David Smith

Host of David and Art

David Smith, host of David and Art, is an American historian with broad interests in his field.  He’s been at Baylor University since 2002 teaching classes in American history, military history, and cultural history.  For eight years he wrote an arts and culture column for the Waco Tribune-Herald, and his writings on history, art, and culture have appeared in other newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the Dallas Morning News.

The very first record he remembers listening to when he was little was Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic’s recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and that set him on a lifelong path of loving music and the arts.  He’s loved history for almost as long, and finally saw them come together in his career.  He believes that history illuminates the arts and the arts illuminate history—that they co-exist and are best understood together.

Ways to Connect

The more you learn about art, the more rearranging you may have to do, but that’s a good thing.


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Even after his passing, a prominent artist is still giving us the chance to see beauty by shrouding the familiar.

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A cathedral in Washington DC was once thought of as being the resting place for the country’s greatest luminaries.

On a cool sunny Saturday in March 1925 a small procession moved through the Washington DC streets toward the National Cathedral from across the Potomac. Once again, Admiral George Dewey was on the move. It had been eight years since huge crowds lined the streets to watch solemnly as his body carried from the Capitol building to Arlington National Cemetery. Now, his widow and son wanted his body relocated to the Cathedral, of which he had been an ardent backer in

Introducing younger people to classical music is a way to build future audiences.

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Thinking about a style of music that reminds us that we're all in this together.

Last week we talked about the wonderful singer songwriter Nanci Griffith who died earlier this month in Nashville.  While many other people have described her music as being country or even shading over into pop, I’ve always thought of her first and foremost as a folk singer.

I think my favorite recording of hers is a 1994 album called Other Voices, Other Rooms for which she won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk album.  It’s a collection of cover tunes – it’s her playing songs from other artists:  Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Janis Ian, John Prine, and 

With a shimmering voice and a sharp eye, Nanci Griffith captured life in her songs.

I don’t remember how or where I first heard of her. I don’t remember what spurred me to buy one of her CDs but I did.  Somewhere.  In 1989.  And so, I started listening to a singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith. 

I think it was probably something in her voice that caught my attention.  Even now so many years later I still have trouble putting my finger exactly on what it is in her voice that I respond 

Murals and sculptures can help make our reopening cities more vibrant and lively.


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A Teflon budget helps us to have access to some of the world's greatest art. 


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The National Gallery of Art, one of the country’s best museums, has reopened after a long closure.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Washington DC doing research at the library of Congress. The library had just reopened post pandemic and because they were limiting the number of researchers who could be in the reading room at any one time, people had to reserve specific three-hour blocks each day, either morning or afternoon; you couldn’t just go in and stay all day. For five days

Music teachers have one of the central and most crucial roles in the art world.


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A small arts commission created by Theodore Roosevelt still can make headlines in today's Washington.


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Telling the story of a woman who moved American painting onward from a once dominant style.

Artist biographies are, for me, a pretty safe bet when it comes to reading material. If it’s about an artist I like, whose work I like, I can get a lot out of a good biography.  There’s a new one out of an artist named Helen Frankenthaler that, while I haven’t got the book yet, is giving me a chance to reflect on her and her work and I’m looking forward to reading it.  She deserves a good 

From straight jazz to electronic fusion, to duets with banjo players, American pianist Chick Corea did it all, and left a lifetime of music.


Art forms never simply disappear as long as there are people dedicated to keeping them alive.

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David and Art - "Ragtime"

Mar 1, 2021

A Texan born shortly after the end of the Civil War was instrumental in creating one of America's most distinctive styles of music.


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