Around the Nation Roundup

BY Tom LeGro  March 19, 2010 at 2:17 PM EDT

Here’s a selection of art and culture reports from local public broadcasting stations and national producers.

whyy-muralpainter.jpg – A mural will soon fill a blank wall in Philadelphia. But the painters aren’t hired artists; they’re recovering addicts working on the project as part of their therapy.

“When people come to the basement of this methadone clinic and start painting, they are doing something creative. It gives them an outlet. It gives them new skills. They are working together. And it gives them a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment,” WHYY behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott told “Morning Edition” host Jo Ann Allen.

Find audio interviews with artists and organizers on the WHYY site, along with photos and videos of the mural in progress.

- This weekend PBS celebrates Fred Rogers’ birthday on March 20 with “Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day.” To mark the event, fans voted on their favorite episode and the viewers’ choice went to “Pets and Birthdays.” If you haven’t seen “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in a while, you can watch full episodes and rare, never before seen clips at PBS.org.

- WNET is now offering full episodes of the environmental film series ‘Our Vanishing Wilderness.’ Filmed more than 40 years ago, the landmark eight-part series documented pressing pollution and environmental issues and predated the first Earth Day.

- Even after cutting hours because of declining attendance and lost revenue, Seattle Art Museum hopes to attract plenty of visitors in October for a major exhibition of Pablo Picasso masterpieces.

“It’s a challenging time, and yet we want to continue to be as ambitious as we can. And I think that’s what our visitors want too,” curator Chiyo Ishikwa told public radio station KPLU.

- The San Diego Opera is bringing French composer Charles Gounod’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to audiences for the first time since 1998. The husband and wife duo playing the title roles explain in an interview with KPBS’ ‘These Days’ the adaptation follows the familiar story line fairly closely and how their real-life marriage adds to their stage chemistry. Also during the interview, listen to Ailyn Perez perform “Juliet’s Waltz.”