A step closer to a "Park for the Arts"
Opera North will receive $150,000 to renovate the Charles Beaman home to serve as the base for a new summer festival for the performing and visual arts at the Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish NH. The grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission was announced by director Evans Haile at last night's opening of Madama Butterfly at the Lebanon Opera House.
Opera North and the Blow-Me-Down Farm may well be the proverbial match made in heaven. As part of its Summerfest 2017, the Upper Valley's prestigious professional opera company celebrated its 35th anniversary with an outdoor concert at the historic site just a few weeks ago. (You can read about it here.) Over 400 people attended to listen to the resident young artists perform, to explore the Blow-Me-Down buildings, and to take in the killer view of Mount Ascutney.
Charles Beaman was an attorney from New York City. In 1885, he convinced Augustus Saint-Gaudens to summer in Cornish NH at what would later become the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. It is said that Beaman assured the sculptor that New Hampshire had many men with physiques resembling that of Abraham Lincoln; they could pose for Saint-Gaudens while he worked on his now famous statue of the former president. It was the beginning of the Upper Valley's Cornish Colony.
Photograph of the barn at the Blow-Me-Down Farm (above) by Susan B. Apel
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge