David and Art

Monday 4:44am, 6:44am, 8:44am and 5:44pm

Art reveals the world to us in new ways.  On KWBU, we have a new weekly feature focusing on art.

The module is hosted by David Smith, 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.

Follow David on Twitter @DavidASmith12

David and Art - "Books"

Jul 18, 2019
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

What you read can open up the doors of the art world.

David and Art - Alternative Newspapers

Jul 8, 2019
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Alternative newspapers are an important element in a city's art scene.

In 1928 modernist composer Arnold Schoenberg said that "art is from the outset naturally not for the people," and over the past 150 years or so, plenty of other Modernists have said similar things about their art, and this is certainly true for a  lot of their work. But I sometimes wonder if almost all great art is a poor fit with today's culture and in some real way an alternative to it. 

David and Art - Art and Health

Jun 24, 2019
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

When school administrators and doctors realize the arts can help them do their jobs better, we should all take note.

David and Art - "Art and Religion"

Jun 17, 2019
Joe Riley

Hearing an unexpected piano piece in church can open doors we didn’t even know existed.

David and Art - A Painter On D-Day

Jun 10, 2019
Joe Riley

On D-Day in World War II, a French painter came ashore with the Allied armies. His art would be forever changed because of it.

David and Art - Once in a Lifetime

Jun 3, 2019
Joe Riley

The greatest works of art circulate slowly through the world.  We may only get one chance to see some of them.

I was speaking with a friend of mine recently about a particular piece of music and she commented that she would like to hear it live sometime in her life.  I agreed and later her comment got me thinking about how a direct, in-person encounter with a piece of music or a painting can literally be a once in a lifetime experience.


David and Art - "I. M. Pei"

May 27, 2019
Joe Riley

From Paris to Dallas, architect I.M. Pei created timeless art in the buildings he designed.

Growing up in Dallas, and having heard of architecture, I knew the name I. M. Pei before I had any inkling of his story and his significance in the world of art. (more)

David and Art - "Curiosity"

May 20, 2019
Joe Riley

What it takes to really get into history are the same qualities it takes to get into art. This is not a coincidence.

David and Art - "High School Mural"

May 13, 2019
Joe Riley

When it’s embroiled in controversy, art can’t speak as loudly as the people who speak against it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to it.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” tried to lower the unemployment rate through a vast and varied program of public works.  Along with construction jobs, the WPA also paid artists to decorate new public buildings. (more)

David and Art - "At the Choir Contest"

May 6, 2019
Joe Riley

The people who participate in a High School Choir Contest testify to the power of the arts.

I recently had the chance to attend a high school choir contest.  I sat in an auditorium while choirs from around the state filed in and out, each performing three pieces for a panel of judges.  The effect was to pull back the curtain and get an appreciation of the work, the stress, the nervousness, the preparation, and the overall effort from countless people for something like this to happen.  (more)

David and Art - The Most American Music

Apr 29, 2019
Joe Riley

Taking pieces of songs from different sources, Charles Ives made orchestra music that described America.

I spent some time last week listening the music of an American composer named Charles Ives. Born in Connecticut in 1874, Ives isn’t very familiar to the general population but some say he’s one of the few American composers who ranks alongside Europeans.  He wrote his remarkable second symphony between 1897 and 1902 but it wasn’t performed publicly until 1952.  Leonard Bernstein was among those who tirelessly championed the then mostly unknown Ives and his music. ( more)

Joe Riley

During the American Civil War a German painter showed what art could offer to members of Congress, and to us today.  

In the late 1850s the political future of the United States was growing increasingly bleak, and people openly wondered if the republic could survive as its sections drifted further apart.  To concerned citizens, the presidential election of 1860 loomed large with the potential of driving circumstances past the point of (more)

David and Art - "Travel and Art" Pt. 1

Apr 15, 2019
Joe Riley

In 1919, Americans were wondering if soldiers who had experienced France would come home as different people.

Right after the end of World War One, a hit song swept the United States that reflected on the experiences of the war and pondered its effects on the American doughboys who had gone to France.  It was called “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree)?”  The famous 369th Infantry Regiment Band recorded it in 1919 and it became a sensation.  In subsequent years it would be a hit for several singers.  There’s a good chance you’d recognize the melody. (more)

David and Art - "At the Art Show" Pt. 2

Apr 8, 2019
Joe Riley

There are two ways of looking at art, and both ways together can help you understand it better that you ever have before.

Last week I talked about attending an international art fair, and how, among other things, it gives you the chance to see works of art you’ve never seen but by artists you’ve heard of all your life.   It struck me as I wandered among the displays that day that there are two ways to understand art:  that is, art can be—needs to be—understood in two different ways.  It’s incumbent upon us to sort this out and do both. (more)

David and Art - "At the Art Show" Pt. 1

Apr 1, 2019
Joe Riley

International art shows provide a perspective on the art world that you get in no other place.

I recently had the chance to attend an international air fair. I’d never been to one before and frankly I didn’t know exactly what to expect. (read more)