Two graduates of program return to document its impact; segment coincides with new exhibit at Tennessee State Museum
Earlier this month, we laid to rest a true Nashville giant. John Seigenthaler was many things, among them a journalist and First Amendment advocate, but as we wrote in a statement posted on Friday, July 11, to us he was a friend, a member of the NPT family and the longtime volunteer host — for 42 years — of A Word on Words. We will pay tribute to that legacy, and celebrate what would have been Seigenthaler’s 87th birthday, on Sunday, July 27 from 2-6 p.m. on NPT. We’ll be airing back-to-back classic episodes of the show, interspersed with reflections and stories from local authors and friends. Among the authors and episodes featured will be John Lewis (“Walking with the Wind”); Ann Patchett (“Patron Saint of Liars”); Alice Randall (“The Wind Done Gone”); J.T. Ellison (“All the Pretty Girls”); John M. Seigenthaler (“James K. Polk”); David Halberstam (“Firehouse”); Rodney Crowell (“Chinaberry Sidewalks”); and Fred Thompson (“Teaching the Pig to Dance”).
Among those offering reflections are Stephen Mansfield, Ellison, Jon Meacham, Charles McNair, Crowell, Marty Stuart, Adam Ross and Randall.
That morning’s regularly scheduled episode at 10:30 a.m. features Patchett in a new episode talking about her most recent collection of essays, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.” All new episodes, taped in the months before Seigenthaler’s death, will air on subsequent Sunday mornings until September 28, after which older episodes will be rebroadcast, until further notice.
Thanks to everyone who has written or called the station to offer their condolences. We appreciate the kind words for John and his work, and will be compiling all of the notes to forward on to his family.
As much as John Seigenthaler was a part of our family here, it’s easy to forget that, essentially, he was a volunteer. For 42 years, he hosted A Word on Words with John Seigenthaler. Not as a paid employee, but as a volunteer, dedicated to serving this community and honoring the integrity of the written word. “Keep reading,” he told us at the end of every episode, whether he was sitting across from a New York Times bestselling author, a politician who’d written a manifesto on public policy, a local historian, or a first time author with a collection of short stories. He took his own advice seriously, reading everything before the cameras rolled. Kevin Crane, vice president of content and technology and executive producer of A Word on Words tells us that “in all my years of working with John on A Word on Words, it never failed to amaze me, especially during the Southern Festival of Books when we’d do more than a dozen interviews in a weekend, how engaged he was with each author. He read every book, much to the surprise of the authors, who were not used to that much attention and respect.”
He was prepared, too, as any staffer lucky to snag a copy of a book he used on the show knows. The back pages were full of notes.
Beth Curley, NPT’s president and CEO recalls that John’s love of literature “inspired and informed my own reading, as it did for all of us at the station, all who watched the show, and all who sat across from him on the set.”
But he did more, she added:
“John was extremely supportive of me when I arrived at NPT 15 years ago, where he was already an established presence and host of A Word on Words for 25 years and counting. He had an invaluable influence on the way we conducted ourselves as journalists at NPT, and was always there to provide us guidance. He was also a gifted Nashville historian; always willing to be a resource for us on our Nashville history documentaries.”
When the Anniversary of the Freedom Rides came in 2011, an event pivotal in John’s career, he was understandably much in demand. But he always had time for us. He hosted our own reunion of Nashville Freedom Riders just days after appearing on Oprah, made time for multiple screenings of the Freedom Riders documentary and even spoke to a roomful of public television employees when our national conference was in Nashville. He was tireless when it came to telling the story of the Freedom Riders, because he knew it was an important story. That was why every time he told it, whether recalling his own harrowing brush with death or how Diane Nash and the other riders signed their own last will and testaments, audiences were moved and inspired.
We were always moved and inspired by John, especially every time he came in the door to tape a new batch of shows. These last few years gave us plenty of opportunities, too, as he showed no sign of slowing down. He taped 48 shows in 2012-2013, and enough this year to last us until September. He was, you could say, the most dedicated volunteer in the history of public television. He was also a friend, and a part of our family. We’ll miss him deeply, and keep reading.
NPT’s New Installment of the ‘Aging Matters’ Series Explores the Roles of Family Members and the Community in the Care of Elders
Hosted by Kathy Mattea, ‘NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Caregiving’ premieres July 17 on-air and online; advance screening and discussion to be held July 14 at FiftyForward Knowles Patricia Hart Building.
