KWIT
Ben Pratt
Ally Karsyn

Pop art painter Ben Pratt: Siouxland Public Media's Artist of the Month

If art only exists in a private studio and no one sees it, does it still make a sound? More often than not, art is created alone. Ben Pratt, a 30-year-old drafter and painter from Sioux City, works in solitude and silence with the exception of the occasional audiobook. “Very few people see my stuff on a regular basis.” Having his work on display in such a public space as the Sioux City Art Center forces him to shake hands and make small-talk with a bunch of strangers, which is about the last...

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A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years old. She'd had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter and was sent home with Percocet to relieve post-surgical pain. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and lay down on her bed.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh, my God. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?' " Morris recalls.

LeRoy Rodgers spends plenty of time in the Florida Everglades — mainly in airboats. He works for the South Florida Water Management District.

On a recent day, he eases his boat alongside a tree island. He doesn't like some of the changes he's seen, so he pulls a pair of clippers from a bag and hops over the side.

Rodgers will need the clippers to cut a path through the Old World climbing fern that has almost swallowed the island.

"A white-tailed deer trying to make your way through this," he says. "You can see how difficult it would be."

If you book a tour of old-fashioned Holland, the guide may take you to Volendam. It's a picturesque village north of Amsterdam, with cobblestone streets, tulips and a little old lady selling the local delicacy, smoked eels, from a kiosk at the end of the pier.

Volendam is a small but prosperous place, with waterfront homes and sailboats tied up at the docks. There's almost full employment, and very few immigrants. About a dozen people NPR stopped on the street all used the same words to describe their town: Hard-working. Traditional. A good place to raise kids.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Ode welcomes the new year with a night of true stories, told live at {be}Studio

Downtown Sioux City at 7 p.m. Friday, February 3. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The theme is “Be Moved: An ode to transitions and transformations.”

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