Chamber Chatter with Rob Taylor


Submitted a month ago

Supporting the Arts in Lebanon

I volunteered recently for one of Lebanon’s great non-profit arts organizations, Opera North. They were holding a full weekend’s worth of shows at the Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish, NH (a part of the US Parks Service’s Saint Gaudens National Historic Site). Opera North is developing a partnership with the site to strengthen the arts in what was once a famous artist colony in the area. Judging by the crowds of cars that converged on the spectacular setting, they are off to a great start. In fact, all four shows ended up selling out as the attendees were treated to a menagerie of music, dance, and aerial performances. I served as the parking lot attendant for the Saturday afternoon matinée. This modest effort expended on my part was rewarded with greater returns from the satisfaction of being a part of something so special. In Lebanon, there are so many wonderful arts organizations to be a part of. From ushering at the Lebanon Opera House (LOH) to manning an exhibit at AVA Gallery, volunteers can experience a richness of opportunities that is not available in many communities.

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In my opinion, one of the most important developments in Lebanon is the burgeoning arts economy that has developed in our area. There are professional arts options like Opera North, as well as superb community theater like North Country Community Theater. We have world class educational arts organizations like AVA, City Center Ballet, and the Upper Valley Music Center. And recently, the City of Lebanon created an arts task force to advise the City Council on fostering an even deeper commitment to the “creative economy.” This momentum for art can be seen in the installation of sculptures along the new Mascoma River Greenway and in the Thursday night concerts on the Green. These developments are all indicators of a vital economy. It is clear how interrelated all aspects of the economy are, and a thriving arts community can strengthen the economy in general. It is an exciting time for the arts in Lebanon. If you want to get involved contact the Chamber for help and/or direction 603-448-1203.

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