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The Avenue to the Arts

Caribbean social dancing. Jazz guitar. Banjo music. The intricacies of fabric. Ancient Japanese tea rituals. Historic archeological findings from George and Martha Washington���s Philadelphia house. Handel���s Messiah. Hip H���opera.

The list goes on. WHYY���s Arts and Culture Service is about making intimate experiences from the many cultural treasures of the world that might otherwise seem vast and far away, whether on the other side of town or on the other side of the globe.

The YArts van Production Team

During the last year, WHYY made great strides in this area, and Y ARTS, our dedicated 24/7 Arts and Culture digital television channel is a perfect example. Launched in 2006, Y ARTS was enhanced this past year with the acquisition of the Y ARTS Van, providing us with a mobile, robotic expansion of our capacity to produce and broadcast local video content for our programming schedule. Our sources for content also continue to grow thanks to a series of partnerships with institutions such as the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, regional colleges and universities, the Kimmel Center���s Perelman Theater, the National Constitution Center and many others.

Producer Hugh Haynie inside the YArts van

Early on in fiscal ���07, we addressed the controversial, potential sale of Thomas Eakins: The Gross Clinic with an array of programming. As part of that effort, we introduced The Sixth Square, WHYY���s Arts and Culture service blog. From Philly@Sundance and Jane Johnson Day to theater reviews and more, The Sixth Square continues to provide an ongoing conversation on the issues and insights that are impacting the arts right now.

On Experience, our series of short video features, WHYY showcased the region���s premier talent and cultural riches, including the Fabric Workshop, Jazz Guitar, the Centennial District in Fairmount Park, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and Penn Museum���s Egyptologist David Silverman. Our producers also followed closely the President���s House story, providing the latest information on archeological finds at George and Martha Washington���s house at 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. (The installation of a live web cam at the site and a web page at depicted the ongoing work there in real time for online visitors around the world.)

Students of the Curtis Institute of Music, musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra and music director Christoph Eschenbach took to the small screen when WHYY presented to PBS the national broadcast of A Wayfarer���s Journey: Listening to Mahler. This new, 90-minute documentary was presented by WHYY in conjunction with independent producer Ruth Yorkin Drazen.

It���s one thing to provide access to all of these treasures. It���s another to provide meaningful support. At WHYY, we strive to do both. So last year, we hosted a workshop on Old and New Media: Finding the On-Ramp, attended by more than 125 representatives of the region���s arts and culture institutions.