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ARTICULATE believes that art is for everyone, that creative expression is a basic human need, and that culture tells us who we are. As such, we approach artists as deep thinkers and doers who both reflect, and help shape, our understanding of the world. ARTICULATE with Jim Cotter; Stories from where life meets art.


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About Season 5

Journalist Jim Cotter explores the variety, quality and heritage of creativity in Philadelphia and beyond. Featuring a wide variety of artists from a diverse range of disciplines and locations, the series explores life through art, culture and creative expression.

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    Idealistic Icons

    Idealistic Icons.

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    Living Legacies

    The 90-year old graphic designer Milton Glaser has spent a lifetime creating iconic brand identities. Camille Brown is known for integrating African American social dance traditions into uniquely modern choreography. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe mines history to create her innovative experimental compositions.

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    No Frontiers

    The Carthy family has been at the vanguard of English folk for decades. The Israeli conceptual artist Oded Hirsch lives on the periphery- both philosophically and geographically. The rapper, singer and writer, Dessa Darling found peace with heartbreak, scientifically.

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    The world-renowned pianist, conductor and activist Daniel Barenboim is dedicated to making real change in the world through music. In the songs of Tift Merritt, the stuff of everyday life is ripe for the picking. For the interdisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya, creativity is at the heart of self-discovery.

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    Pioneering Spirits?

    Daniel Libeskind believes that architecture is, fundamentally, an act of optimism and of selflessness.
The composer Missy Mazzoli is a trailblazer- undeterred by obstacles, undaunted by the salacious.
For more than seven decades, the photographer Elliott Erwitt has been lauded for his humor and visual wit.

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    The Standouts

    Ani Liu melds art and science. Howard Jacobson is an unlikely pillar of English literature. Edgar Meyer innovates for the double bass.

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    Andrew Bird: Whistling While He Works

    For the last 20 years, talent has allowed Andrew Bird to mostly write his own ticket. Now, he’s coming up with some of his finest work yet. Join us for a full-length episode of Articulate featuring new music by Andrew Bird and personal insights into his far.

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    The Right Left Turns

    For the past 40 years, Arthur Yorinks has been the power behind the throne for many of America’s most significant artists. But his work stands on its own. Karen Russell’s stories live in a space between the everyday and the surreal. Jason deCaires Taylor’s greatest assets are underwater. All of his sculptures are entrusted to the oceans.

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    Seeking Deeper Truths

    Gregory Pardlo’s writing is informed both by his unconventional early life and his uncannily keen eye. If you’re looking for choreography that is as dense with emotion as it is with intense physicality, look no further than Sonya Tayeh. Bruce Adolphe believes that classical music has much to gain from other, far-reaching disciplines, including neuroscience!

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    Staying the Course

    Bill T. Jones has lived through tragedy and triumph to become an elder statesman of dance. A decade on, the British pop star Lily Allen is still as forthright as ever- in her lyrics and her personal life. When companies need help refining or defining their identity, they call Michael Bierut.

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    Self Inventors

    Thomas Heatherwick is the wunderkind of large-scale 21st century design. The writings of Alice McDermott uniquely express a particular form of Irish-American identity. For more than 4 decades, Dean Friedman has been reinventing himself creatively. But at heart, he’s still a singer-songwriter.

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    Of Page and Stage

    The works of playwright Sarah Ruhl rewrite history. Michelle Dorrance is an embodiment of the history of tap dance– a uniquely American art form. With his spindly, whimsical characters, illustrator Ralph Steadman created one of the most identifiable visual styles of the 20th century.

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    Patricia Racette Concert Show

    Patricia Racette: Enchanting the Muse On the next Articulate, we explore the life and art of Patricia Racette– a supremely talented singer and storyteller.

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    What Matters Most

    Marina Benjamin writes to parse the questions that loom largest in her life. It’s a self-examination, yes. But never self-obsession. Stefan Sagmeister has spent the past 40-odd years demonstrating how graphic design can make even the most abstract ideas tangible. Donald Nally, conductor of the groundbreaking chamber choir, The Crossing, wants audiences to listen, and think.

