Portsmouth, NH

Contact Name
Nancy Pearson
Project Dates
Networking, Marketing
A program of Art-Speak, the Piscataqua Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA) is a member driven initiative whose primary mission is to serve and strengthen the Portsmouth area’s nonprofit arts, historical and cultural community by facilitating collaboration, coordination and communication.
Project Goals
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 of the alliance are to bring together the arts, cultural and historic community in the region in order to deepen the efforts in collaboration, communication and coordination.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
The program launched in September 2014, and the goals have not changed.
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 project partners are Art-Speak, the city of Portsmouth, and the members of PACA which include organizations, individual artists and business.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Strengthening the arts and cultural community is integral to the identity of the city of Portsmouth.
Project Specifics
Please list the steps taken to implement the project:
First, we held a community meeting with guest speakers from the Seacoast Early Learning Alliance to learn about forming an alliance. Then, we held a series of follow up community meetings over the next 18 months. Next, we formed a task force made up of individuals from across the arts and culture spectrum. We then applied for a grant through the NHCF to start up the program and called for charter members to match the grant. Finally, we wrote the business plan and formed a steering committee comprised of more individuals from the arts and culture community . The alliance officially launched in September and we have 30 members.
If the project steps changed over time, please describe how:
They have not.
What were your major obstacles for the completion of the project?
This had been tried before in Portsmouth more than once but it never stuck. The initiative was always the project of an individual, and when that individual moved on, the alliance dissolved. By making it a program under Art-Speak, we are confident the alliance will stay no matter if individuals come and go.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
The board of directors of Art-Speak drove the initiative.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Make sure there is need
Seek buy-in from the community from the start
Encourage participation from the community- don’t do it for them, do it with them.
Project Impact
How has this project strategically connected arts and cultural activities to social, economic, and cultural issues in your community? What is different in your community as a result of this project?
This is an initiative that has been tried again and again in our community, so although there was skepticism, the creative community is 100 percent behind it and fully engaged. As the steering committee tackles the long list of short and long term goals created by the members, the alliance will continue to grow as members experience the benefits of the alliance.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
The creative community has joined together to better communicate, collaborate and coordinate.
How did you measure this success or progress?
By the amount of members who have joined- that number continues to grow.
Please describe any unexpected impacts:
We did not anticipate that the private sector would send in membership dues- but they have, simply because they believe in the project and want to see it succeed.