Art Works Blog

Since April is not only Jazz Appreciation Month but National Poetry Month, we decided to merge the two. Below are five jazz songs and albums inspired by poetry, two of which tap the genius of Big Read poets. Gentian by Tomoko Ozawa Although pianist and composer Tomoko Ozawa isn’t the first musician...
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As a research psychologist trained in studying childhood development, I often pose two questions in my role at the National Endowment for the Arts. One, what is the quality of the evidence suggesting that artistic and creative activities affect child outcomes, and two, what can researchers,...
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Design specialist Jennifer Hughes shares her experience attending a a creative placemaking convening in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
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My journey into social impact design began with architecture. I first studied it as an object, obsessing over the form, materials, and details. I learned how ancient and modern masters like Michelangelo, Borromini, Le Corbusier, Wright, and Gehry created iconic buildings. I even had the opportunity...
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Few individuals have been regarded with the same fascination as Marilyn Monroe. And she was indeed fascinating, a woman who—thanks in large part to her physical appearance—appeared to have everything: celebrity, fame, wealth, and no shortage of male admirers. But as has been endlessly explored...
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Here's our (unofficial) soundtrack to Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, one of the titles in our Big Read library.
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NEA Arts Education Specialist Lakita Edwards has a crush on Syracuse, birthplace of Rod Serling and home to one of Carrie Mae Weems's studios.
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While today we consider Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz a pioneer or prodigy, during her own lifetime, she was often considered a legitimate social danger. This was in 17th-century colonial Mexico, when women weren’t meant to be intellectuals, write poetry, or pursue the sciences—all areas in which de la...
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I learned to read from my neighbor, Mrs. Chastain. My swing set backed up against her flower garden, and we became friends after I “borrowed” one of her red tulips. My mother dragged me to Mrs. Chastain’s front door and asked me to apologize. I stood there terrified, eyes on my sandals, tulip limp...
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How do you live in a place that might be completely alien to you? - Manil Suri Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel and Big Read selection, The Namesake , further explores an issue near and dear to the author's heart: what it feels like to be an immigrant. Though Gogol Ganguli is the protagonist, it's his...
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