Current Event May 19, 2017
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus have announced they will close after 146 years in the circus business because of high operating costs and low ticket sales. However, at the New England Center for Circus Arts, performers are still training to become performers. With the most well-known institution of the American circus industry shutting down, it is up to the new generation of performers to redefine the circus’ place in American culture. Listen to learn more about how young performers thinking about the future of the circus, and then debate whether the circus will survive.
Current Event April 28, 2017
The sculpture ‘Fearless Girl,’ is the name given to a statue that was placed directly in front of the famous Wall Street Bull statue. The statue depicts the girl putting her hands on her hips and staring down the bull, symbolizing female possibility. However, many feel the statue is an empty gesture and that it is condescending to represent womanhood with a cute young girl. Some think it changes the meaning of the bull from a symbol of strength to a symbol of a villain. Listen to learn more about the statue’s impact as well as the controversy surrounding it, then debate whether the meaning of art can be changed.
Current Event April 19, 2017
African-American artist Kerry James Marshall has made it his life goal to make black culture “indispensable” and “undeniable” to the art world. Marshall has dedicated his career to painting black subjects and depicting African-American experience through art. He hopes that in showing his work in major museums, he is combatting the historical underrepresentation of black culture in history. Listen to learn more about the artist Kerry James Marshall and his views on black culture in the art world.
Current Event March 23, 2017
A communal listening experience can decrease social anxiety and boost empathy. An artist is collaborating with high school teens to create a “Sound Lab” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The Sound Lab gives community members the opportunity to listen to recordings that the high school teens made of their families, nature, and their own original monologues. The teens found that listening to their recordings with community members in the Gardner’s concert hall had a stronger emotional impact than listening alone. Engaging with the Sound Lab may help people to pay more attention to the sounds that surround them everyday. Listen to learn more about this sound project and its impact on teens and the community.
Current Event February 16, 2017
When a new administration takes over the presidency, the first family has the right to make some decorative changes to the White House, including changes to the art that hangs on the walls. The White House is an accredited museum, with a committee of curators that work to select, obtain and pay for new pieces of art. Part of a White House curator's job is to make decisions about how to make a collection that best represents the United States and its history. Listen to learn more about the history of the art collection in the White House and how the curation works today.
Current Event January 18, 2017
For people who are visually impaired, many of the experiences sighted people take for granted aren’t available, such as going to an art museum. Now, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. are offering special tours to help blind and visually impaired visitors “see” the art. This story takes you on a tour with this unique group of visitors.
Current Event December 12, 2016
A fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland where a number of people lived. The warehouse was converted to artist studios and living spaces. At least 36 people died in the fire. Some people are raising questions about this housing arrangement and other artists’ communities because there were no sprinklers or fire alarm system in the building. Listen to hear from one artist who lived in the warehouse and escaped from the building after the fire broke out.
Current Event September 21, 2016
Every major presidential campaign has its own logo. The candidates work closely with graphic designers to create logos that represent a certain message the candidate would like to send to the public. In graphic form, they can project a voice, impression and identity to voters. In this story a graphic designer analyzes the logos of two major presidential campaigns.
Current Event January 7, 2016
The MoonArk is a time capsule that will be sent to the moon on a privately-funded Moon mission. It is filled with items that will attempt to communicate to whomever finds it and show a portrait of humanity. Two hundred artists and designers contributed to the capsule and the items are unique, including a spritz of perfume, sculptures so small you need a microscope to see them and text messages. Listen to hear more about this artistic time capsule.
Current Event December 27, 2015
Theater is meant to be a sensory experience, but for some autistic children, the sounds and lights are overwhelming. Children with sensitivities to light, sound, and touch can’t filter all of this input and can react in different ways. For families with autistic children, going to the theater can be a stressful experience. Trinity Repertory Company, in Rhode Island, has created a innovative theater experience for these families. The house lights are kept on throughout the performance, there are places for children to get out of their seats to move around and sounds are toned down. Trinity Rep also makes a video that prepares children for the entire experience, from the curtain going up through clapping at the end of the performance. Listen to hear more about how children and families respond to this sensory-friendly performance.
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, best known as T.S. Eliot, was one of the great modernist poets of the 20th century. His work was part of a specific moment in history and art, before and after World War I, when identity, nations and art were fractured. Listen to learn more about the world in which Eliot wrote and why his poem “The Waste Land” remains one of the pillars of the high modernism movement.
Current Event March 4, 2015
When the Nazi Party expanded its power and displaced Jews in Germany and other European countries, Nazis confiscated their belongings. Before becoming a politician and leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler was an aspiring artist, so art was a particular target for him. He had plans to build his own personal museum after World War II, using 14 pieces of art owned by Baron Rothschild of Vienna. Listen to learn how the art, jewelry and rare books of the Rothschild family made it from the Nazi’s possession to an art museum in Boston.
Current Event November 19, 2014
For many, Henry David Thoreau is best know for his 1854 experiment in simplicity, living in the woods of Massachusetts on Walden Pond. The resulting book 'Walden, or Life in the Woods,' has connected generations of readers to Thoreau's vision of self-reliance, closeness to nature, and transcendentalism. An art museum located near Walden Pond has launched a show, Walden Revisited, with works inspired by and responding to Thoreau’s work.
Current Event August 2, 2014
Competitions come in all shapes and sizes. From the boxing ring to the beach, people love to use competition to inspire their best work. Sports have a long tradition of competition but we don’t often see or watch artists be competitive. Every summer just north of Boston, Massachusetts, beach goers to do just this at the Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival. Listen to learn more about sand sculpting and how competition and art drive its creators.
When getting knocked around by the ocean waves, a scientist realized the only things that were staying in place were the barnacles and muscles. This is due to the natural glue they produce that scientists are trying mimic to create a power glue that is non-toxic and can be used for things such as medical surgeries. Listen to learn more about how scientists developed these experiments and how this discovery could lead to a very useful resource.