Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
listen to music from young singer Jazmine Sullivan…
Answer a listener question about
the word 'mosaic'…
head to Miami, Florida for a visit to an unusual museum…
The Wolfsonian Museum
The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach, Florida is filled
with modern design objects that tell a story about political, social and
technological change. It was formed in nineteen eighty-six to house the
decorative and propaganda collection of Mitchell Wolfson. Now the museum is part of Florida
International University. The museum's exhibits provide a lesson in modern
European and American history. Faith Lapidus has more.
to the Wolfsonian Museum last month received a bold red printed brochure filled
with propaganda. The brochure called itself a form of propaganda designed to
persuade, teach and influence visitors to the museum. It says visitors should
think about the objects around them and ask how they were made and for what
social and political reasons.
ideas are repeated in the museum's current exhibitions. One exhibit is about
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" plan. His plan included
programs to help the country recover from the failing economy of the nineteen
thirties. One federal program employed artists to capture images of American
this exhibit, you can see examples of this public art effort. There are
striking images of poor farmers by photographers including Dorothea Lange. Some
artists were hired to create large paintings for the inside of government
buildings. These paintings show Americans hard at work in different industries.
Other artists made posters to advertise government
programs. The images on these posters are meant to express the strength of the
government. The objects in the exhibit tell a story about government expansion
during a difficult period in American history.
Another exhibit is about American
"streamlined" design. Streamlining developed from scientific studies aimed to
reduce the wind and water resistance of ships, trains and cars. In the nineteen
thirties, industrial designers began to make cars and other objects with
smooth, curving lines. Streamlining soon extended to furniture and other
objects for the house and office. The look became a sign of scientific progress
museum's permanent collection contains propaganda posters from the United
States and Europe. The bold images were made to capture the hearts and minds of
citizens. They tell stories of war, peace, industry, and politics.
About American Mosaic
Our listener question this week comes from China. Shen wants to know the meaning of "American
Mosaic," the name of this program.
We will begin with a little history.
Special English staff decided to broadcast a new radio magazine program in
nineteen eighty-five. We wanted a
special show for young people. We wanted
to report on American culture, answer questions from listeners and play popular
music. But we could not agree about what
to call the program. It was first
broadcast under a very simple and uninteresting name, "The Friday Program."
we turned to our listeners for help. We
announced a contest for listeners to send in suggestions for better names.
people won the contest. Listeners from
China and Egypt both suggested the same name: "American Mosaic." Mosaic is spelled m-o-s-a-i-c. The dictionary says that the word "mosaic"
means a picture or design that is made by placing small colored pieces
together. You can see colorful mosaics
in art and in designs on buildings.
chose the name "American Mosaic" because the purpose of the show is to create a
picture of life in the United States through many small stories. Each story is different, like the different
pieces of a mosaic. But together, they
form a complete picture. We hope
American Mosaic provides a complete and interesting picture of life in the
you have questions about life in America, we might be able to answer them on
this program. Send your questions to email@example.com. Or go to our Web site,
voaspecialenglish.com and click on Contact Us on the left side. Or write to
American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C.,
Whichever way you contact us, please include your full name and where
Singer and songwriter Jazmine Sullivan has a voice
unlike most popular young singers today.
Her voice is strong, edgy and emotional.
Her first album, "Fearless," was released recently. It has won her five Grammy nominations including
best new artist and best rhythm and blues album. Katherine Cole has more.
Sullivan uses imagination and storytelling to write songs. She wrote all the songs on her album
"Fearless." The songs describe many
deeply emotional situations. In the song
"Bust Your Windows" she sings about a lover who has treated her badly. Her hurt and anger results in property
Sullivan was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The twenty-one year old singer began
performing at a very young age. She went
on to perform at the city's popular Black Lily event. Black Lily is an organization that supports
women artists, especially musicians and filmmakers.
says when she was writing and recording songs for her album she knew she had to
develop her own style. She says she did not
know reggae music well, but was not afraid to try new musical styles. Her efforts made "Need U Bad" a hit song.
leave you with another song from Jazmine Sullivan's album "Fearless." Here she sings "Lions, Tigers and Bears."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Dana Demange, Lawan Davis and Caty
Weaver, who was also the producer. To read the text of this program and
download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special