Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > PBS Arts Summer Festival premieres June 29

PBS Arts Summer Festival premieres June 29

Posted 28 Jun 2012

The PBS Arts Summer Festival expands the scope and diversity of the arts on television with a multi-part, weekly series and new, original online content that take viewers across the country and around the world. Award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith ("Nurse Jackie," "The West Wing") will serve as weekly host for the festival.

The Summer Arts Festival lineup – part of PBS’ ongoing commitment to arts content on air and online – features films that celebrate the contributions of independent filmmakers, including a behind-the-scenes profile of actor/playwright John Leguizamo, a film that chronicles a year in the life of talented teenage Mariachi musicians, a look at priceless museum collections and a concert documentary profiling a world-renowned mezzo-soprano. 

The festival explores international arts, including a historic concert by four Cuban music greats and an exploration of Islamic art narrated by acclaimed actress Susan Sarandon.

"In the last broadcast season, more than a quarter of all U.S. households tuned into our PBS arts programming, including millions who connected to the arts through the PBS Arts Fall Festival," PBS President Paula Kerger said. "The Summer Arts Festival is an extension of our year-round commitment to arts programming, which viewers can enjoy every Friday night on PBS."

The PBS Arts Summer Festival takes viewers on an exploration of nearly 20 cities around the globe, offering an in-depth look at music, theater, art, architecture and cultural history from some of the world’s most unique locations. In addition, PBS stations will be able to insert local content highlighting the arts scene in their markets.

The PBS Arts Summer Festival, airing on Friday nights at 9, includes:

PBS Arts online includes content created specifically for, designed to complement the broadcast programs and to draw viewers with new original content. The acclaimed "Off Book" series of short documentaries covers art outside the mainstream and is currently in its second season.

"AETN Presents" features a variety of arts and cultural subjects and encompasses the series "On the Same Page" and "On the Front Row." Previously included in the series have been performances by the Cate Brothers, Trout Fishing in America, 3 Penny Acre, Dale Hawkins, The Claudia Burson Trio, The Salty Dogs and Epiphany; and authors Buzz Bissinger, Wells Tower, Billy Collins, John T. Edge and Kenneth L. Smith.

More information on AETN Arts Fridays and the PBS Summer Arts Festival, including previews, are available at and More information about "AETN Presents" is available at