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 initial goal to was to develop an intimate performing arts venue to replace a former performing arts venue that closed in 2004. The loss of this venue meant that one defining criteria for productions was the need to cover expenses for the only other venues available in the community (800+ seating). The financial implications meant that up and coming artists/organizations had very little opportunity to produce original works or to practice their craft with more than occasional frequency. Other considerations included:
Affordable/family friendly prices.
Innovative, artist driven programming that is community oriented.
Collaborative opportunities for artists.
Foster new and original works with feedback opportunities from audiences.
Flexibility of space to feature multiple performing arts as well as new media: theatre, music, comedy, magic, dance, spoken word, live podcast recordings, etc.
Gallery space for visual artists.
Membership opportunities for richer community support.
Develop strategic partnerships with other arts organizations in the community with an emphasis on collaborative projects.
After the venue was established, the goal shifted to awareness and development of the venue as an ongoing cooperative performing arts space. While there are other performing arts venues, two of them are of a scale that does not lend itself well financially or logistically to an intimate performance experience and the third is associated with a community music school with limited opportunity for performing artists not focused on recital work.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
Over a period of five years, many venues and business models were reviewed. Just before papers were signed on a 1,200 sq. ft. space, an alternative venue became available and the decision was made to relocate efforts in a very short turnaround (seven days). We expanded the performing arts focus from theatre to all live performance arts and adjusted the schedule accordingly. We also expanded to visual arts through our "gallery walls" that feature monthly exhibitions of local visual artists and facilitate the sales of their work.
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):
Andrew Pinard, Founder & Executive Director.
Kevin Barrett, Initial Support, Programming & Publicity. Provides programming, box office and publicity support.
Matt Potter, Initial Support, Podcast/Web/Performance support. Sweat equity, organized online effort for both awareness and fundraising.
Meredith Potter, Community Resource. Box office/logistical resource.
Pearl Aznive, Facility Liaison. Interfaced with the ownership of the Steeplegate Mall to arrange for viewings and ultimate lease agreement.
Tim Sink, Concord Chamber of Commerce. Provides community support and feedback.
Barbara Newton, Adviser, The Players' Ring, Portsmouth, NH. Provided example for business model and serves as a continuing resource.
Van McLeod, Cultural Commissioner, State of New Hampshire. Provided advice and sounding board for development.
Ginnie Lupi, Director, NH State Council on the Arts. Continuing resource.
Doris Ballard, ConcordTV. Local public access television station with ties to the local high school.
Ryan Linehan, Kimball Jenkins Estate/School of Art. Cooperative cross promotional opportunies, collaborative projects, additional space resource for rehearsals, offsite performances.
Clint Klose, Concord High School/Concord Regional Technical Center. High School Theatre Director, creator of the Technical Theater program.
John DeGange, DeGange Sound. Technical support and resource in sound/AV development of the space. Continuing support.
Provide opportunities for students to have practical experience in an alternative space unlike their current facilities.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Support was provided through the local Chamber of Commerce Creative Community Committee as well as private individuals. The Heights/Loudon Road area is under development with new traffic/road development in the coming years. The venue was sited in an area of the city that has not previously had a live performing arts venue and is helping to redevelop an area of the city that has seen an increase in housing, refugee settlement and senior living centers.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
The Players' Ring in Portsmouth, NH and thousands of small performing arts venues I have had the privilege of working in.