At least 70% of people over 65 will need long-term care services and support, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. But fewer than 10% of Americans are saving and planning specifically for long-term care, resulting in almost 44 million adults in the U.S. that provide unpaid care to someone over age 50. Seven out of 10 are women. Despite being married, having children, and having careers, they are putting in about 20 hours a week of elder-care.
In Caregiving, the latest installment of NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea and premiering on-air and online on Thursday, July 17, Nashville Public Television (NPT) discusses the existence and impact of informal caregiving in relation to the increase of life expectancy and aging of the Baby Boomers. This documentary draws on the knowledge of caregivers, family members, adult daycare runners, healthcare and social service professionals, and more to express the problems that families are experiencing when they are unprepared to provide care for an elderly family member.
Produced by LaTonya Turner (Translating the Dream, Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the War), NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Caregiving will premiere online on Thursday, July 17 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) at wnpt.org via the OVEE online engagement web viewer. It will have its broadcast premiere at 8:00 p.m. that same evening on-air at NPT-Channel 8. Those wishing to attend the online screening should visit wnpt.org or go to the direct link: https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/ohl9q.
“Caregiving for an older adult will almost certainly touch all of us at some point, especially as people live longer and Baby Boomers age,” says Turner. “It’s a topic that affects me personally as primary caregiver for my 91-year-old mother and it’s surprising how many people I encounter are dealing with issue. Some call it a ‘silver tsunami’ that will create a strain on the friends and family that care for the aging, the communities that serve them, and the long-term and general healthcare system. For the documentary, we talked with a variety of informal caregivers, care professionals, policy makers and community members to get as many perspectives as possible on how best to navigate the issues caregiving presents. We hope it starts a larger conversation in the community.”
The documentary will be previewed on Monday, July 14, 2014 with a lunchtime screening and discussion at FiftyForward Knowles Patricia Hart Building from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. After the screening, Gretchen Funk, MSW, FiftyForward Care Team Director, will lead a discussion with a Care Team client about her family’s caregiving journey, including the development and implementation of a care plan to address the family’s needs. Other service providers will be on hand to join in the discussion, and caregiving resources and supportive materials will be available.Lunch will be provided. FiftyForward Knowles Patricia Hart Building is located at 174 Rains Avenue Nashville, Tenn., 37203.
Member of the community wishing to attend should RSVP at email@example.com.
“NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Caregiving” is made possible by the generous support of Cigna-Healthspring, the West End Home Foundation and the Jeanette Travis Foundation.
by Chloe Cable
Nashville Public Television’s award winning Tennessee Civil War 150 series aims to explore our state’s pivotal role in the Civil War, and is continuing to do so in its new documentary, “Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom,” premiering Friday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. (Rebroadcast at 11:30 p.m.).
After a visit to The Tennessee State Museum and its exhibit “Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation,” the series’ producers were motivated to create a documentary based on this exhibit and its inspiration, John F. Baker Jr.’s book, “The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation.” When he was younger, John F. Baker Jr. was drawn to a photo of Robertson County slaves in his middle school textbook. After learning that his great-grandparents were in that photo, he began researching them. This research led to more research about more family members, and after about thirty years he had accumulated information about hundreds of his ancestors. He searched family and state archives and birth and death records. He interviewed relatives and historians. Finally, he published all of his hard work in 2008, in a book that detailed the lives of his family and their strength and perseverance during their fight for freedom.
According to NPT producer Ed Jones, “Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom,” brings the book and exhibit to life. It tells the stories of many generations of the Washingtons through footage filmed on site at Wessyngton and at the exhibit in The Tennessee State Museum. The documentary also gives the history of Wessyngton Plantation and its founder, Joseph Washington, who purchased sixty acres in Middle Tennessee in 1796 to grow tobacco. The slaves who worked the fields on this plantation were very rarely sold, resulting in many generations of enslaved families leaving their mark on Wessyngton Plantation. “Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom” follows these multiple generations as they struggle to gain freedom.
“Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom” is made paossible in part by Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.
Ed. Note: University of Iowa student Chloe Cable is interning in NPT’s promotion and marketing department this year, helping us with our monthly schedule, You Tube channels, Storytellers blog and more. An art and creative writing major, she attended the Frist Center for the Visual Arts media preview for the new exhibit, Real/Surreal: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art, and came back with this dispatch.
All art exhibits are based on a theme or commonality; some feature an artist, a movement, a style, or a time period. The idea behind the new exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, however, comes off as more of a thesis than a general theme. Real/Surreal: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art contains over sixty paintings, photographs, and prints from American artists between 1920 and 1950. It features names like Edward Hopper, Man Ray, Andrew Wyeth, and Federico Castellon. The works that comprise this exhibit have been categorized as either Realism or Surrealism. Realism is a style of art that expresses the subject in a way that stays true to its form in observable nature. Surrealism is a style of art that shows the natural world in an unnatural way to explore the emotion, imagination, and deeper realities behind the subject. These two forms of art are often considered to be polar opposites.
