Many Camp internees joined the war effort through their artistic expressions
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 leading to the wartime incarceration of over 100,00 Japanese Americans. Across the country ten camps were established by the United States Government. Two of these camps were in Arkansas, in Rohwer, and in Jerome.
More than 16,00 men, women and children were shipped to Arkansas, where they would stay from September 18, 1942 until November 30, 1945. Life in these camps was fairly prosaic and relatively "normal." Children went to school, families went to church on Sundays, and the young men enlisted in the Armed forces to fight Hitler and the German forces in Europe. These young men became the 442nd Regimental Combat Group and are known as the most highly decorated unit in WWII.
Among the ordinary things people did in the camps was to draw and paint pictures. From now, until August 23rd, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies presents Drawn In: New Art from the WWII Camps in Rohwer and Jerome. This show features artwork created by people held in the Japanese American internment camps in Arkansas during World War II.
The exhibition was inspired by the Butler Center's collection of art work from the camp at Rohwer, donated by Rosalie Santine Gould of McGehee, and by the people who lived in the camps or had loved ones who did. The purpose of the exhibition is to teach as many people as possible about this chapter in Arkansas and U.S. history. Mrs. Gould, who donated the material to the Butler Center in 2011, had a deep interest in Japanese culture and an appreciation for the Japanese Americans who lived in the camps near her McGehee home.
Drawn In: New Art from the WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Admission is free. The Center is located at 401 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock.