Pet Portraits; Photographer Angelo Merendino; Artist Michelangelo Lovelace; Great Performances

First up, a story about an artist and his dog. James Ruby and "Smooch" are best friends. They've been through a lot together - ups and downs, good times, and bad. In fact, at one point, things got so bad that James nearly gave up on being an artist. And at the very moment where he needed inspiration the most, he got it - thanks to man's best friend.

It's often said that great art has the ability to inspire, motivate and move us. Since 1972, Great Performances, a showcase of music, theater and dance, seen on PBS affiliates, has been doing just that. On their 40th anniversary, we present a conversation with the Executive Producer of Great Performances, David Horn, who talks about the show's beginning, and discovering some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Losing loved ones is a part of life - there's no avoiding it. For Angelo Merendino, that dark time in his life happened in December 2011 when he lost the love of his life. His wife Jennifer passed away at the age of 40 after a long battle with cancer. As a way to cope with the tragedy unfolding before him, he did the only thing that he knew how to do: take pictures. The images can be seen in a book called, The Battle We Didn't Choose, My Wife's Battle With Breast Cancer.

The teenage years can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life. For artist Michelangelo Lovelace it was especially challenging. He grew up in a single parent household with five siblings in a neighborhood riddled with violence and crime. At 16, he turned to art as a way to speak out against things like drugs, poverty and crime. This year, Michelangelo became the recipient of a Creative Work Force Fellowship Grant, a program sponsored by The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.


James Ruby, Artist
David Horn, Executive Producer “Great Performances,"
Michelangelo Lovelace, Artist
Angelo Merendino, Photographer

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