“Ears On Art” began in earnest on April 1, 1999 with a half hour a month broadcast. Things have changed considerably since then. We have changed times and format, but the founding purpose has remained the same.
In the beginning there were four hosts: Bill Beeson, Karen Kile, Gail Johnson, and Crissa Hewitt. Our aim was to create a magazine format with at least three segments. Bill opened the program with a commentary based on the show’s theme. Gail closed the show with a five-minute arts calendar. One or two interviews rounded out the thirty minutes. I spent the majority of my time learning how to tape, edit, and put in the finishing touches so that the recorded program could be aired.
By 2002 the format had changed. Even a decade ago there was far too much information to create a comprehensive arts event calendar in five minutes. Bill continued to do the commentaries, but Gail and Karen discovered that the time commitment was more than they could easily give. The search was on for a co-host. Naida Simpson of Simpson-Heller Gallery in Cambria came aboard. When she, too, found the time requirements difficult for her schedule, Crissa went hunting and found Steven deLuque. This team has been steadily at work ever since.
Many years ago, the fun of going on location became apparent. There is real art to see, techniques to be demonstrated, and noises to record. There is the distraction of barking dogs, cawing crows, running water and light winds that, through a microphone, sound akin to a hurricane. However, on site visits, hands down, provide much more interest and intrigue than sitting in a padded sound studio.
The current format is that of a conversational interview. Although many of the programs feature county artists, gallery owners, and curators, others have been taped around the United States and in Italy. No doubt volunteering for an NPR affiliate has opened many doors. Out of area notables include Julia Child, Botero, Jerome Witkin, Bruce Beasley and Italian marble workers. Our many years of work on “Ears on Art” was more than we ever envisioned, but it has been truly interesting and enjoyable.