Program archives

April 28, 2021. We continue our deep dive into how Middletown, CT, already a way cool city, might become even cooler by developing its potential to be an arts destination. In case you’re unfamiliar with Middletown, it’s well-known for its excellent restaurants. It’s got the Connecticut River running alongside it. It’s got Wesleyan University. And a classic wide main street. And an excellent library. Plus, as I can’t resist pointing out, but which you seem to already know, since you’re listening to it: an amazing college radio station. In this second installment of the series, we talk to Middletown artist Pierre Sylvain, the executive director of the Buttonwood Tree arts venue on Main Street, and last but not least, the mayor himself. What’s he think of the idea of artifying Middletown?

April 11, 2021. Great restaurants. That classic wide main street. Wesleyan. Excellent library. Way-cool college radio station. Middletown’s got it all, right? Well, except for visual art. In the first of a series about how to make Middletown an art destination, Open Studio talks with an artist, a former arts administrator, and a Realtor. They consider the sad proposition that maybe the city just isn’t into art.

March 28, 2021. Artist Holly Whiting and her husband Joe, who’s about to retire from teaching middle school English, have sold nearly all their worldly goods and are about to live on the road in a 100-square-foot school bus they converted themselves.

March 14, 2021. A visit with Connecticut-based artist Peter Waite, whose paintings, mostly of architectural subjects based on his travels in the US and abroad, focus on what he calls the intersection of private and public memory. Find images at

Feb. 28, 2021. Down With Some Art? A Lincoln scholar weighs in on what should be done with problematic — especially Confederate — statuary. Should they be pulled down? Stored in warehouses? Ret. RI Supreme Court Chief Justice votes nay.

Feb. 14, 2021. A Valentine’s Day special! Ten artists’ takes on love, with art historian Fran Altvater, associate dean of the University of Hartford’s Hillyer College. Follow along visually at! Plus! A heart-shaped chocolate box of selected songs about love & art! You never know what you’re gonna get!

Jan. 24, 2021. Building More Diverse Architects: What would architecture look like if not just white men designed it? We hear from underrepresentated architecture students from the University of Hartford and their enlightened white male professor.

Jan. 10, 2021. Is There Life After Art School? Five recent graduates of Hartford Art School (full freight nearing $57,000/yr) discuss how things are going so far. Will the American Dream be forever inaccessible to them? Is it even THEIR dream? Should they make marketable work or paint their souls? Is Instagram the best path to community? How have their expectations and work changed since graduations? Any regrets?

Dec. 27, 2020. Marcy LaBella not only draws, paints, works in clay, makes jewelry, and teaches all over the place — she’s made it her mission to learn the intricacies of disseminating her art online. As of this writing, she has attracted 10.4 K followers — and counting! She’s created a course to show us how to do it, too.

Dec. 13, 2020. John James Audubon was a great artist but, as it turns out, a very bad guy. Patrick Comins, executive director of the CT Audubon Society, talks turkey about the man’s flaws and how the conservation movement that bears his name is dealing with them. Also: book recommendations; news of an upcoming Zoom series, Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds; and places in Connecticut that are worth a winter hike.

Nov. 22, 2020. Four Armenian artists — Nubar Alexanian, Mari Firkatian, Marsha Odabashian, and Arevik Tserunyun — discuss the effect on their work of centuries of conflict in their ancestral land — and sometimes Armenians’ preference for silence about it.

Nov. 8, 2020. A pre-election-results conversation in which our guests — a theologian and an artist — dare to consider joy.

Oct. 25, 2020. Film critic Richard Alleva on how the changing way we watch movies and TV is changing us. Also: why the term “art film” makes him cringe.

Oct. 11, 2020. On using the wrong water fountain and other traumas. Bob Selby makes art from memories of growing up in the Jim Crow South. His installation piece, “The Doors of Segregation,” is a metaphor for the obstacles that remain despite progress toward racial unity. A former newspaper illustrator and college art professor, Bob now uses his retirement years to paint his soul.

Sept. 27, 2020. Interview with abstract painter Cat Balco, a professor at Hartford Art School who shows in NYC.