art | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

art

Facebook

Holiday shoppers now have an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s called “Artists Sunday,” a new nationwide marketing initiative that encourages shoppers to take advantage of deep discounts on arts and crafts created by local artists.

Julianne Varacchi / Connecticut Public

Racial justice advocacy group CT Core – Organize Now! and spoken word artist Salwa Abdussabur are hosting the first Black Haven Film Festival. The live virtual event gets underway Friday.

Author photo of Rebecca F. Kuang
Kobi C. Felton

Rebecca F. Kuang started writing her first novel, The Poppy War, when she was just 19 years old. Now, the final installment in the author’s dark military fantasy series, The Burning God, comes out today.

This hour we talk with Kuang, who will also be starting a PhD program at Yale University in East Asian Languages and Literature. She has pursued an extensive academic career in modern Chinese studies—while also writing Nebula and Locus award-nominated fantasy novels.

Kuang’s stories weave the fantastic with her deep knowledge of twentieth century Chinese history.

Have you been reading The Poppy War trilogy?

Cuatro Puntos

The Hartford-based music ensemble Cuatro Puntos and the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford have partnered for a yearlong series of virtual concerts and discussions that intersect music and positive social change around the world.

Tim Matson / Pilobolus

Nearly 50 years ago, a group of Dartmouth College students met in a dance class. That chance encounter would later evolve into the world-renowned, Connecticut-based modern dance troupe Pilobolus.

Alonso Nichols

Liliana Cruz of Boston has just been selected for a school desegregation program. At dawn, she takes the bus to a mostly-white high school in the suburbs. There she makes friends, endures microagressions and racism, wrestles with her identity and finds her voice. That's the premise of Jennifer De Leon's debut novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From,” which came out this year. 

Andry Fridman / Creative Commons

In the 1990's, the Southport Sockmen, otherwise known as Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop, paid drunk people in Liverpool bars and clubs to give them the socks they were wearing. The Sockmen took photos of each “donor,” before placing each sock and its matching donor photo in a plastic bag. The police found 4,000 pairs of socks piled 18 inches deep when they arrived to arrest the pair for "acts of gross indecency." The socks were also hanging from the furniture and lampshades - and some were in the microwave. 

Yale Repertory Theatre

Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a new grant program that will help arts organizations impacted by COVID-19. The $9 million COVID Relief Fund for the Arts will support not-for-profit performing arts centers, performing groups like orchestras and theaters, and community arts schools.

Hartford Opera Theater

Zoom meetings have become a ubiquitous part of pandemic life. Business meetings, social functions -- really any gathering that used be held in person has moved to Zoom or a similar platform. Now that virtual world has become the setting of a new chamber opera being performed this weekend by Hartford Opera Theater -- live, on Zoom.

West Hartford Art League

The pandemic has interrupted a lot of industries, including the arts. Artists and museums have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic, but it has not stopped them from creating and sharing their work with the public. This hour, we hear from artists and curators on how they're sharing their craft with the public, while in quarantine.

A man in a hazmat suit represents the first COVID-19 testing site.
Hector Pachas

To close out the annual Stamford Innovation Week, community members say they had to get creative in COVID times to bring people together safely to celebrate. A group of 30 transformed three floors of a parking garage into a drive-thru interactive art exhibit. 

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth. And in the ancient Greco-Roman world, they were applied on enslaved people who got caught trying to escape.

But today, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as distinct as the person getting them. Sometimes, it’s a memorial to a person or an experience or an idea. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than something that just looks really cool!

Now and then, though, the meaning changes, and the artwork needs to be covered up. So today, you’ll hear stories about how people have used tattoos to allow their skin to, shall we say, evolve.

The Ella Burr McManus Trust / Wadsworth Atheneum

Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old State House and the Hartford Public Library are offering a series of self-guided walking tours showcasing the art and history hiding in plain sight in the capital city.

theater closed sign
Corey Doctorow / Creative Commons

Hartford-area arts organizations impacted by COVID-19 can apply to participate in a new program aimed at building audience and capacity post-pandemic. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Catalyst for the Arts will feature six weekly group sessions, as well as private coaching sessions facilitated by HFPG and the consulting firms Fathom, CO:LAB and the Free Center.

