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State, region looking at impact to arts industry

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/12/2020 4:54:50 PM
Modified: 10/12/2020 4:54:38 PM

The NH State Council on the Arts recognizes the challenges that the arts sector has been forced to deal with since the coronavirus pandemic put just about everything on hold in March.

Over the last few weeks, the council has hosted Reopening #NHArts: Community Conversations, where representatives of New Hampshire-based arts and cultural organizations connect on Zoom for conversations about reopening their venues and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final online conversation on Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will include locals like David Macy of MacDowell in Peterborough, Karla Hostetler from the Mariposa Museum of World Cultures in Peterborough and Deborah Thurber, founder of Project Shakespeare in Jaffrey.

In August, the council on the Arts announced that 68 cultural organizations throughout the state were awarded grants through the Council’s N.H. CARES grant program. That includes $7,500 each for Andy’s Summer Playhouse, Monadnock Music and Peterborough Players, as well as $3,000 for Electric Earth Concerts, Music on Norway Pond, Monadnock Chorus and Raylynmor Opera, and $1,000 for Flying Gravity Circus and the Park Theatre.

In early October, the state announced that $12 million was allocated from the state’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds for a new relief program to target New Hampshire live performance venues. The deadline to apply is today.

“That’s going to be a such a huge boon for so many organizations,” said Jessica Gelter, executive director of Arts Alive!. “And there were some stop gap measures that helped out organizations over the summer. But the economic impact in the state will certainly be more than $12 million.”

And she, like all the local organizations, are waiting for the day when people can return to live entertainment.

“The arts is a beautiful way to connect with other people,” Gelter said.

Gelter said it has not been easy for the arts community in the region.

“What the performance sector is saying is we were the first to close and will be the last one to open,” Gelter said. “It’s the only way a lot of them can operate and when they do open, it may be at half capacity.”

And the loss of the arts can be felt by so many more than just the organizations that make up the local industry.

“Those arts places in our community bring people out, they drive spending, they are really important to the economic viability,” she said.

While Gelter was heartened by the way many groups made the switch to virtual to connect with audiences, she sees it as a way now to bring in some money.

For the council’s next community conversation visit this link.


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