, the Hindustan Times newspaper and Smithsonian magazine. Currently, she is a Master's student at MIT, where she studies user-generated content and mainstream media culture. She's also a science writer, media blogger, and essayist.

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