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    Self, Aside

    Self, Aside: Stephanie Blythe: Uncaged: One of the fastest rising stars in opera; Diana Al-Hadid: Excavating the Muse The story of Gradiva– a sculpture that came to life; (What’s So Funny About) Nick Lowe As a young singer-songwriter, Nick Lowe was preoccupied with looking cool and getting famous.

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    Through the Fire

    KT Tunstall: From the Ashes The Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall realized she was becoming a pop music cliché– on top, but unhappy.; Pam Tanowitz: Out of the Shadows Pam Tanowitz is among the finest choreographers in modern dance. Natasha Trethewey’s Redemption Natasha Trethewey coped with the tragedies of her young life by turning them into exceptional poetry.

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    The Incomparable

    Caroline Shaw is one of the most original new voices in contemporary music, who’s cooking up some very fine music across a wide swathe of genres.

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    The Headliners

    Aaron Sorkin’s Second Act - Aaron Sorkin is best known for his award-winning screenwriting- A Few Good Men, The West Wing, Moneyball, The Newsroom. But his first love is the theater. Rhiannon Giddens' Living History - Singer, instrumentalist and folk historian Rhiannon Giddens is on a musical mission, to remind us of what we all share. Regardless of who we are or where we're from.

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    Power Through Purpose

    John Darnielle: From Self-Destruction To Self-Construction; Darnielle has excelled as a front-man, songwriter and author; Elizabeth Acevedo’s Literary Realizations: As a grownup, Elizabeth Acevedo realized that the books she had needed as a child still didn’t exist; Meg Saligman: The Big Picture The scale of Meg Saligman’s murals is difficult to grasp close-up.

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    From The Top

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Illuminating Everything-Best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer writes to interrogate his own past, and all of our futures.; Nate Powell: Drawing on Experience-Superstar graphic novelist Nate Powell is known for beautifully rendered comics with a strong moral core; Gustavo Dudamel: Playing Nicely-Venezuelan-born conductor Gustavo Dudamel is on a mission to sew harmony.

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    Life's Work

    Perpetual Andrew Motion: Tori Marchiony profiles former U.K. Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion. He’s five decades in and still finding room to grow; Vijay Iyer-Key Changes: Among the most highly regarded jazz pianists of his time, Vijay Iyer has made his instrument of choice an instrument of discovery; Susan Choi-Interrogator of Truth: Susan Choi’s books reflect her skepticism of authority.

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    The Exceptionals

    Billy Collins: The People's Poet - Is one of the best-selling poets alive; Gemma New: In Name & In Nature - The conductor, Gemma New, has followed opportunity around the world; Ming Peiffer: Not A Usual Girl - Award-winning writer Ming Peiffer forges works for stage and screen that deconstruct her own observations and experiences of life today.

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    Beyond the Status Quo

    This Week: Esperanza Spalding's Discipline(s) Highly distinguished musician, Esperanza Spalding does more than just make music: Lee Child: Not "The Man" Lee Child left his former life behind to author and unlikely hero - Jack Reacher, a vagrant vigilante who reaps justice for the underdog; and Nick Phan: Forging Connection: The award-winning tenor, Nicholas Phan explores the world in song.

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    By the Horns

    Tod Williams and Billie Tsien: Made to Last - World-renowned architects united in vision and practice. Carmen Maria Machado: Claiming Her Space - Carmen is self-assured and outspoken, often turning a mirror not only on herself but on society’s unchallenged biases to create immersive fiction.

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    Elizabeth Strout: Steady As She Goes-author Elizabeth Strout, spent decades finessing her own unique narratives, often using her own upbringing as a touchstone; Pamela Frank: Fit As A Fiddle-celebrated violinist Pamela Frank was at the height of her career when she suffered a life-altering injury; The Very Moving Rennie Harris-pioneer of hip-hop dance theater, but it took a while...

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    The Roots of Creativity

    Maaza Mengiste: Writing Home - The award-winning author Maaza Mengiste writes of an Ethiopian home she left behind; Dick Boak’s Eclectic Adventures - Boak followed his instincts and created a role in the evolution of the Martin Guitar company; Nicola Benedetti: A Great Scot - Internationally renowned Scottish violinist was cast into the spotlight at age 16.

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