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Looking for the Best in a Fresh Crop of Graduates From Art School


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our program this week:

We listen to music from the group Linkin Park …

Visit a show by recent art school graduates …

And report about the newest American coin.

Thomas Jefferson Dollar

Earlier this month, the United States Treasury Department released a new dollar coin. It is the third in a series that honors American Presidents. Steve Ember has more.

The new dollar coin honors Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president. The nation's first president, George Washington, was honored with a similar coin in February. A coin honoring second president John Adams appeared in May. And one honoring fourth president James Madison will follow in November.

Congress created the program in the Presidential Dollar Coin Act of two thousand five. It calls for the secretary of the treasury to design and produce presidential dollar coins honoring each president in the order in which they served. Four coins will be released each year.

The coins show the president and his years in office on one side. The other side shows the Statue of Liberty.

he presidential coins are the same size and color as the golden dollar coin that honors the American Indian guide, Sacagawea. That coin was introduced seven years ago, but has not been very popular with the American public.

Department of Treasury official Edmund Moy expects the presidential coins to be more popular. He told reporters the presidential coins have an educational value. They can teach the American public about past presidents. A study carried out last month found that the public does not really know much about the presidents.

Only about thirty percent of Americans could name Thomas Jefferson as the nation's third president. Ninety-four percent knew that George Washington was the first president. But only seven percent could name the first four presidents in order.

Mr. Moy says another coin series already is helping educate Americans about their country. That is the fifty-state quarter program.

Each twenty-five cent coin in that series honors an American state. The coins are released in the order in which each state became part of the United States.

Reports say more than one hundred forty million people in the United States are collecting those state quarters. They are learning about American history and geography at the same time.

Art Show

For three years, Irvine Contemporary gallery in Washington, D.C., has been holding an exhibit for recent art school graduates. This year's show is called "Introductions Three." A group of art collectors examined the work of over two hundred fifty artist graduates. They invited eleven of the best new artists to take part in this year's show. Barbara Klein has more.

When you walk into Irvine Contemporary, the first piece of work that catches your eye is a tall sculpture. It looks like a pale purple building that is sitting on several green and blue geometric forms. It is made from carefully cut pieces of paper. Lauren Clay made the artwork.

Near the sculpture are two of Ms. Clay's paintings. She uses bright colors to paint extraordinarily detailed geometric shapes. She explores combining a traditionally female look to very simple geometric objects by painting them in bright colors or by adding paper decorations.

Akemi Maegawa was born in Japan but now lives in Washington. Her sculpture is called "Wrapping Project-New Studio." It is a chair and table covered with many different kinds of tools and objects. All the objects are covered in pieces of white felt fabric.

Ms. Maegawa explores how the material changes common objects. For example, a sharp tool with shiny edges loses its threatening quality and becomes soft and rounded. Each object takes on a whole different form and role in her imaginary studio.

Katie Lewis' work, "A Year's Progression," is made up of four forms of a woman's body. The first two look like they are made from small dots drawn in pencil on the wall. But if you look closely, you can see that she has created the shape of the body by writing very small dates in pencil.

The other two forms are made up of sharp metal pins that stick into the wall. Ms. Lewis carefully wrapped thin pieces of thread up and around the many pins. The art serves as maps of sensation and the body's nervous system. The drawn forms represent the loss of feeling, while the pins show the presence of pain.

These are just a few of the interesting pieces in a show that brings the work of some of the best new artists to the nation's capital.

Linkin Park

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Burma. Cho The asks about the group Linkin Park. Linkin Park has become one of the most successful heavy metal bands in the United States.

Drummer Rob Bourdon, guitarist Brad Delson, and singer Mike Shinoda formed the band in nineteen ninety-six while they were in high school in southern California. After they graduated, they added Joe Hahn and Dave "Phoenix" Farrell. Three years later, singer Chester Bennington joined the group. The band took the name Linkin Park after Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, California.

The group joined with Warner Brother's Records. They released their first album, "Hybrid Theory," in two thousand. It was very successful around the world. "Hybrid Theory" sold over eight million copies in North America. It was the best-selling album of two thousand one in the United States. The group won the Grammy music award for best hard rock performance for this song, "Crawling."

Linkin Park's second album, "Meteora," was released in two thousand three. It was also very successful in the United States and was the number one hit in many countries. Experts say it is a mixture of the band's earlier sound with new effects and instruments. Here is the hit single "Somewhere I Belong."

Linkin Park postponed working on a new studio album for several years. Band members worked on different projects with other musicians. The band also performed in concerts to raise money for victims of hurricanes in the United States and the tsunami in Asia and for aid to Africa.

The group's third album, "Minutes to Midnight," was released in May. It sold six hundred thousand copies in the first week. We leave you with that album's first single, "What I've Done."

I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. It was written by Erin Braswell, Dana Demange and Nancy Steinbach. Mario Ritter was the producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

Send your questions about American life to mosaic@voanews.com. Please include your full name and mailing address. Or write to AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: Looking for the Best in a Fresh Crop of Graduates From Art School
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