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Viewpoints: Realizing the value of arts in the Monadnock Region 

Published: 8/9/2019 1:13:20 PM

Tuesday, we bring together Director of NH Council on the Arts Virginia Lupi, MacDowell Colony Director David Macy, Arts Alive Director Jessica Gelter, and Glass Museum co-founder Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne to open a crucial discussion: How can we best realize the economic and cultural value of arts to the Monadnock Region, now that we are losing one of our major players?

When my husband and I first moved to the region in 1984, we quickly were awakened to its long cultural history. We were tenants of Mary McNaught, Duffy Monahon’s mother, at her farm on 4 Winds Road. Her converted barn, we learned, was where world-famous singer/actor Paul Robeson starred in Othello. It was in the 1920’s, when Mary was a teen; a black person playing Shakespeare was unheard of in the US, even when the character was a Moor.

Such star-studded stories abound here, about Samuel Clemens, Bette Davis and Thornton Wilder, to name a few. There are all the MacDowell fellows, Folkway musicians, Lyceum speakers, Arts Colony painters, Players actors, Andy’s directors … The list is literally endless because it continues to grow.

Sharon Arts has been part of that cultural heritage. Founded in 1946, it has served as an artists’ workshop, retreat, gallery and resource for over seven decades. It will be missed.

Next Tuesday evening, we will discuss what arts institutions bring to our community. We will ask ourselves, what would this region be without such institutions? And we will look to the future and brainstorm what we can do to promote and increase support for this valuable sector. For with the closing of every door, another door opens. Our Community Conversation opens at 7pm, August 13 in Bass Hall of the Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough. Please join us.

Jeanne Dietsch is a Democratic member of the New Hampshire Senate, representing the 9th District since 2018. She is to be the moderator for next week’s Community Conversations.


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