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Swim for Life brings Eugene O’Neill back to town

PROVINCETOWN BANNER.  Have you noticed the number of local Centennials recently? Not surprising, we’re in the Centennial Decade, 1910-1920. That decade brought us the Pilgrim Monument, the Art Association & Museum (PAAM), the Provincetown Players, the Beachcombers and to cap it off, the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims arrives in 2020. It was also the Progressive Era in the US, so clearly articulated in Provincetown resident Adelle Heller’s book, co-written by Louis Rudnick, “1915, The Cultural Moment”, featuring the artists, writers, Communists and activists who descended upon our little spiral spit of sand.

FullSizeRenderProvincetown has inspired two of America’s premier, Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. This year is the Centennial of O’Neill’s debut as a playwright, right here on an east end wharf. The community has responded with numerous events, and the Swim for Life joins them. For this year’s design, we chose a simple, elegant line drawing by local artist, Bill Evaul, who also designed the 1999 Swim artwork of a white-line block print of the Rose Dorothea. His work is presently featured in a major exhibition at PAAM, and he also has block prints at the Pilgrim Monument of O-Neill, George Cram Cook and Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Glaspell, major figures in Provincetown’s radical theater experiment.

Swim for Life t-shirts – 100% organic cotton – with Bill’s design are available at Seamen’s Bank, downtown.

O’Neill was friends with the Jack Reed, a Communist/journalist, whose book on the Russian Revolution, “Ten Days That Shook the World”, inspired The Compact’s pre-demolition happening at Herring Cove Bathhouse in 2012. O’Neill was a consummate swimmer and famously lived out in the dunes for many summers, entertaining a stream of Greenwich Village visitors. The Compact presently manages two of the 18 dune shacks, with funded weeks for artists and writers.

The Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, a 1.4-mile swim across Provincetown Harbor, is sponsored by the Provincetown Community Compact and has raised $4M for AIDS, women’s health and the community since 1988. The event supports: the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod and Helping Our Women (primary beneficiaries); and, Provincetown Schools, Lower Cape Ambulance, Soup Kitchen of Provincetown, Outer Cape Heath Services, The Compact Community Fund, Accessible Provincetown, Provincetown Rescue Squad, West End Racing Club and Cape Cod Children’s Place.

Lead business sponsor is Seamen’s Bank; media sponsor is the Provincetown Banner. Business sponsors include: Fanizzi’s Restaurant, Lobster Pot Restaurant, Far Land Provisions, Boatslip Beach Club, Harbor Hotel, Crown & Anchor, Mussel Beach Health Club and Berta Walker Gallery.

For information for swimmers, kayakers, boaters and volunteers, contact:, and Take the Plunge!

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