News and Features

The High Five: Target Asks Customers To Leave Guns At Home After Texans Carry Rifles Into Stores

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Gun rights supporters have been carrying rifles into Target stores in North Texas and elsewhere. (Credit: Moms Demand Action)

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Target joins the list of companies asking customers to leave guns at home; the North Texas college student on an African animal hunt faces more criticism; Dallas County gets ready to welcome 2,000 immigrant children; and more.

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The Big Screen: Patriotic Movies For The 4th Of July

BigScreen_logoSMALLThe forecast for the 4th looks hot and humid. You could melt along a parade route or sweat it out over a hot grill. Or you could stay comfortably cool on the couch with a stack of movies. This week, we talk about three, let’s say, unconventionally patriotic picks: Avalon, Team America: World Police and Born on the Fourth of July.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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Flickr Photo Of The Week

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts

Flickr 600 post

Congratulations to Sara Elbayya of Virginia, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! This is the second time Sara has won our contest: her last win came in April. She follows last week’s winner, Cindy Higby.

If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took earlier than the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Monday to Sunday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Monday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through FlickrMail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Wednesday.


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The Big Deal: The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary Youth Ropes Course Adventure Day

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Local Events
Photo: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Trying to think of a way to get your kids off the game console, tablets, and phones and head outdoors instead?  Maybe have them stretch their little comfort zones and do something that builds confidence at the same time?  Then with the help of our friends at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, have we got a Big Deal for you! Sign up for a chance for you gamers to experience a real treetop Youth Ropes Course Adventure Day at The Heard in McKinney.

The Ropes Course offers a variety of experiential learning activities from low-course to high-course elements. Imagine your adventuresome twosome balancing on logs, swinging on ropes, or riding a 600-foot zipline. These activities provide an atmosphere for learning that help participants build self-esteem and efficacy. The next Adventure Day will be July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is recommended for children 7 through 14.

Have we got you in the mood for more adventure? Then sign you up for our other Big Deal this week – tickets to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park to catch the traveling exhibition The World’s Largest Dinosaurs.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to win a Youth Ropes Course Adventure Day at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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The Big Deal: The Perot Museum Of Nature And Science At Victory Park

Photo: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Photo: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

When the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park opened up a year and a half ago, did you tell the family you would take them downtown to check it out and somehow just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Perhaps, you’ve already visited the five-level museum but didn’t finish looking around and promised the family you would be back. Either way, we can help you keep your promise. Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets good for entry to the General Exhibit Halls AND admission to the traveling exhibition, The World’s Largest Dinosaurs. This super-size exhibition showcases the long neck, big foot lizards, the Sauropods. And even though these passes do not include entry to the Hoglund Theater you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to rest your feet and see one of the 3D movies currently playing there on butterflies, pandas or dinosaurs. Winners will have to exchange their passes at the Box Office for a timed admission ticket. Passes are good through Sept. 1, after that this travelling exhibition will be extinct.

If you need more exciting ideas to entertain the family, then sign up for our other Big Deal this week – a Youth Ropes Course Adventure Day for two at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to win passes to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park in Dallas.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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The High Five: The 12 Books Every Texan Needs To Read

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This is just one of the books that KERA listeners suggest Texans read to learn more about the Lone Star State.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A Cleburne college student is getting lots of criticism for her African animal hunt; Dallas Cowboys read mean tweets; a recap of the New Cities summit; and more.

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At The Amon Carter Museum, Rediscovering Archibald Motley, Pioneering African-American Artist


“Blues” All paintings, Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981)

Archibald J. Motley Jr. was a famous African American artist  in the 1920s. His work captured the spirit of the jazz age and continued into the R&B era of the ’60s. Yet, as his work fell into private hands, he was slowly forgotten.  The Amon Carter Museum of American Art is helping to change that with Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist.

Adler Maggie

Maggie Adler

Motley died in 1981, and this is the first major showing of his work in at least 20 years. Curated by art historian Richard J. Powell, the exhibition originated at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.  After Fort Worth, it travels to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Anne Bothwell chatted with  Maggie Adler, assistant curator at the Amon Carter, who helped shepherd the exhibition’s stop in Fort Worth.

Listen to the conversation that aired on KERA FM:



Self-Portrait (Myself at Work)

“Self Portrait (Myself At Work)”

Excerpts and extras from the conversation:

On why Motley’s still relevant…

He was born in 1891. If you think about all the cultural and social events that happened between 1891 and 1981, you get a microcosm of that period, from the Great Depression to Prohibition to the advent of jazz and beyond, to rhythm and blues,  as well as social developments.

Who he was….

He was born in New Orleans. With that Creole heritage, he had that jazz spirit imbued in him from childhood. He grew up in Chicago and he was one of the first African American artists to train at the Art Institute of Chicago.  So the art world of the 1920s recognized him for the great innovator that he was. It was only in subsequent generations when his works went into private hands that we lost his more public reputation.

It was African American artists in the ’60s and ’70s who were inspired by his works, who began to revive his reputation.  As well as his son, who was an archivist. It’s great, if you are an artist who’s fallen out of favor, to have an archivist son. That means that all the materials related to his life were preserved.

On how the same themes, such as music, change over the years….

There’s a painting from 1934 called “Barbecue.”  And then there’s a painting from the 1960s called “Barbecue.” It’s interesting to see how he’s taken the same scene and pushed it even further to the extreme. Motley is an artist of extremes, extreme color, extreme movement.

