Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:
Play recordings by musicians honored at a recent African American awards ceremony ...
Answer a question about Yosemite National Park ...
And visit a new museum of folk art.
Folk Art Museum
A new museum opened recently in New York City. It is called the American Folk Art Museum. Shep O’Neal tells us about it.
The new museum provides a permanent home for American folk art. Folk art includes traditional objects that people made to use in their homes during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They created these objects to be beautiful as well as useful. Folk art also includes the work of self-taught artists who were not trained in art schools.
The new American Folk Art Museum is an unusual modern metal building on West Fifty-Third Street. The building is tall and narrow. A special show celebrates the opening of the museum. It is called “American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum.”
Ralph Esmerian is an official of the Folk Art Museum. He gave four-hundred pieces from his private collection to the museum. They include paintings, clay containers, cloth needlework pieces and painted household objects of the past two-hundred years.
The objects were made by famous artists and unknown artists -- sailors and farmers and schoolgirls. Many of the pieces are well-known examples of American folk art. Some are serious pieces. Others are fun to look at and make the visitor smile. One of the well-known paintings is called “The Peaceable Kingdom” by Edward Hicks. He painted it around Eighteen-Forty-Six. The painting shows many kinds of animals, including a lion and a lamb, living together in peace. He got this idea from the Christian holy book, the Bible.
Visitors to the Folk Art Museum can see many unusual metal or wood sculptures that are fun to look at. For example, weathervanes are made to turn to show the way the wind is blowing. One metal weathervane is shaped like the famous Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.
People made other sculptures in the Eighteen-Hundreds to help sell products or services. One of them is a two-meter tall wooden statue of a man in a red, white and blue painted suit. It is called “Dapper Dan.” It stood outside a place where men got their hair cut.
The director of the new folk art museum is Gerard Wertkin. He says folk art is the art of American culture. He says folk art can help people remember the American spirit of creativity and democracy.
Yosemite National Park
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Japan. Nori Wada asks about Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park is a large wild area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the state of California. It extends over more than three-hundred-thousand hectares of land. It has more than one-thousand kilometers of paths. Most lead to an area of lakes and mountains known as the High Sierra.
More than sixty kinds of animals and two-hundred kinds of birds live there. Yosemite also has more than one-thousand kinds of plants and thirty kinds of trees. It is one of the few places to see the famous Sequoia Trees. One of these is called the Grizzly Giant Tree. This tree measures more than ten meters around at the ground. The Sequoia trees are among the oldest living things on Earth.
More than three-million people visited Yosemite National Park last year. Some camped in the park. They stayed overnight in tents – temporary cloth shelters. Others stayed at costly hotels in the park. Everyone was there to enjoy the park’s natural beauty.
Much of that natural beauty is in the Yosemite Valley, at a height of more than one-thousand meters. Water and ice created the valley millions of years ago. Today, many waterfalls flow through it. One of the most famous is Bridalveil Falls. It is often the first waterfall that visitors see as they enter the park. In the spring, the water hitting the rocks produces a great sound like thunder. Another famous waterfall is Horsetail Falls. It sometimes appears to be on fire when the water shows the orange color of sunset.
Yosemite is also known for its rock formations. One is called the Half Dome. It rises almost three-thousand meters from the floor of the Yosemite Valley. At an area called Glacier Point, visitors can look down more than nine-hundred meters into the valley. The highest point in the valley is called Cloud’s Rest, three-thousand meters about the valley floor.
Margaret and Robert Lebonitte and their three children visited Yosemite National Park a few years ago. They visited Cloud’s Rest, Glacier Point and many waterfalls during a nine-hour bus trip through the park. Missus Lebonitte says her favorite experience was sitting in the middle of a group of huge Giant Sequoia trees and enjoying the silence of nature.
The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters represents the interests of African American owners of radio and television stations in the United States. Their goal is to increase the number of African American owners in the American broadcasting industry. The group is known as NABOB.
It recently held a ceremony in Washington, D-C, to honor some of the most famous people in the entertainment and broadcasting industries. Among them were the rhythm and blues group the Isley Brothers, popular singer Janet Jackson and radio station owner Cathy Hughes. They were recognized for being successful and for helping others in the black community. Mary Tillotson has more.
NABOB presented blues musician Bo Diddley with the Pioneer in Entertainment Award. He was honored for his influence on rock, blues, jazz and popular music. Here is one of Bo Diddley’s hits, “I’m a Man”.
((CUT 1: I’M A MAN))
Opera singer Leontyne Price was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Leontyne Price has continued the struggle to help other black opera singers become successful. She performed one of her most famous songs from George Gershwin’s musical production “Porgy and Bess.” The song is “Summertime.”
((CUT 2: SUMMERTIME))
Patti LaBelle sang some of her greatest hits at the NABOB awards ceremony. She is known for her energetic live performances. Here, she sings the song “Lady Marmalade” with the group Labelle.
((CUT 3: LADY MARMALADE))
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC—VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Shelley Gollust, Cynthia Kirk and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynam. And our producer was Paul Thompson.