What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The goals for the annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium are:
• to create everyday art, by creating outdoor, public art
• to engage the community in the process of creating public art
• to generate enthusiasm for art
• to increase the number of people who identify Nashua as a unique and special place
The desired outcome of this Symposium is to increase the community’s appreciation for and the awareness of art everyday. City Arts Nashua advances arts as part of a healthy community. Studies have shown that art, as part of public spaces, increases peoples’ feeling of a positive quality of life in their community and increases the value of rents in an area. The Symposium sculptures are part of everyday living in Nashua. Rather than going to a gallery or a museum to appreciate art, the 18 sculptures generated by our symposiums are in neighborhoods, in the downtown business district, at City Hall, at public schools, and parks in Nashua for all residents to visit, touch, and enjoy at any time.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
The goals have not changed over time. The implementation has been fine tuned.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
The Symposium is truly a community project. The sculptors work in space donated by Ultima NIMCO, a company in the Millyard. During the three week visit, the artists stay with host families within the community. Each workday lunch and dinner are donated by members of the community - residents and restaurants. In 2014 over 21 different organizations and individuals brought meals and shared them with the artists. The artists give talks at the public schools, the artists’ studio is open to the public the entire three weeks, and the artists participate in a variety of other community events. This year over 100 people came to the Opening Reception, co-hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Nashua, to welcome our artists. At the May 31st Closing this year, over 100 people boarded two City trolleys and trekked to each sculpture to hear the artists talk about their work and to have Mayor Lozeau dedicate the sculptures to the people of the City of Nashua.
The Symposium committee, comprised of volunteers, organizes the Symposium, holds fundraisers, compiles a yearbook, solicits sponsorships, writes grant proposals, and all the other work needed for a successful Symposium.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
The City of Nashua has a thriving arts community, which is not as visible as it could and should be. Five years ago Mayor Lozeau constituted the Nashua Arts Commission to help City government focus more on the arts. The Arts Commission recently finished the Arts and Cultural Plan, which is in review by the Board of Aldermen. The Board of Aldermen recently introduced legislation to build a performing arts center. Discussions, meetings and workshops are now underway to develop and understand the details of such a proposal. The City is recognizing the importance of arts and culture to be viable and vital, and is taking steps in the right direction.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
Although not common in the US, sculpture symposia area held throughout the world, in particular in Europe and Asia. John Weidman, a sculptor who lives in Brookline NH, has participated in many international symposia. When John became the Director of Andres Institute of Art 15 or 20 years ago, he began an annual Symposium at Andres. It was John's idea to also have an annual symposium in Nashua. He sold the idea to Meri Goyette, a prominent arts enthusiast in Nashua, who was able to bring the idea to reality.