June 20, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw brings art history to ‘Kids Corner’ on WXPN

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw brings art history to ‘Kids Corner’ on WXPN

When her stepchildren were very little, Penn artwork historian Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw would tune into WXPN in the evenings to listen with them to “Kids Corner”, a extensive-ranging radio communicate clearly show made for children 5 to 13 decades old.

Shaw now is a month-to-month visitor, coming to the studio on Walnut Street to discuss about art and artists with the show’s host, Kathy O’Connell. Launched in 1988, the clearly show is marking 35 a long time on the air in January, with O’Connell at the microphone and producer Robert Drake making it all transpire.  

“We are in our 3rd era of listeners,” Drake claims. “So, young ones who grew up with ‘Kids Corner’ as fans are now bringing their grandchildren to our activities. They listened, their children listened, and now their grandchildren are listening to us.” 

Starting up with to start with women 

Drake contacted Shaw in 2021 when Shaw was curator of the exhibition “Just about every Eye Is On Me: 1st Girls of the United States at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. O’Connell, who is intrigued in first females, believed the subject was perfect for the clearly show. Since it was throughout the pandemic, O’Connell and Shaw recorded the segment in independent booths. 

“The dynamic amongst Gwen and Kathy was definitely all-natural,” states Drake. “They were just chatting about almost everything. It was nearly as if the mics weren’t on. And that is when I reported to Kathy, ‘This is who we will need to converse about artwork,’ due to the fact Gwen has a way of conversing about art.” 

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and Kathy O'Connell speaking into microphones in the WXPN radio studio.
Shaw and O’Connell record the art history clearly show to air on the initial Thursday of every month. 

O’Connell says the fit was immediate, “Gwen is so relaxed on the radio. We assumed, ‘We have this great resource—what can we do?’” she states. 

Shaw, the Course of 1940 Bicentennial Phrase Associate Professor of artwork background in the University of Arts & Sciences, was sport. “I mentioned, ‘Oh, that was so considerably fun. At any time you want me to arrive again, just permit me know.’ And we started out to brainstorm what a excellent segment would be,” she says. 

Art is everywhere you go

Each individual month, Shaw chooses four artists to concentration on based on their birthdays, with an eye toward range, which include gender, race, and nationality of the artists. She also thinks about range of creative mediums: paintings, prints, murals, sculptures, textiles, photography. She normally chooses artists from the 19th and 20th generations, but sometimes she incorporates 1 who is contemporary. 

“I test to speak about range difficulties, like gender or race, and about that complexity and how it influences people’s life and how it affects our skill to be inventive and go after particular occupations,” Shaw says.  

In January, she spoke about Jose Campeche, a Puerto Rican artist of African descent who made portraits that involved pineapples and maracas, as properly as Clementine Hunter, a self-taught people artist who worked buying cotton in Louisiana and who designed hundreds of vibrant paintings depicting Black Southern existence in the early 20th century.

huge sculpture of a button split in half
One particular of the artists Shaw mentioned in the Children Corner display is Claes Oldenburg, who produced the Break up Button sculpture on Penn’s campus. 

Shaw also weaves in other difficulties, like disabilities. In November, she featured painters Charles Demuth, who experienced adult diabetic issues, and Georgia O’Keefe, who had macular degeneration and was the to start with woman to have her paintings hung in the White Household. 

“I assume it’s truly significant for youngsters who have people today in their people who have healthcare difficulties to fully grasp that those people points have an effect on every person and how individuals troubles can impact their professions and what they pick out to do in their life but not limit them from pursuing issues,” suggests Shaw.

She also chooses artists based mostly on the place they are from and where by their do the job is on exhibit. “I try out to link the artists, at minimum 1 just about every thirty day period, to the Philly area,” she states, so young ones and their family members can consider about artists who are from nearby or whose function is in locations that they can check out.  

For example, Demuth claims Shaw was from close by Lancaster, Pennsylvania, exactly where there is a museum of his operates. Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture of a huge button is on Penn’s campus, and 1 of a huge paintbrush is in entrance of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Maya Lin, a contemporary artist, established the Decoding the Tree of Daily life sculpture for the Pavilion at Penn Medication.  

The collection started in August and airs on the 1st Thursday of every month. The to start with job interview targeted on how to “see art in all places,” Shaw states, in museums but also in murals, in landscape, in sculptures outdoors in the city. “We talked about how something could be artwork, to really encourage that exploration and that openness,” she suggests. 

Shaw also talked about what to do in a museum, as an alternative of what not to do. Drake suggests he identified that episode in particular beneficial. “She definitely went into how to take your time and appear, glimpse at coloration, glimpse for brushstrokes, how to glimpse at portraits, how to search at paintings,” he suggests. “I learned a great deal from it, so I know the children were being understanding as perfectly.” 

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw laughing at the microphone
O’Connell and Drake say Shaw, who utilised to hear to Youngsters Corner with her stepchildren when they were being youthful, is a all-natural on the radio, and fit for Little ones Corner. 

Observing on the radio

O’Connell and Shaw make a level to describe the artworks as they are discussing them. Shaw specific Demuth’s 1928 painting “I Saw the Determine Five in Gold” as a “poster portrait,” or representation of an component of a person instead of their impression, in honor of his friend, the poet William Carlos Williams, a Penn School of Medication graduate.  

Shaw initially browse “The Good Determine,” by Williams: “Among the the rain/and lights/I noticed the determine 5/in gold/on a pink/firetruck/transferring/tense/unheeded/to gong clangs/ siren howls/and wheels rumbling/via the darkish city.” On air she explained Demuth’s abstract portray of a New York City road scene, with intersecting black and grey strains, recurring gold quantity 5 figures, white globes for streetlamps, and a purple block for a firetruck. 

These descriptions go a long way in enjoyable what Drake says is “the most demanding topic on radio: visible arts.” The segment reminds him of an before section they did, “Radio Pictures,” when little ones would get in touch with in to describe what photos went through their minds even though listening to a musical visitor execute. “We’ve often wished to go back to that,” he claims.  

Maya Lin was one more artist Shaw explained, and her sculpture in the Penn Medication Pavilion, Decoding the Tree of Everyday living.

Display ends, display starts

“Kids Corner” arrived from “Kids America”, a countrywide stay get in touch with-in radio display from WNYC in New York Metropolis, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. O’Connell was a co-host. In 1987, WXPN’s common manager, Mark Fuerst, determined to air “Kids America” in the evenings, Drake suggests. A several months later, the Company for Public Broadcasting funding wasn’t renewed and the demonstrate was cancelled.

“All of a unexpected WXPN experienced no show and 90 minutes every single weeknight to fill,” claims Drake. Penn’s then-President Sheldon Hackney gave authorization to carry O’Connell to WXPN on a trial foundation to develop a community variation, he claims. “Kids Corner” was born Jan. 4, 1988. 

“I was a admirer of XPN, a common listener,” states Drake, who is from South Philadelphia. “The very first working day Kathy went on the air, she mentioned, ‘We are area, and we have to have some help answering telephones if any individual would like to volunteer.’ So I came down the subsequent day.”  

Drake was hired as a entire-time producer the moment WXPN secured funding to proceed “Kids Corner”. “Kathy and I have really significantly been the present ever considering the fact that,” he suggests.  

The mission is about “Kathy and the young children,” he claims, and the goal is “getting young ones to shut their eyes and do a little something that is just about their listening to and use their creativity.” O’Connell and Drake combine game titles with discussion, dependent on the subject matter.  

Kathy O'Connell laughs while speaking with Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw while they sit in front of microphones in the radio recording studion.
O’Connell developed Young ones Corner at WXPN in 1988, based mostly on a exhibit she beforehand hosted in New York City. 

“When you blend ‘Kids Corner’s’ special provider to youngsters and family members with its longevity, it is simple that Kathy O’Connell is a University treasure,” suggests Roger LaMay, WXPN normal supervisor. 

Though Shaw’s segment is taped, “Kids Corner”, which airs from 7 to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, offers a number of are living connect with-in segments each and every thirty day period. “It’s about giving young ones an chance to have an hour of radio for by themselves so they can share regardless of what they want, figuring out that their feeling matters,” Drake claims. “It’s a mix of instruction and enjoyment where by kids can study with no acknowledging they’re finding out.” 

Looking forward and up

Derrick Pitts, main astronomer at the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, has been a regular given that “Kids Corner” started with a regular “space chat” about astronomy and the exploration of deep room. “The kids are truly fascinated,” Drake suggests. 

“The fact is that Derrick and young ones can have a pretty equal dialogue about space,” claims O’Connell. “And it’s really considerably the similar when Gwendolyn is in this article, I just kind of sit back again and let people today who know what they are doing and know what they are speaking about chat about it.” 

In the spring, ”Kids Corner” is arranging to collaborate with Pitts, Shaw, and the Franklin Institute to study photographs taken by NASA telescopes that are now artwork pieces. “We want to beam them up on to the planetarium dome and have Gwendolyn and Derrick there with an viewers, conversing not only about the house behind it, the science guiding it, but also what to search for in these is effective of art,” Drake states. “I believe which is one thing youngsters would actually get into.” 

And they approach to continue on Shaw’s artwork segment on “Kids Corner.” “There are generally likely to be birthdays and distinctive sorts of artwork,” O’Connell suggests. “And when you can present a child that there is a area, an real creating, exactly where they can go to see this? It’s just a total planet that we get to talk about.”  

WXPN is the non-industrial, member-supported radio provider of the University of Pennsylvania.