For eight years, I hosted a storytelling show at the Mark Twain House, called The Mouth-Off. Five times a year, storytellers would take the stage with their true story on that night’s theme. Now that the pandemic has cancelled the remainder of this year’s season, I wanted to take the opportunity to play you some of my favorites.

You’ll hear all sorts of stories in this episode, but the one thing they all have in common? They all deal with relationships with authority figures - like parents, employers… or police.

Bob Ross, Inc.

It's been 25 years since Bob Ross died and 26 years since his The Joy of Painting went off the air. But there are 52 episodes of the show available to stream on Netflix. Bob Ross and Chill is a thing. The 403 full episodes available on YouTube have accumulated something approaching 250 million views. And last summer, The New York Times did a big Bob Ross investigation.

This hour: a look at the undying force for permed hair and puffy little clouds and happy little trees that is Bob Ross.

Plus: Could we do a show about Bob Ross without also talking Thomas Kinkade? No we could not. And so no we do not.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Black Lives Matter murals have been popping up across the country since the killing of George Floyd by police. In Hartford, a mural is tucked away in the city’s North End, with another in the works downtown. And in Stamford, the affirmation Black Lives Matter has been painted on a main street.

Photography by Clay Williams

Did you ever play the game Statues as a child? This is how you play:

Megan Moss Freeman / Pilobolus

The Connecticut dance ensemble Pilobolus’ annual Five Senses Festival is a go for this year, but with a new social distancing twist. The world-renowned company will take this year’s festival into the lush hills of northwest Connecticut for what’s being called the “Five Senses Safari.”

Erich Ferdinand / Creative Commons

Religious scholar Elaine Pagels trusted the Gospel of Thomas to get her through the almost unbearably painful years after the death of her six-year-old son -- born with a congenital heart defect -- followed one year later by the unexpected death of her husband. 

Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Our ancestors viewed sleep as a highly sensual and transcendent experience. Today, about a third of adults have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested. We're becoming a nation of insomniacs.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent most of her life observing the natural world and writing about it. She’s written 14 books over her half-century career, including the New York Times-bestselling book “The Hidden Life of Dogs.” Her new book, “Growing Old: Notes On Aging With Something Like Grace,” came out this year. Thomas, 88, joined NEXT and talked about enjoying the slower pace of aging.

Wilson Ring / AP Photo

For more than a decade, Vermont tattoo artist Alex Lawrence has been offering to remove racist tattoos — such as swastikas or the white supremacist slogan “white power” — for free. Recently, as protests over police violence continue and his work has gotten more exposure, Lawrence has seen an uptick in clients taking him up on the offer.

New Haven Symphony Orchestra
New Haven Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will not perform in front of a live audience until 2021. Instead, the ensemble will focus on virtual programming. The decision is a response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

Suzanne Proulx / http://www.suzanneproulx.com

Dust is a fascinating substance. Our bodies are always shedding dust from our skin, hair, and nails, leaving little bits of DNA wherever we roam. Dust floats unseen through the air around us. It's light. It's hard to see unless it lands on a contrasting surface or crosses the path of a ray of sunshine. It can travel far and wide.  

Yale Repertory Theater
Yale Repertory Theater

The Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre will skip the entire 2020-21 season in response to COVID-19.

In a press release, the school says the decision was made due to the “incompatibility of theatrical production with the best public health practices in response to COVID-19.”

eggy band
Eggy / Facebook

Self-isolation and social distancing have forced musical groups -- choirs, orchestras and other ensembles -- to temporarily disband or use unsatisfactory videoconferencing to rehearse because of the pandemic. But one Connecticut band whose members share a house in Woodbridge decided to self-isolate together, and they are making the most of it.

time magazine titus kaphar
Time

Audio Pending...

This week’s Time Magazine cover is a painting by New Haven artist Titus Kaphar created in response to the killing of George Floyd. 

The painting, Analogous Colors, is powerful -- a black mother, eyes closed, holds her child close to her body. But Kaphar cuts the image of the child out of the canvas, revealing a mother holding the empty silhouette of her baby.

Facebook

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, theater companies in Connecticut are promising to do more to deal with racial injustice in their communities and within their own workplaces.

Pages