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Dan Sheehy headshot
Photo by Ashlee Duncan

2015 Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellow

A life in the folk and traditional arts.

Archie Shepp
Photo by Monette Berthommier

2016 NEA Jazz Master, Saxophonist, and Composer

Archie Shepp shares his musical biography—and his thoughts about the legacy of African-American music.

Adam Sherlock
Photo courtesy of Adam Sherlock

Radio Production Instructor

Behind the scenes of “Sending Messages,” the award-winning monthly podcast produced by incarcerated youth.

Richard Sherman
Photo courtesy of Richard Sherman

Songwriter (National Medal of Arts recipient)

A world without Mary Poppins? No way. The two-time Oscar winner lets us in on how great show tunes get written. [29:58]

Headshot of a man.
Photo courtesy of SimonSays Entertainment

Actor and Tony- Award winning Producer

Shining a light on untold stories.

Headshot of a man.
Photo courtesy of Kiran Singh Sirah.

Folklorist, Poet, and President of the International Storytelling Center

Folklorist, Poet and President of the International Storytelling Center Kiran Singh Sirah is passionate about the power of stories.  He heads the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough Tennessee—the oldest festival of its kind in the world and a driving force behind the renaissance in storytelling.  Kiran talks about creating community through stories, the ability of story to transcend petty politics and connect us to what is essential.  His own story is pretty interesting: born in England to parents who had been expelled from their home in Uganda and grandparents who were part of the liberation movement in India.  He understands first-hand the ability of stories to translate cultures to each other.  We also hear a story from NEA National Heritage Fellow Sheila Kay Adams who can spin a tale with the best of them.

Rev Jerry Colbert
Photo by Tom Pich

2014 National Heritage Fellows

Rev. Jerry Colbert shares one of the oldest African-American music traditions.

Brando Skyhorse
Photo courtesy of Brando Skyhorse

Author and 2015 Poetry Out Loud judge

He had a childhood no one could make up—with his memoir, he creates order from the chaos.

Anna Deveare Smith
Photo by Joan Marcus

Theater Artist

Playwright, actor, and activist Anna Deveare Smith talks about her extraordinary career and her current one-woman show, Let Me Down Easy. [31:01]

Headshot of a man.
Photo by Mathieu Bitton

2017 NEA Jazz Master

One of the best jazz organists, ever…and one of the most sampled jazz musicians.

Molly Smith
Photo by Suzanne Blue Star Boy

Artistic Director, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Washington, DC

Molly Smith talks about American theater, including the often-overlooked musical, her commitment to new play development, and her vision for the newly-renovated Arena Stage at the Mead Center. [27:16]

Headshot of a man.

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

 

2019 National Heritage Fellow and decoy carver

2019 National Heritage Fellow Rich Smoker has been carving decoys for half a century. He is one of the people who elevated this utilitarian craft to an art form. Rich is a self-described river rat: he grew up along the Susquehanna River in rural Pennsylvania and now lives alongside the Annemessex River in the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland—an area with long and strong tradition of decoy carving. Rich spends hours on the river observing wildlife and pouring through his massive collection of books and images. He’s able to bring those observations and research to his art and realize his vision. Rich is a master of both utilitarian and decorative carving—winning over 500 hundred ribbons, 100 best-in-show awards and a best-in-the world award. But he is also committed to passing this art form to others, particularly younger people and has taught upwards of 2000 students. Rich Smoker is a natural-born storyteller who frequently turns his humor on himself. In this podcast, we learn about his passions: for nature, for carving and for telling a good yarn.

Shirley Sneve
Photo courtesy of Ms. Sneve

Executive Director, Native American Public Telecommunications, Lincoln, NE

Shirley Sneve talks about the mission of the Native American Public Telecommunications organization, which shares stories of Native American people through the creation, promotion, and distribution of Native media on television and radio. [27:33]

Headshot of Jilann Spitzmiller
Photo by Genevieve Russell

Filmmaker

Still Dreaming documents octogenarian actors taking on Shakespeare at the Lillian Booth Actors' Home.

Headshot of a man
Photo courtesy of Rohan Spong

Documentary Filmmaker

Winter at Westbeth shines a light on artists and aging.

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