WHYY's ArtWorks draws on performing and visual arts stories from its sister PBS stations to bring viewers a geographically diverse arts experience.

Featured Artists: Barbara and Larry Domsky, John Gurche, Fenix Dance and Drum and 12 Years a Slave

Discover the true story behind an academy-award winning biopic, meet a couple bound together by art, watch an artist bring the prehistoric age back to life, and see a performance troupe dancing to a different beat.

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Episode Highlights:

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a wronggully enslaved man who fought more than decade for freedom. The film, which won widespread critical acclaim and the Academy Award for best picture in 2014 was made possible by the research of late historian Sue Eakin. We spoke with Eakin’s son to learn more about the life and work of this esteemed scholar.

Barbara and Larry Domsky

Barbara and Larry Domsky have collaborated in business and life since their first meeting in 1990. Each coming from their own diverse artistic background, they blended their talents and experience as professional artists to form Domsky Glass. Experimenting with many techniques in glass working, they are self taught in the medium of hot-glass and fusion. Together they developed innovative techniques and a diverse style in glass and metal as an art form, producing sculpture which is collected throughout the Untied States and internationally. Within the Domsky’s 5,000 square foot studio, are three fully-equipped studios; two devoted to the creation of glass works (hot-glass and glass fusion) and the other dedicated to artistic metal fabrication. “Our approach with each commission and each client is always custom tailored to their needs. We consider and respect the space, lighting, budget, environment, style and audience of each job we design and create for. Our commitment to our clients begins with the first meeting and continues throughout the design, fabrication and installation process, and as needed thereafter. It is this respect to our clients and our craft that has allowed us to pursue our passion for creating and succeed as professional artists” The Domsky’s careers have included both large scale installations and gallery collections. Their fine art glass and artistic metal work is commissioned by private residence and corporations, throughout America and Internationally. Collections in Taiwan, China, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Africa, India, Australia, Mexico and through-out the United States.

John Gurche

Gurche Paleo-Art offers some of the finest images of prehistoric life currently available. John Gurche’s award winning work has appeared on the covers of National Geographic, Discover and Natural History Magazines and his work can be seen at the Smithsonian, the Field Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. His work on the reconstruction of human ancestors has been featured in television documentaries by National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and the BBC. He is well known for his work on the film “Jurassic Park” and for his paintings for the 1989 dinosaur stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

Of prime importance in this work are scientific accuracy and a high degree of realism that will transport the viewer in time. Gurche’s academic training is in paleontology and anthropology and his work is backed up with a number of ongoing research efforts, including studies in primate anatomy and of fossil collections around the world. His work focuses especially on human origins and on dinosaurs, but includes other ancient life as well.

  • John Gurche

Fenix Dance and Drum

Fenix Dance and Drum is a performing troupe specializing in dance and drumming from West Africa, the Congo and the Caribbean. This high energy multi-generational, multi-ethnic group highlights the richness and complexity of dance of the African Diaspora. Their dance journey begins in Africa then travels across the ocean to Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Brazil, and the Caribbean and on to the Americas.