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 - "In Search of Live Music"

Oct 11, 2021

Musicians alone can’t call an art scene into existence. 

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David and Art - "Artists and our Money"

Oct 4, 2021

Giving consideration to artists could be easy if we always had them close at hand.


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

David and Art - "An American in Paris"

Sep 20, 2021

A jazz age dancer and singer will soon be in the company of famous French philosophers and novelists.

One of the most famous sites in Paris is a Roman style temple called the Pantheon.  When construction on it began in the mid-1700s it was intended to be a church. But, by the time it was finished, the French Revolution was going, so it was repurposed as a final resting place for French luminaries from the worlds of politics, science, and the arts.

The philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau are there; novelists like Victor Hugo and Emile Zola; key politicians like Leon Gambetta and Jean Jaures; scientists like Marie Curie.  On  

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

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David and Art - “The Return of the Orchestra”

Sep 6, 2021

As orchestras prepare for a new season, the audiences of the future are somewhere out there too.

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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 

David and Art - "Radio, Radio"

Aug 16, 2021

In listening to the radio, you sometimes encounter art without even realizing it.

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David and Art - "A Better Shakespeare"

Aug 9, 2021

Taking great works of art to new audiences requires only that we see the common humanity in all of us.

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David and Art - "Where Art and Wine Converge"

Aug 2, 2021

Learning more about what you’re looking at or what you’re tasting is the way to appreciate things more deeply. Click to listen to this episode.
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Murals and sculptures can help make our reopening cities more vibrant and lively.


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David and Art - "Film as Art"

Jul 19, 2021

Hollywood blockbuster may not be very artistic, but that doesn't mean some films are not.

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David and Art - “The Woman Holding a Balance”

Jul 12, 2021

A Dutch painter in the 1600s created images that can still tug at the human soul.

Last  month, I spent a few days at the National Gallery in Washington DC and there was a particular painting I wanted to see:  a work by a Dutch artist named Johannes, or Jan, Vermeer called Woman Holding a Balance. If I’m forced to pick (or if you’re playing “David & Art” trivia) it’s my favorite painting.

Vermeer was born in the Netherlands in 1632 and his life overlapped with other painters of what’s referred to as the Dutch Golden Age—people like Franz Hals, Judith Leyster, and, most famously Rembrandt.   In these paintings you’ll find lots of interior scenes:  lots of tables overflowing with food and

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


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