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: Michelle Kaptur, Matt O’Brien and Daniel Mollohan, Rene Magritte, & The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A long awaited cleaning reveals wonderful colors never seen before, a glassblower adds an emotional touch to her creations, a journalist and photographer come together to reveal the dark side of Vegas, and the ordinary becomes the extraordinary.

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Episode Highlights:

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Finally, for the first time in nearly half a century, the tapestries within the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts have been cleaned and restored. It was an exhaustive, seven month process, but the resulting splendor of these refurbished 16th century Flemish creations is more dazzling than ever imagined.

  • The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Michelle Kaptur

Michelle Kaptur creates her blown art glass in Bend Oregon. Michelle has been blowing glass since 1975, when she became the second woman in Oregon to take up the craft. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Pacific North West College of Arts in Portland Oregon, after which she spent 10 years learning the basics of glass-blowing.

Michelle then shifted artistic gears and spent several years painting, which “put together all the composition, color and design concepts I learned in school. When I came back to glass. I had a much stronger sense of the kinds of design choices I wanted to make and why. I feel my work became ‘my work’ after this.”

Michelle blew glass with Icefire Glassworks and Alder House before opening her own glass blowing studio, Glass Dancing in Bend Oregon in 1994. The first Soulbursts were made in 1994. In 2005 Michelle launched the SoulBursts website so that her cremation memorials would be available to a larger audience. Several galleries around the country feature Michelle’s art glass pieces and she is widely collected.

Matthew O’Brien and Daniel Mollohan

Matthew O’Brien is an author and journalist who’s lived in Las Vegas since 1997. His first book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, chronicles his adventures in the city’s underground flood channels. His second book, My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas, is a creative-nonfiction collection set in off-the-beaten-path Vegas. He’s the founder of Shine a Light, a community project that provides housing, drug counseling, and other services to the people living in the drains, and is currently enrolled in UNLV’s master of fine arts creative-writing program.

“From retracing a murderer’s escape route and learning how to make meth from a tunnel dweller to partying with naked crackheads and dancing under the MGM Grand, this photo-filled account proves that the only place more surreal than the Vegas Strip is beneath it.”


  • Beneath the Neon

    Photo by Daniel Mollohan

René Magritte

Belgian painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, photographer and film maker. He was one of the major figures of Surrealism and perhaps the greatest Belgian artist of the 20th century. His work, while lacking the drama of conventional stylistic development, continued to be admired during the later years of his life, in spite of changes in fashion, and can be said to have continued to grow in popularity and critical esteem after his death. (Oxford Press)

  • The Lovers, by RenĂ© Magritte. Wikipedia.

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