Real/Surreal argues that the line between these two types of art is not that clean. Rather than being a binary, they sit on a sliding scale. This idea is expressed by the first two paintings featured in the exhibit: Andrew Hopper’s Cape Cod Sunset and Man Ray’s La Fortune. They have been categorized as Realism and Surrealism, respectively. However, after experiencing a tour provided by the curator, Katie Delmez, I discovered that they don’t seem that different anymore. The very realistic Cape Cod Sunset has accurate perspective and realistic shading – and a lingering impression of loneliness. The painting portrays a large white home on Cape Cod that lacks any evidence of life. There are no people, vehicles, or personal items that one might expect to find in a painting of a house. The lack of life is so unnatural that it gives this realistic painting a surreal edge.
La Fortune – a painting of a billiard table that sits on barren earth and is surrounded by green, yellow, blue, and red clouds – has some surprisingly realistic elements. The shading is accurate and there is effective use of light source and perspective. At first glance these two paintings are complete opposites, one realistic and one surreal, but deeper inspection reveals that they are more similar than their styles label them to be. Each of the following works of art in the exhibit argues this idea. The pieces labeled as Surrealism use elements of Realism, and vice versa. I encourage visitors to the Frist to enter the upper-level galleries with this in mind in order to experience this exhibit fully. While the artwork is incredible in its own right, understanding the message behind this collection allowed me to leave with a lot more than I expected to when I first entered the exhibit.
As an art major and self-proclaimed realist, I wasn’t expecting this exhibit to be more than an interesting combination of two styles. I was prepared to “ooh” and “aah” at the right moments and then leave with another collection of paintings to add to my mental list of “seen that.” The nature of this exhibit, however, makes it nearly impossible to leave without two things: new knowledge and inspiration. Not only did I learn about two styles of art that I thought I knew almost everything about, but I acquired the impulse to do something with this knowledge.
I have always loved art; my grandmother was an art teacher and I grew up with her paintings in our home and fairly frequent visits to her basement-studio. My grandma and my mom always inspired me to be creative. When I was bored they would hand me paper and pencils and tell me to draw something. I’ve been drawing ever since, priding myself for my talent in the art of “visual mimicry.” I could set almost any object in front of me and draw it with accurate detail. But I was told by many art teachers that this wasn’t enough. “Anyone can draw something realistically,” they would say, “You have to make your work stand out. Maybe have a theme. Or you could add color to just these parts. Or you could alter something to make it more than just a drawing of the object.”
The latter option always bothered me because that would make my drawings surreal. I didn’t want to change my style of drawing. I liked realism and I disagreed that it was too common. Not everyone can draw realistically and it’s not boring. It’s fun really, creating something so realistic that it tricks the eye into thinking it’s a photograph. And all you need is paper and graphite. I considered taking their advice and altering parts of my drawings, but I liked being realistic so much that I didn’t want to risk making my drawings surreal.
Taking from the knowledge that Realism and Surrealism are not two completely separate forms of art, I have realized that making not-so-realistic changes to my realistic drawings isn’t jumping ship. Hopper’s painting is still considered realism. It’s the emotion behind the piece that makes it a little surreal, too. Art is about breaking boundaries and sometimes, like in this case, breaking binaries. It’s about expression and creativity. It is definitely not about playing things safe. I’m comfortable with how I draw now and that might just be reason enough to change things up. Most of the surrealists featured in this exhibit had training in realism and used this training to make their work surreal. I’m not saying I’m going to stop being a realist and completely switch over to Surrealism, but, according to this exhibit, I don’t have to.
We are proud to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to showcasing the stories of Nashville’s immigrants and refugees. NPT’s Next Door Neighbors Storytellers blog, accessible at blogs.wnpt.org/storytellers, is the web portal for a community project that expands on the Emmy award-winning Next Door Neighbors documentary series.
Building on NPT’s close relationships with local immigrants and the organizations that serve them, the goal of the Next Door Neighbors Storyteller project is to help Nashville’s immigrants and refugees find their voice by training and equipping them tell their own stories through digital storytelling skills. NPT provided hands-on training, equipment and support throughout the initial phase of the project, resulting in video essays that are personal, unique and captivating. The new blog provides a platform for the close to 150 immigrant and refugee stories on NPT’s Next Door Neighbors Storytellers YouTube Channel.
