“Where Do We Go From Here?” - America in the First World War

On April 6, 1917, the United States formally entered what came to be known as World War I.  This decision followed a presidential election in which keeping the nation out of the war was a major point of debate, and on which public opinion was divided.  Rapidly-changing global events, however, led the US to enter the war shortly after President Wilson was inaugurated for his second term.  By the time the war ended, nineteen months later, the global world order had dramatically shifted, and decisions made one hundred years ago are still having an impact on our world today.

From April of 2017, through November of 2018, the Arvada Center will be commemorating the period of our nation’s involvement in World War I.  We will be looking at the war through the lens of the arts and the humanities, and programming will include art exhibitions, poetry readings, concerts, book discussion groups, theatrical presentations, lectures, panel discussions, a film series, and more.

The Arvada Center is serving as the lead for statewide events commemorating the war, and events will be held not only in our building, but at locations throughout the State of Colorado. We are partnering with organizations in the Denver metro area and beyond, and our plans are being coordinated with the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the official federal entity charged with organizing commemorative events nationwide.

The Arvada Center is proud to partner with the following organizations and individuals on this major project:

Castle Rock Museum
High Plains Library District- Centennial Park Branch Library (Greeley)
City of Arvada
Colorado Humanities
William Convery, former Colorado State Historian
Denver Film Society
Golden Library
Hayden Museum
Joe Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate
Lafayette Library
Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Loveland Library
Metropolitan State University
Money Museum/American Numismatic Association (Colorado Springs)
Platteville Library
Red Rocks Community College
Regis University (Center for the Study of War Experience)
United States World War One Centennial Commission

Read more about Colorado’s involvement in the First World War and find out more about events happening to commemorate its centennial on the World War I Centennial Colorado page.

World War I Speakers Series
Chautauqua Performances
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
12:30-3:00 pm
Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood Campus
The Den
Admission: Free

Jeannette Rankin: America’s Conscience
Presented by Mary Jane Bradbury
Suffragist, pacifist and social reformer, Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress and the only representative to vote against US entry into both world wars. Bradbury gives voice to Rankin’s rise to political prominence.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Great War at Home
Presented by Doug Mishler
Theodore Roosevelt, counsel for Taft, Wilson and whoever would listen, was one of the most powerful voices expressing the importance of US engagement in Europe instead of “ignoble peace.” Mishler‘s interpretation brings Roosevelt and irascible personality to life.

World War I Keynote Presentation
Three Lives, A Lifeboat and America’s March toward War
Presenter – Dr. Mary L. DudziakMary L. Dudziak is a leading U.S. legal historian and her lecture will recount the story of how a lifeboat adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in February 1917 was at the center of an explosive political moment as the country and the president shifted toward declaring war.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Metropolitan State University
Tivoli, Auraria Campus
Admission: Free

Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Regis University, Peter Claver Hall # 315
Admission: Free

Writing from the Trenches: War in Fiction
Writers Workshop
Offered by the Arvada Center Education & Humanities Program
Taught by Rebecca Salomonsson
Saturday, May 20 – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Arvada Center, Room 21A
Admission: $30

Using on some of our most beloved and well-known works of war-time fiction including All Quiet on the Western Front, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Things They Carried participants will be invited to write their own war stories. Whether you are a Veteran with a story to tell, a writer who wants to try your hand at a new genre, or someone who simply enjoys a good war story, you will examine effective storytelling techniques and use prompts as leaping off points to create works of your own. All levels welcome. Call the Arvada Center to register

Rebecca Salomonsson is a Colorado playwright and fiction writer. Many of her plays have appeared in the Arvada Center Black Box Theatre as performed by young actors. Her one-act play “Oh Night Divine” was produced by Foothills Theatre Company in 2012 and her play “Outrageous Fortune” has received productions with several theatre companies in the United States and Canada. She has taught creative writing workshops for the Arvada Center, Foothills Parks and Recreation, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and the Aurora Fox.

Buffalo Soldiers of WWI
Presented by Buffalo Solders of the American West
Thursday, May 18, 2017
 7:00 -8:00 pm
Arvada Center, Studio 11
Admission:  Free

Our nation’s development is marked with a rich tapestry woven with the diligent work of many diverse ethnic groups. Contributions of people of color are often omitted, making our nation’s story less than complete. This presentation on African Americans’ participation in World War I is meant to enhance and complete the story of that era.

War of Words
Wednesday, May 10
7:30 pm
Admission: $10 Purchase through Share Fair Nation
Share Fair Nation
455 S. Pierce St. in Lakewood

World War I inspired hope, despair, anger, anxiety, patriotic fervor, and more—all of which found its way into our most intense and powerful language, the language of poetry. In “War of Words,” actors lend their voices to long-dead poets, with the aim of helping us hear them as they were: alive with conflicting passions, ideas, and beliefs shaped in response to the Great War. Audiences will find these voices not just historically intriguing, but contemporary—as if the poets are speaking both to us and for us about a war that has yet to reach its end.

Trenches to Treaties: World War I Remembrance
Presented by Money Museum/American Numismatic Association
April 27, 2017 Opens
Admission: $5
This exhibition explores the history of World War I as seen through money and medals, and will feature a replica trench as well as other interactive elements highlighting the impact of the war on the people at that time.
ANA Money Museum
818 N Cascade Ave,
Colorado Springs

World War I Book Clubs
April – May, 2017
One Of Ours
By Willa Cather

One of Ours is Willa Cather's 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the making of an American soldier.  Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, restless, and unhappy protagonist, has ready access to his family's fortune, but he refuses to settle for it.  Alienated from his uncaring father and pious mother, and rejected by a wife whose only love is missionary work, Claude is an idealist without ideals to cling to.  When the United States enter the Great War in 1917, Claude enlists in the army where he finds purpose and meaning in his life."

The first in a series of WWI reading groups will begin in April and May at several libraries and museums throughout Colorado.

Participating libraries and museums include:

Castle Rock Museum
High Plains Library District- Centennial Park Branch Library, Greeley
Golden Library
Hayden Museum
Lafayette Library
Loveland Library
Platteville Library