NEST program impacts regional arts ecosystem

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $22,633 in NEST grants to 11 regional nonprofits to support performances and community activities by New England-based performing artists.

The NEST (New England States Touring) program strives to support the artistic excellence and diversity of the region through well-planned projects that encourage community interaction.  A key criteria is that the performing artist must come from outside of the nonprofit’s state, further supporting the artist’s development and the regional economy.  NEST deadlines occur quarterly and support up to 50% of the artists’ fees.  Decisions are made by a panel of advisors with representation from each of the New England state arts councils.

“It’s exciting to see the depth of engagement between the New England artists and communities supported by NEST,” said program manager Adrienne Petrillo. “The impact of these grants can continue long after the engagement – through the artist’s development, the community’s increased commitment to the arts, and connecting both to other opportunities at NEFA and their State Arts Agency.”

The grantees from the recent round received grants ranging from $400-$4,000 to support the following projects:

  • Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire  (Littleton, NH):  World-music percussionist and teaching artist Shamou (Portland, ME) will spend six days in November, 2014, in northern New Hampshire schools and community sites, offering assemblies, lecture-demonstrations and workshops as well as two solo community performances, and a culminating concert with his World Music ensemble, Loopin. Goals of the residency will be to introduce audiences of all ages to Middle Eastern and world rhythms, with a focus on global connections and understanding.
  • Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire (Littleton, NH):  In celebration of Music in the Schools Month, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire will host a six-day North Country residency with the Asylum Quartet (Hartford, CT), four young, classically trained saxophonists who have been lauded by critics for their nonstop virtuoso skills. The quartet will play everything from lush classical works, minimalism, and modernism to indie rock, world music and klezmer. Asylum will perform for all ages in both traditional and nontraditional performance spaces.
  • Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire (Littleton, NH):  The Arts Alliance presents an eight-day residency with Burlington Taiko (Burlington, VT) which will include two community concerts with members of the troupe and a series of presentations, workshops, and community events with Sensei Stuart Paton. This regional residency will bring the excitement of taiko and a deeper understanding of Japanese culture to rural audiences throughout the North Country.
  • Burlington Book Festival (Williston, VT): The Festival presents New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel's (Aceworth, NH) headlining appearance at the Queen City's 10th annual celebration of the written word. This year's festival will take place September 19-21 in a variety of downtown venues and, once again, feature literary luminaries from around the world and just around the corner. The three days will include readings, panels, musical performances, workshops, exhibits, demos, original theater, family activities and other special events offered free to the public.
  • Common Fence Music (Middletown, RI): Common Fence Music will offer an eight week African drumming program for the Newport County Boys and Girls Club. The goals of the program are to give the youth a culturally relevant musical interactive experience within a percussion ensemble with a master drumming teacher and to provide an opportunity for self and social development through participation in a drum circle. The drumming will be led by Tony Fonseca of All Hands Drumming (Randolph, MA).
  • Mayo Street Arts (Portland, ME): Spybird Theater (Brattleboro, VT) will perform two live performances of the puppet theater show Egg Noir and provide a talk back after the first performance for audience members. The talk back will be for audience members who are local puppeteers and art students from two local universities.
  • Portland Ovations (Portland, ME): On March 28, 2015, Portland Ovations presents the esteemed Boston Camerata (Boston, MA) in their program The Sacred Bridge. Also featuring the Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble, the program is an exploration of the shared musical roots of three major monotheistic religions. As part of their first performance with Ovations in 15 years, the artists will participate in a contextual pre-performance lecture as well as a post-performance reception.
  • Puppet Showplace Theater (Brookline, MA): Puppet Showplace Theater will present Puppetkabob Productions’ (Georgia, VT) enchanting production What the Moon Saw as the opening performance of the annual Fall Fairy Tale Festival. Last presented in 2001, the show is being rebuilt and rewritten as a highlight of the 40th anniversary season. The show will play for family audiences in an extended two week run, with 10 performances at both matinee and evening show times. Exhibits, post show demonstrations, puppet making activities, and a marionette workshop will also be part of the residency.
  • Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College (Keen, NH): Back by popular demand, Boston's Alloy Orchestra (Cambridge, MA) returns to Keene on Halloween with one of the scariest and most influential horror films of all time, the 1925 Lon Chaney classic, the Phantom of the Opera. Thrashing and grinding soulful music from unlikely sources, the three-man musical ensemble Alloy Orchestra works with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects to achieve a brand of silent film accompaniment unmatched by anyone else on the planet. The ensemble will offer a free workshop on the making of the film and music composition.
  • West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (Claremont, NH): Claremont, NH is in the midst of celebrating its 250th year. The West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts will host Castlebay (Round Pond, ME) to present a songwriting workshop for local children. Prior to the workshop, the children will research Claremont’s history, and with Castlebay’s help, three classes will each write a song about the city which will be performed, along with a concert by Castlebay, during Claremont’s birthday festival on September 20, 2014.
  • West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (Claremont, NH): This project with Burlington Taiko (Burlington, VT) will offer a series of workshops over three days. There will be a mix of components offered in the schools and to the general public. The project kicks off with a public workshop and performance at the Claremont Farmers' Market. School programs will include sessions for elementary, high school, after-school program, and home schooled students. A workshop will also be offered to the general public.

About NEST

The New England States Touring (NEST) program provides support to New England-based nonprofit organizations for performances and activities by New England performing artists listed on the CreativeGround directory. NEST is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

About NEFA

NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a nonprofit that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies.

NEFA’s work is accomplished through grantmaking, services, and initiatives which strengthen and advance the national arts infrastructure. For more information, please visit or call 617.951.0010.


CONTACT: Ann Wicks | 617.951.0010 x534

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