Figures in the 1934 “Barbecue” are somewhat politely engaging with each other.

motley barbecue1934


By the 1960s “Barbecue,” all the figures are just aflame with the colors of the hot coals.

And so you think about the difference between the ’30s and the ’60s and it’s represented in that progression.

Painting titled "Barbecue"by Archibald Motley, Jr. ; 1960



On why Paris and Mexico were important to Motley….

 Actually, one of the main themes of the exhibition is this idea that the Harlem Renaissance, this cultural flowering that we know as having happened in New York, really was happening all over the world. It’s said that the reason we call it the Harlem Renaisance is that Harlem is  where all the publishers were, and they got the word out.

But in fact, Paris and Mexico and Chicago were centers of Black cultural life and a blossoming of music and all of the arts. And so, Motley is trying to capture that.

On whether Motley’s “rediscovery” is part of something bigger….

What’s exciting to this generation of scholars is both the possibility of  organizing something that introduces people to a new artist, but also something that has greater thematic implications. And so Motley’s connection with music, with better understanding of cultural flowering in the ’20s thru the ’60s – because he had such a long career -is something that makes his work even more accessible and appealing.

There’s a generation of African American artists who recognize that Motley needed second, or further, consideration. It’s great when you can rediscover an artist who has been forgotten by history for the most part, and introduce a broad audience to his work. But also it’s the connecting fibers that make Motley so compelling as an artist today.

Some of Adler’s favorite pieces….

There are two portraits of his grandmother. Both are highly sympathetic. If you think about the way that African American people were portrayed in Motley’s time period, it’s really a statement about his closeness with his family and what you can achieve if you are really sensitive to your sitter.  So the portrait of his grandmother, in particular her hands, which are work-worn, and so difficult for a painter to achieve a great set of hands.  Her hands convey a lot about her as a sitter.

Painting titled "Portrait of My Grandmother"by Archibald J. Motley, Jr.; 1922

“Portrait of My Grandmother”

And then you get to Paris. His painting “Blues” (top of post)  is a pivot-point in his career, when he’s coming to terms with Josephine Baker and the rhythm and excitement of Paris. And so he’s populated his painting with lots of figures and lots of energy.

This is where this innovation in color starts to come about.

And then there’s a painting called  “Tongues: Holy Rollers” which is somewhat meant to be humorous. But it’s a pentecostal church service where people are feeling the spirit. You see people dancing and moving with enthusiasm. What’s amazing about Motley is how he shows the psychological import  with just a few strokes of paint.

Tongues (Holy Rollers)

“Tongues (Holy Rollers)”


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Art&Seek Jr: Our Fourth of July Megalist

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Fourth of July is one of those days that seems to stuffed to the gills with fun stuff to do. From picnics to parades, to food and fireworks, it can make your head spin with all the possibilities. Of course, the down side to all the those choices is exactly that–how do you choose?

Relax, Art&Seek has done all the hard work for you and complied a Megalist of Fourth of July fun to make the choosing a breeze. Here are a few highlights that definitely stand out.  Read More »

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Billy Porterfield, Longtime Texas Journalist and KERA Producer, Dies at 81.

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bill_porterfieldBilly Porterfield, a longtime Texas journalist and author, died Sunday. He spent several years at KERA-TV.

Porterfield of Wimberley was 81. He had Alzheimer’s disease, according to a message on his website.

In 1969, Porterfield joined KERA as a commentator on “Newsroom,” the station’s nightly news program. He worked with Jim Lehrer, who was the program’s original host. When Lehrer joined PBS, Porterfield became executive producer. He also produced public television documentaries. (Scroll down for video of Porterfield on a 1974 edition of “Newsroom.”)

In 1978, Porterfield joined the Dallas Times Herald as a columnist. In 1985, he worked for the Austin American-Statesman as a columnist.

His worked appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and Texas Monthly, among other publications. He also taught at Southern Methodist University.

His books included LBJ Country, A Loose Herd of Texans and The Greatest Honky-Tonks in Texas.

His website states:

In 2010, Porterfield donated his archives to the Southwestern Writers Collection, a part of the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.  The cataloged Porterfield archives comprise approximately 35 boxes and include clippings, correspondence, and manuscripts for all of his major books, numerous photographs, and other memorabilia.

Porterfield described the decision to turn over his archives to the Wittliff Collections as a homecoming of sorts, noting that he and his brother Bobby went to San Marcos in 1952 to attend what was then Southwest Texas Teachers College (Texas State University). His first job in journalism was as a staff writer at the College Star.

Survivors include his wife, Diane Barnard Porterfield; children Erin Porterfield of Tyler; Winton Porterfield of San Marcos; Oren Porterfield of Austin; Meredith Roach of Austin and Nashu Barnard of Haslet.

A memorial service will be held later this summer.

Explore Porterfield’s career and work at his website.

Watch Porterfield in this 1974 edition of KERA’s “Newsroom” with Lee Cullum:

Here’s Porterfield’s obituary on, via the Austin American-Statesman.

Read Porterfield’s obituary on his website.

Read Porterfield’s obituary in the Austin American-Statesman (registration required).

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The High Five: 1950s SMU Film Shows Mysterious Texas Baton Twirlers

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let it go duet

Billy Green and 3-year-old Blakely sang the hit song from the movie “Frozen” – and it’s been viewed 5 million times. Credit: YouTube

Five stories that have North Texas talking: guns are playing a bigger role in political campaigns; Dallas police investigate graffiti as hate crimes; the hunt is on for some mystery Texas twirlers; and more.

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