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Headshot of a man.
Photo by Adam Jahiel

Leatherworker and 2019 National Heritage Fellow

Leatherworker and 2019 National Heritage Fellow James F. Jackson creates sculpture by carving leather. Go to his website and check out his work—then listen to the podcast. You really have to see the complexity and beauty of his leatherwork to appreciate our conversation about it. With all his projects, James does the work from start to finish: he designs, cuts, carves, glues, sews, sometimes paints and finishes the leather. And while James has certainly created his share of saddles, he also uses leather as the material for unlikely forms like vessels or lamps or wall hangings. Listen to a gentle man from Sheridan, Wyoming discuss his art, his teaching leatherwork around the world, the significance of traditional arts, and the deep impact of the Sheridan style of carving on Japanese leatherworkers.

Maria Rosario Jackson head shot

Holistic urban planner, member of the National Council on the Arts

Maria Rosario Jackson talks about urban planning with art at its heart.

Mary Jackson
Photo courtesy of Ms. Jackson

NEA National Heritage Fellow

NEA National Heritage fellow Mary Jackson talks about the art and tradition of sweetgrass basketmaking. [22:52]

headshot of Dolly Jacobs
Photo by Barbara Banks

Circus Aerialist and 2015 National Heritage Fellow

Most kids run away from home to join the circus. For Dolly Jacobs, it was a family affair.

Ahmad Jamal
Photo courtesy of DL Media

Pianist and Jazz Master

Ahmad Jamal discusses his long and celebrated career. [30:51]

Keith Jarrett
Photo by Rose Anne Colavito

2014 NEA Jazz Master

Pianist Keith Jarrett - letting the music happen. [34:27]

Headshot of a man.
Photo by Keith Bormuth

Television writer

Cord Jefferson began his career as a journalist, but six years ago he began writing for television. Since that time, he has put together a jaw-dropping resume—writing for shows like Succession, Master of None, The Good Place (for which he just received an NAACP Image Award) and the ground-breaking series Watchmen. Watchmen is a super-hero series set in an alternative world that nonetheless shares much of our racial history. In fact, the series opens with 1921’s Greenwood Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma—where whites rioted and razed Greenwood, a prosperous black part of town, killing hundreds of African Americans and destroying the community. A bold way to begin a super-hero series—but then Watchmen is a smart and profound examination of African-American history and how it shapes our world today. In fact, the episode Jefferson wrote with showrunner Damon Lindelof has a character living out her grandfather’s memories of vicious racism in the 1930s. In this podcast, Jefferson takes us inside the writers’ room of Watchmen; we talk about Lindelof’s vision for the series and how the writers worked together to bring it to fruition. We also talk about the process of collaboration, world building, and weaving real history into a fantasy series. Jefferson is immensely talented and a great storyteller.

Adam Johnson
Photo © Tamara Beckwith

NEA Literature Fellow

2010 NEA Literature Fellow Adam Johnson talks the challenges of setting a novel in North Korea. [29:00]

Headshot of a man
Photo courtesy of the author

Novelist, essayist, graphic novelist

His novels take a satirical look at race and identity.

headshot of a man
Photo by Elizabeth R. Cowan

Award-winning novelist

Welcome to Braggsville: A madcap and tragic satire that unpacks attitudes about race

Hank Jones
Photo by Tom Pich

Pianist (National Medal ofArts, NEA Jazz Master)

Hank Jones talks about his long career in jazz, including playing with such jazz greats as Charlie Parker and fellow NEA Jazz Master Ella Fitzgerald. [24:52]

Jennie C. Jones

Photo by David A. Brown

Artist

The winner of the 2012 Joyce Wein Artist Prize discusses the relationship in her work between visual art and sonic art. [26:26]

John Kevin Jones
Photo courtesy of John Kevin Jones

Actor and executive director of Summoners Ensemble Theatre

Here’s a podcast for your Halloween listening pleasure: Actor and Executive Director of Summoners Ensemble Theatre John Kevin Jones talks about his one-man show Killing an Evening with Edgar Allan Poe. In Killing, Jones performs four of Poe’s best-known works: “The Tell-Tale Heart;” “The Cask of Amontillado;” “The Pit and the Pendulum;” and, of course, “The Raven.” It’s a bravura performance, undertaken with a minimum of props….but who needs props when you have Poe’s words and a setting guaranteed to put the audience in an appropriately spooky mood? Killing an Evening with Edgar Allan Poe is performed in the candle-lit salon of the Merchant’s House Museum—a 19th century family home in lower Manhattan preserved virtually intact with original furnishings and personal belongings. The intimate space with candles casting their shadows brings the audience into the action of the play in more ways than one. Jones and I talk about Poe’s work, bringing it to life on the stage, and the challenges and joys of playing in an intimate and historic space. (He’s also performed a one-man show of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House Museum for seven seasons.) And Jones gives you a taste of the evening with excerpts from “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven.”

Tayari Jones head shot.
Photo courtesy of Algonquin Press

NEA Literature Fellow

Tayari Jones: an author who loves the process of writing.

Thomas W. Jones II
Thomas W. Jones II.  Courtesy of Metro Stage

Writer, director, and actor

Makes sense of the world through theater.

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