"DONALD CRAVENS: WITNESS TO
NOW ON DISPLAY AT COLLEGE OF THE DESERT
Photographs Chronicle Significant Cultural, Historical, and Social
Historically significant photographs taken by late valley philanthropist and Time/Life photojournalist Donald Cravens are now on display at The Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts at College of the Desert (COD), located at 43500 Monterey Av. in Palm Desert. The Center is also presenting a selection of student photography in conjunction with the Cravens exhibit, featuring the work of student photographer Mark Manocchio, whose collection of images is entitled "A Joshua Tree Retrospective." Retired from a successful career with Levis Strauss, Mr. Manocchio's first photography class ever was at COD in 1994,but his experience capturing landscape images dates back to World War II serving in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946, he worked as an aviation machinist on aircraft carriers in the Pacific Ocean and was part of a unit that took aeriels photographs of the Marshall Islands a stronghold for the Japanese navy.
“Don would be so proud and thrilled to have his photographs exhibited
alongside student work, and available for all students at
COD to see, because he was always motivated to help
young people,” explains Cravens’ widow, Peggy, also a beloved and longtime
COD supporter. “These images give clear insight into some of the
major events of the 20th century, particularly World War II. Many of our
young people have no conception of what that time was about, and I
think they will learn so much by viewing these pictures. The photos will
also serve as a reminder to older people as to what the world was
like all those years ago.”
Donald Cravens captured some of the 20th century's
most historic moments with his camera, documenting in film
and photographs many significant events including
the Allied Forces Normandy Invasion, beginning with D-Day on June 6,
1944; the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi War Criminals in Germany from
1945-46; the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and subsequent civil
rights activities led by Rosa Parks, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
and Ralph Abernathy through the 1950s; and Elvis Presley's first
RCA recording session in 1956.
At age 23, Cravens was sent to Normandy, France as part of the D-Day
Invasion, where he hit the beach with a 16-pound camera
strapped to his shoulder. Cravens won two Purple Hearts for leg
injuries sustained while covering the war through the Battle of the Bulge
and VE Day. His photographs have appeared in Life magazine and
in various History Channel programs throughout the years.
The month-long exhibit, which opened on January 27th, will run through
Thursday, February 27, 2014 and is free and open to
the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, and
first Sundays (Sunday, February 9th) from 11 am to 1 pm and by
appointment. Cravens' work is on display in the Cravens
and Leberman galleries, and Manocchio’s photography is on
display in the Alumni Association gallery.
The Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts is a nonprofit cultural and
educational facility. Committed to educational excellence, The
Center provides a venue for artistic exploration, experimentation
and research. The Center is located at the northwest corner of the COD
campus, adjacent to the Street Fair parking lot (Lot 28) and across the
street from the Coeta and Donald Barker Nursing Complex.
For more information about these exhibits, call the Marks Center at (760)
776-7278 or go to www.collegeofthedesert.edu.
Pictured right: One of Mark Manocchio's photos of his exhibit, "A Joshua Tree Retrospective."
After the Navy, Manocchio enjoyed a successful career at
Levi Strauss, which brought him to the Coachella Valley; three years after
relocating, he retired and decided to stay in the desert. He became an active member at the Palm Springs
Art Museum, and especially admired their photo collection.
Landscapes and architecture are his favorite subject matter
to photograph. The photographs in this
gallery are part of the last project Manocchio completed as a student at
College of the Desert. During his time
at COD, he enjoyed the time spent with his instructors and fellow students,
which he found to be as enjoyable as the learning experience itself.