There are stories by Kurdish, Somali, Egyptian, Japanese, Bhutanese, Mexican and many more communities, that together provide a wide-ranging view of the diversity of music city and craft a larger, more inclusive story about why Nashville is an “it” city right now. Stories on the blog are categorized by topics including food, immigration, culture, faith, entrepreneurship, survival and Nashville.
While Storytellers started more than three years agp, the new blog was initially developed this spring at the HCA Foundation-sponsored Hack for the Community, where local developers and designers volunteered their time to work with Nashville nonprofits. With the input and guidance of NPT’s Joe Pagetta, director of media relations and online strategies; Will Pedigo, Next Door Neighbors producer, and Shawn Anfinson, Next Door Neighbors Storytellers project manager, HCA project manager James Bumpass led a team of six developers and designers who worked on the best way to showcase the videos.
There is an area of the blog where immigrants and refugees can download training materials and videos, and find out about upcoming workshops. They can also inquire about telling their own stories, and a use form to submit stories they’ve already done for inclusion in the project.
“We hope by providing a better showcase for these stories that this rich, vibrant part of Nashville’s culture gets to shine a little more and take its place along many of the other facets of this city garnering national attention,” says Pagetta. “Some of these stories are really excellent, and all are sincere and heartfelt. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but all took courage to tell. I hope, too, that it inspires more members of the community to tell their own stories, and together we can build this amazing digital quilt of the unique people that now call Nashville home.”
Kevin Kennedy did additional development work, and NPT intern Chloe Cable brought the bulk of the YouTube collection into the blog. Soraya Salam worked on an early phase of the project.
The Next Door Neighbors Storyteller project is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Nissan Foundation.
On Saturday, June 14, supporters of NPT in search of appraisal gold gathered at the Factory in Franklin for NPT’s 5th Antiques and Fine Arts Appraisal Day. Over a dozen local and regional appraisers were on hand to meet more than 300 registered attendees who brought in books, jewelry, prints, furniture, guitars, pop culture memorabilia and more. In addition to the success for the station — we raised nearly $30,000, almost doubling our fundraising goal — the day was a win for many of the attendees and appraisers.
“It was great a day for everyone involved — the appraisers, the guests and NPT,” said the event’s organizer Sheila Fischer, NPT Corporate & Community Development Manager. “Everyone had fun looking at each others’ items and guessing their value and authenticity. Even those folks that didn’t walk away with the jackpot were happy to have participated. It was a pleasure, too, to work with the Factory and hold the event at Jamison Hall, which provided the perfect backdrop for the day.”
Mike Cotter of Yeoman’s in the Fork, who said he saw better stuff this year than in previous years, was excited by several items that came into Jamison Hall. Among them was a 1611 copy of the New Testament published by Robert Barker, who also published the 1611 King James Bible. It was the first one he had actually seen and was hesitant to put a value on it without further inspection, but said it would be quite a bit. Cotter was also thrilled to have an attendee bring in an 1885, deluxe leather, first edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which Cotter appraised at least $10,000.
“He told me his granddaddy won it in a poker game,” Cotter said. “It came in a barrel of books.” Cotter also appraised a promo photo signed by all four Beatles for $15,000, and a set of individual Beatles photos, also signed, at $5,000 each.
Berenice Denton, of Berenice Denton Estate Sales & Appraisals, had the hall buzzing when she appraised an early 1930’s baseball signed by Babe Ruth. Everything about it was authentic, according to Denton, down to the multicolor period stitching on the ball. Her appraisal valued the ball at around $20,000.
Not to be outdone, Rick Crane of Estate Antiques in Knoxville had art lovers clamoring for a look at the two white plaques made by Pablo Picasso that he appraised for $15,000-$20,000 each. Crane was also the happy appraiser of two Sanborn Mexican Candle sticks that he valued at $3,000 each.
This being the Nashville area, it was no surprise that George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars had his hands busy all day playing and appraising instruments, including a 1952 Martin guitar he valued at $15,000
Joe Rosson of Art & Antique Appraisals by Joe Rossen also had a couple of exciting discoveries. He valued a hand painted 1807 Pennsylvania Dutch Baptismal Certificate at $2,500 and a 1930 Steiff Mickey Mouse, with its tags, in perfect condition for $3,000 at auction.
Perhaps the biggest score of the event was by Mike Walton and his daughter Julie Walton of Walton’s Antique Jewelry in Franklin, who appraised a vintage 8 carat diamond ring made by Harry Winston valued at $250,000.
