Leadership Greater Nashua
Arts and Culture Day
October 4, 2018
On October 4, 2018, the LGN Class of 2019 met at the Nashua Police Department and commenced with the first regular session of our LGN journey. Arts and Culture was the topic for October and our day began with Rod Conard as he continued his series on leadership theory and practice. The session started with a brief overview of our discussion from the retreat and then quickly dove into an opportunity for each class member to spotlight their company or organization. It was interesting to hear about the goals and challenges that our fellow classmates encounter with their organizations and it became clearer than ever that, regardless of the industry, there is a lot common ground among the organizations represented.
At the conclusion of Rod’s presentation, the class met Cecilia Ulibarri (City of Nashua Constituent Services and Cultural Affairs Coordinator), Dominique Boutaud (Artist), and Deepa Mangalat (Chair, Cultural Connections Committee) who spoke about the Greater Nashua cultural environment. They shared personal stories about how they emerged as cultural leaders. They continued the discussion by framing the state of diversity in Nashua. Deepa shared that immigrants to Nashua are often timid about integrating into the community but as efforts to promote diversity take hold, it becomes easier for them to come out of the shadows.
While all in attendance enjoyed a lunch from Bertucci’s, Tracy Hall (Chairman Nashua Arts Commission) and Lisa Bisonnette (Chairman City Arts Nashua) spoke on the state of arts in Greater Nashua. Tracy updated the class on the status of the effort to develop the former Alec’s Shoes into a performing arts center. The class participated with a host of questions and the dialogue was very engaging. Of particular interest was a creative economy study that Lisa spoke about. This study seeks to determine how the arts impact the economy through collateral spending that occurs with art events and programs.
Then, the class reconvened at 3 Pine Street where we met Gail Moriarty (Colibri Designs) and Mark Frank (Rennaissance Glassworks, Inc.). The class was captivated as Gail and Mark related how they established the Picker Collaborative Artists at this location within the last couple of years. Formerly housed at the Picker Building on Factory Street, the two established the Picker Collaborative Artists in its current location after renovating a century old railroad warehouse into its current format. Gail took the class on a tour of the building and introduced us to other artists working in photography, wood crafting, quilting, and other disciplines.
The class left Pine Street and headed to the Nashua Public Library where we met up with Marc Thayer (Symphony NH), Bridget Brazeau (Symphony NH), and Ruth Boland (League of NH Craftsman Gallery). This panel continued the discussion on the state of the arts in Greater Nashua as they shared the excitement and challenges that they are experiencing with their organizations. Marc shared how Symphony NH is expanding on their traditional classical symphony material and offering more contemporary music styles in their performances. Bridget added how Symphony NH is putting forth a tremendous effort to bring music from many different nations to their performances. Ruth shared her experiences as a gallery owner and how she is showcasing products made in New Hampshire. She highlighted some of the challenges of maintaining a business in the age of the internet and the challenges of a Main Street business.
With our walking shoes at the ready, the class joined Elaine Oulundsen and Karen Wolfe of the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium for a walking tour through downtown Nashua. The class had the good fortune to view nearly a dozen of the 33 sculptures that have been created and placed throughout Nashua. Elaine and Karen are extremely proud of their work with the symposium and they should be as Nashua is the only city in the United States that hosts an international sculpture symposium.
The walking tour was extremely interesting and included several murals that have been created by Manny Ramirez at Positive Street Art. In fact, the class had the good fortune of meeting Manny as he worked on a new mural off of Temple Street. The tour was a great opportunity to take pause and reflect on the incredible amount of talent and effort that have been put into maintaining an artistic presence in Nashua. The tour and the day ended back at the Nashua Public Library with a group picture in front of the sculpture Moon Shadow by Sculptor Mai Thu Van of Vietnam.