D-Day at Camp Angel, 1944

On June 6, 1944, William Everson sat down at his desk in Civilian Public Service Camp #56 and articulated a vision for those who believed so strongly in peace that they refused to fight for it. Here are a few short paragraphs from the prospectus for the Fine Arts at Waldport:

 “This is D Day. In the narrow slit between the continent of Europe and the island of England, tens of thousands of men are hurling eastward in the final assault upon a civilization. Here in the West, on this shelf of earth and stone that forms the Pacific scarp, what can be said about art, that will be taken by the millions who watch that denouement, as more than idle prattle? And yet, if it cannot be said on D Day, it should not be said at all; and if it deals with possibilities, the possibilities are of the variety that need as lucid exposition at this time as they ever did in the course of the war.

“The Fine Arts at Waldport is a simple association of artists. It is a group of men who, at one time or another in their lives, found they could no longer think only in terms of being artists, but were compelled by the convergence of events to become pacifists; not half-pacifists, or part-pacifists, but full-time pacifists. We were, in short, inducted in Civilian Public Service. And here we perform the duties the Government has decreed to be fit and proper labor for men who profess our particular kind of disbelief.

“But in being pacifists we did not forget that we were also artists. As time went on, as the forms of procedure within the CPS system stabilized themselves and gradually permitted the opportunity for development of group action into tangible forms . . . we began to see that we, too, could consolidate ourselves, and our particular talents be drawn to a focus that could give our pacifism a breadth it could not otherwise obtain.

“…We are very new, very small; there is much more here in the way of intention than in accomplishment. It is not a program that can be brought to maturity in a six months span. But the attempt should be made. And at the very least we hope to show, when the camps have been folded up and stowed away, that of all this effort, of all this money, and of all this time, the things of the imagination have not been forgotten.”

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