Published : Friday, October 27, 2017 | 12:56 PM
As the Second World War ended, Max and Bee Krone believed the arts could help people relate to each other on a level deeper than that of nationalism. They pictured their creation, Idyllwild Arts, as a peaceful place for people from around the world to experience the arts together.
Idyllwild Arts Academy sculpture teacher Daniel Donovan learned an intense appreciation of peace from his military service in Iraq.
“My unit drove unarmored fuel trucks and got attacked a lot by small-arms fire and IED’s [improvised explosive devices].
Daniel drove for the 737th Transportation Company. Its eighteen months in Iraq was the longest time spent there by any support unit. Every member received a Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, and those who were in direct combat earned the Combat Action Badge.
“There were bright moments. In the towns, the kids climbed all over the trucks.”
Not enough bright moments, however, which explains his membership in the Dirty Canteen. This collective of artists who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq works to raise awareness about issues facing veterans when they return home from war. Seven of the Dirty Canteen artists, including Daniel, are exhibiting their work in “Expergiscimini: Waking Up,” which runs until November 16 in the Idyllwild Arts Parks Exhibition Center.
It would be shocking if Daniel’s war experiences were not reflected in his sculpture.
“Some of my work gets after the tension between the group mentality that’s accepting of violence and the side of us that wants safety.”
He believes those two sides are often uncomfortably close to each other—as in a past work that juxtaposed a display of military medals with a display of Boy Scout medals.
“Fifteen percent of Second World War infantry soldiers were willing to fire their rifles to kill. In Vietnam it was over ninety percent. I’m interested in what it is about our culture that has helped change that.”
The Krones would have been proud to see this question asked so thoughtfully in the place they dedicated to peace.
Idyllwild Arts, 52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038, (951) 659-2171 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.