Local groups receive arts grants

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/22/2021 11:31:08 AM

Local arts groups have been awarded grants from the New Hampshire Council on the Arts to help promote access to art-based activities and performances as part of its Arts for Community Engagement program.

“We use it to help grease the wheels, so to speak,” said Jonathan Bagg, the co-Artistic Director of Electric Earth Concerts in Peterborough, one of the recipients of the grant. “What we use them for is free public engagement.”

For Electric Earth, which received $5,100 this year, this means putting on concerts that people can attend without cost in the hopes that this kind of outreach inspires people to come back and learn more.

According to Bagg, Electric Earth tends to use these grants, which they have been receiving for several years now, to simply supplement their plans as they work on scheduling the next season. As of right now, the use of the funds is up in the air, but Bagg said that there are few potential uses to support their outreach.

They set up concerts outside of regular public ones at schools and libraries, Bagg said, in the hopes of drawing in children and other community members. And something that rose out of COVID-19 was broadcasting the sound of concerts outside of buildings to allow for passers-by to hear the music, and in case regular attendees were uncomfortable with being inside during the pandemic.

The outdoor broadcasts drew people who didn’t normally come to their concerts, Bagg said, and so they hope to continue that sort of programming in the next season for at least some of their concerts. 

“People who go to these might think, ‘Wow, I really like this,’ and end up buying tickets,” Bagg said, allowing them to reach more people.

Executive Director Roy Schlieben of the MAxT Makerspace in Peterborough said that their portion of the grant has a specific end goal.

“The purpose of the grant is to support education, specifically ceramics classes, that will be held at our new ceramics center in 2022,” he said. They received $4,525 in response to their application to apply the grant to offering free or low-cost community classes. 

The classes will be focused on young people and others “who don’t have an opportunity to try out ceramics or that sort of thing,” Schlieben said. “We want to be able to offer those classes for low cost, and we’ll have a roster of local artists who will be teaching them, and the grant will fund their time.”

This is part of a broader goal to expand how many people the Makerspace reaches with their programming, according to Schlieben. 

“We really want to reach those people who don’t get the opportunity to practice things they’re interested in or maybe don’t have exposure to yet,” Schlieben said. “So this grant really provides an opportunity to really reach people with our programming.”

Monadnock Music, based in Peterborough, has regular free concerts that this grant helps support, according to Executive Director Laina Barakat. They received about $6,000, she said, and the money partially goes toward their free village concerts in the summer, where they put on a rotating concert series through various towns.

“It’s excellent music, and it’s completely free and open to the public,” Barakat said. “Which is the mission of Monadnock Music. This is the heart of what we do because we’re all about making really quality music accessible to everybody.”

The other part of this is their education program, she said. It involves bringing musicians from all over the world into classrooms in the region and providing students with the opportunity to learn about music and instruments up close and personal.

The grant itself, Barakat said, holds significant meaning to the organization. “It’s exciting because it comes right from the state, and it’s a government grant, and that’s always reassuring from any nonprofit to have the local government behind your organization,” she said. “It really makes a big difference for us to be able to get sort of the stamp of approval from the state.”


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