WNPR Arts and culture reporting focuses on the world of ideas in fine art, crafts, writing, music, theater, performance, design and creative activities that make us unique and make us human

Chris Boland / Creative Commons

It's been more than 40 years since Graham Nash first sung with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

Bengt Nyman / Creative Commons

Looking every inch a silver-maned patriarch of Biblical grandeur, Sonny Rollins, the 84-year-old genius of the jazz tenor saxophone, was especially elated last weekend to receive an honorary doctor of music degree from the University of Hartford at graduation ceremonies on its West Hartford campus.

Summer Travel Tips

May 19, 2015
Jon Rawlinson/flickr creative commons

On this fresh edition of The Faith Middleton Show, Amy Farley of Travel + Leisure magazine and all her best summer travel tips. She'll reveal which websites deliver when they claim they can forecast future ticket prices so you know when to buy. And she'll tell us how to travel to Cuba.

Algis Kaupas

The late cellist and teacher Ettie Minor Luckey will be remembered at an event later this week. She was an enthusiastic proponent of the arts along Connecticut’s shoreline.

Transcending Gender Roles Across Cultures

May 18, 2015
Jean-Paul Remy / Creative Commons

As our culture continues to progress, one elephant in the room that seems to be growing harder to ignore is our views on human sexuality. The traditional model of two mutually exclusive gender identities, male and female, is becoming increasingly outdated as we hear about people in our communities and around the world who fall somewhere in between the two (or outside the boxes entirely). Despite the threat of social exclusion and sometimes deadly persecution, stories of those who dare to embrace their own identity continue to increase in number.

Nathan O'Nions/flickr creative commons

I've just had a crash course on how to get rid of stuff because I'm in the middle of moving to, wow, three separate locations in Connecticut, New York City, and Orient Point on The North Fork of Long Island.

That's what led me to a consignment expert, and a de-cluttering expert, who we lined up for today's show in case you face your own "transition situation."

Courtesy David Foster

Blue legend B.B. King died Thursday at the age of 89. Connecticut blues singer and former club owner David Foster had a decades long friendship with King, and played with him as recently as last year.

Yusuf Syed

If you listen to public radio, you probably know her name. If you don’t listen to public radio, then you probably know her name from the massively popular Serial podcast. Julie Snyder is the senior producer of This American Life and she’s the co-creator of that show’s spinoff podcast, which told the story of Hae Min Lee's murder in 1999 and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed.

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

Mark Walerysiak

The "cultural ninjas" are back at it, weeks after stealthily transforming five empty storefronts into beautiful, impromptu art installations. Now, Bristol's Art Squad is tackling abandoned properties.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time -- with your radio tuned into WNPR -- can lead to unexpected connections...

When WNPR's Where We Live first met Stanley Maxwell, we asked musicians Andy Chatfield, Mark Crino, Eric DellaVecchia, and Evan Green to explain the origin of their unusual name. 

Rev Stan/flickr creative commons

David Letterman reinvented television. He's irreplaceable. He was a comedic revolution. According to President Obama, Letterman is "a part of all of us."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Some conversations about public media, and the role of public radio stations in particular, have been making their way across social media this week. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For the past fourteen years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you off your feet. The four of them recently joined us in our Studio 3 to share some of the music that’s kept them all together for so long.

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

This may seem like flagrant nepotism, but in fact it’s only mild and forgivable nepotism:

There will be remarkable musical event next Sunday, May 24, at the new downtown Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Hartford.

A Glimpse Into The Dark Side of Technology

May 14, 2015
Charis Tsevis/flickr creative commons

We all depend on technology and its vast, positive potential on everything from poverty to medicine, but there’s a flip side. As we gear up for the Internet of Things, with greater connections come greater risks. 

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Web App Finds Outdoor Art Around New Haven

May 14, 2015
David Sepulveda

Alexander Calder, Swoon, BiP, and Claes Oldenburg are among the artists whose works make up the rich tapestry of outdoor art in New Haven. And if you’re not sure where they are?… There’s a web app for that.

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

As a child prodigy, the now adult, prodigious drummer Johnathan Blake made an appearance on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” the legendary children’s series on PBS created and hosted by Fred Rogers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A lot of interconnected things were happening in the 1990s, an oncologist and hematologist  named Mitchell Gaynor discovered through a Tibetan monk, the so-called singing bowls and began incorporating them into the guided meditation and breathing work he did with his patients.

Jaume Escofet/flickr creative commons

Join us for dance music and innovative cocktails you can easily make at home. It's also an invitation. We want to party with you.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.

Barta IV/flickr creative commons

Listen to our show featuring ideas and inventions. We invite you to tell us what you've invented or would like to see invented, and to share your ideas on improving some aspect of life.

Gilberto Santa Rosa / Flickr Creative Commons

There are many kinds of nudism - or naturism. There are people who just like doing stuff while not wearing clothes. And there are those who believe there are hygiene benefits. And people who link nudism with various utopian movements that break down barriers among people.

And there are people who believe in de-stigmatizing the parts of the human anatomy ordinarily covered by a bathing. The way this plays out in life, therefore, is that some naturists just want the chance to live in the raw in fairly private settings.


This weekend, family and friends gathered in Bridgeport for the funeral of DeMonte Anozine. The 20-year-old was killed in a crash early Tuesday morning that closed down I-95 in Fairfield for several hours.

Banning Eyre

If you listen closely to the music of Thomas Mapfumo, you will hear the pulse of Zimbabwe. It’s a sound unlike any other, driven by decades of struggle, brutality, and cultural sabotage. 

A soon-to-be released documentary film called "Uncommon Ground" will be screened this weekend in Connecticut. It explores the struggle over the future of the last remaining abandoned Palestinian village on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collection

It would have been difficult for 19-year-old Mary Doyle Keefe to realize the incredible influence she would have on women when she sat to have her portrait painted by Norman Rockwell in the early 1940s.

Boston is home to one of the country’s first great public libraries: the Boston Public Library. Founded in the middle of the 19th century, it is free to all, offering a public space and access to a world of books and ideas.

For generations, Americans have embraced public libraries as essential civic institutions — but now, in the age of Google, Wikipedia, Amazon and Kindle, traditional libraries face an existential quandary. With so much information so easily accessible, who needs libraries and their musty stacks of books?