Susan Stamberg

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now serves as guest host of NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday, in addition to reporting on cultural issues for Morning Edition.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence, and knack for finding an interesting story. Her interviewing has been called "fresh," "friendly, down-to-earth," and (by novelist E.L. Doctorow) "the closest thing to an enlightened humanist on the radio." Her thousands of interviews include conversations with Laura Bush, Billy Crystal, Rosa Parks, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Prior to joining NPR, she served as producer, program director, and general manager of NPR Member Station WAMU-FM/Washington, DC. Stamberg is the author of two books, and co-editor of a third. Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things, chronicles her two decades with NPR. Her first book, Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book, was published in 1982 by Pantheon. Stamberg also co-edited The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road, published in 1992 by W. W. Norton. That collection grew out of a series of stories Stamberg commissioned for Weekend Edition Sunday.

In addition to her Hall of Fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and duPont Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ohio State University's Golden Anniversary Director's Award, and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

A native of New York City, Stamberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College. She is a Fellow of Silliman College, Yale University, and has served on the boards of the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award Foundation and the National Arts Journalism Program based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Stamberg has hosted a number of series on PBS, moderated three Fred Rogers television specials for adults, served as commentator, guest or co-host on various commercial TV programs, and appeared as a narrator in performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her voice appeared on Broadway in the Wendy Wasserstein play An American Daughter.

Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1940s, Albert Paley played with blocks and Legos. And he loved wandering the streets, scavenging bottle caps, matchbook covers, cigar bands and "picking up pebbles that I thought were interesting," he recalls.

Now 70, the American sculptor has moved from pebbles to monumental gates. His iron and steel works adorn Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rochester, N.Y. His gates, archways and free-standing sculptures are eye-catching landmarks.

Pablo Picasso once said that the great 19th-century French painter Paul Cezanne was "the father of us all." Cezanne's distinctive brush strokes, and the way he distorted perspective and his subjects, influenced the cubists, and most artists who came after him. In Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation is showing a group of still-life paintings by Cezanne.

In 2009, Forbes rated designer Yves Saint Laurent the "Top-Earning Dead Celebrity" of the year. (Surely a bittersweet distinction.) Now, Saint Laurent's success — and how it was shaped and fed by his lover and manager Pierre Berge — is the subject of the new film Yves Saint Laurent. In it, their relationship is both interactive and supportive.

An artist friend, Virginia Isbell, once asked me to pose for a quick pastel sketch in her Paris studio. I was flattered — and amazed to be on that side of a work of art. Never have I been looked at so intently, except by a parent or a lover. I was being fixed, examined, absorbed. And, for all the intensity, there was absolutely nothing personal about it.

I was an object to be replicated. Her eyes went from my face to her sketchpad, my nose, my eyes, mouth, chin — sketched in pastel in 20 minutes. It was fun. But it felt as if something had been taken from me.

"Walk softly and carry a big fish" was one curator's take on a humorous self-portrait of a tall woman, holding an enormous yellow fish and a paintbrush, with a black cat lurking below.

Bay area artist Joan Brown's image is the first thing you see at a new National Portrait Gallery exhibition called "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction." Brown's painting, like so many in this Smithsonian show, is powerful and funny.

In her novel I Always Loved You, author Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas — a French artist known for his paintings of dancers — and Mary Cassatt — an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, "nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor's house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago," Oliveira says.

Plenty of collectors want to donate artworks to museums, but the museums don't always welcome them with open arms. "We say 'no thanks' 19 times out of 20," says Betsy Broun, director at the American Art Museum. Sometimes the works aren't museum-quality, other times they don't fit with the museums' philosophy.

With sleet, snow and freezing temperatures extending through March, the National Cherry Blossom Festival — which recently kicked off in Washington, D.C. — is decidedly less pink this year. In a few weeks the Tidal Basin will be ringed by rosy, pink blossoms, but until then, we traveled north to Boston, where a show at the Museum of Fine Arts called "Think Pink" explores the history and social impact of the color.

Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. Chinese ceramists churned these jars out with little care or attention; they stuffed tea leaves into them and shipped them off.

The jars were "the Chinese version of Tupperware," says Andrew Watsky, a professor of Japanese art history at Princeton.

You can listen to plenty of actors performing the works of William Shakespeare. But imagine if you could hear the voice of the young playwright himself — or the older one, for that matter — reading his own writing aloud.

Well, we can't take you back that far. But in the early 1960s, when recorded readings by authors were rare, a young couple in Boston decided to be literary audio pioneers.