Other appriasers at the event included John Case of Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, Knoxville office, Sarah Campbell of Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, Nashville office, Carrie Gough of Veritas Fine Art Appraisals & Consulting, LLC, in Chicago, Mike Mouret of Nashville Coin & Currency, Inc. in Nashville, Sam Holden of Pickle Road Appraisers in Nashville, S.D. (Robin) Sinclair, Ph.D. of Sinclair Appraisals in Nashville, and J.T. Thompson of Lotz House in Franklin.
The sponsor for the event was Crosslin and Associates, PC. Business supporters were Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, Stoveworks Restaurant and Catering in Franklin, The Factory in Franklin and Bongo Java Roasting Company”
Thanks to everyone who came out!
NPT’s next Antiques and Fine Arts Appraisal Day will be held in June, 2015 at the Factory in Franklin. Keep an eye on our website for details.
John Seigenthaler, longtime host of NPT’s A Words on Words, humanitarian, journalist, defender of the First Amendment and so much more, was honored in late April by You Have the Power with its 2014 Powerhouse Award. The event at the Country Music Association Theater of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum followed a public dedication of the Shelby Street Bridge as “John Seigenthaler Walking Bridge.”
The hour-long program, captured in its entirety by the Renaissance Center, in the video embedded below by the Renaissance Center, featured friends from John’s remarkable life, including his work with the Freedom Riders and Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s; his career as reporter, editor and publisher of The Tennessean newspaper as well as founding Editorial Director for USA Today; and his commitment to the First Amendment Center and Freedom Forum of the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The presentation was written by John’s niece, Katie Seigenthaler of Seigenthaler Public Relations and directed by theatre veteran Denice Hicks, Artistic Director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.
The evening included a performance by Freedom Sings, an all-star musical group created by Ken Paulson, President of the First Amendment Center. The act includes an impressive group of hit song makers and Grammy winners that, for this show, will include acclaimed Americana artist Jonell Mosser, popular singer/songwriter Bill Lloyd, John Deadrick on keyboards and Grammy Award entertainer and YHTP Board member Linda Davis.
You Have the Power’s Powerhouse Award was established in 2013 to honor an individual’s commitment to victims and victims’ rights issues. This occasion is the key event for both fundraising and public awareness for You Have the Power, which is celebrating its 21st year of service to the community and state.
To better serve your children’s programming needs, we occasionally make some shifts in the PBS Kids schedule. This latest change, effective June 2, 2014, stacks some of the most popular shows, so kids can get twice as much Sesame Street, Wild Kratts, Curious George and Arthur. Enjoy!
6:00 a.m. Wild Kratts
6:30 Wild Kratts
7:00 Curious George
7:30 Curious George
8:30 Dinosaur Train
9:00 Sesame Street
9:30 Sesame Street
10:00 Daniel Tiger
10:30 Super Why
11:00 Dinosaur Train
11:30 Sid the Science Kid
12:00 p.m. Caillou
12:30 Thomas and Friends
1:30 The Cat in the Hat
2:00 Curious George
2:30 Curious George
4:00 Wild Kratts
4:30 Wild Kratts
5:00 Martha Speaks
“Food,” the latest episode in NPT’s Emmy® Award-winning “Children’s Health Crisis” series will premiere online on Thursday, May 22 at 12 p.m. Central (noon) in advance of its broadcast premiere later that night at 8 p.m. on NPT. The online screening will be presented via OVEE, a public media platform that enables people anywhere to watch a film together and chat both during and after the screening.
To access the screening on Thursday, May 22 at 12 p.m. Central , visit https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/4oora. You can login with your Facebook account (easiest and OVEE doesn’t post anything to your profile), you can go earlier and create a user and password, or you can just join in anonymously. Guests on the screening and chat will include the documentary’s producer, Will Pedigo.
Nearly 16 million children in the United States have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. While the American Heart Association recommends high-school aged children eat 3 servingsof vegetables a day, in Tennessee only 13% achieve that goal. Additionally, nearly one in five adolescents skips breakfast, and one in three children is obese or overweight.
In “Food, hosted by Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“Nashville,” “Two and Half Men,” “Father of the Bride”) we ask, “What is standing between us and a healthy relationship to food?” The documentary draws on doctors, nutritionists, policy makers, community advocates, parents and more to explore the roles of everything from breastfeeding to farming subsidies to food marketing to family dinners to discover how our relationship to food is established and maintained, and the impact that has on our health.
For more on the documentary, see the official release on our blog.