2005 Governors Arts Awards
Distinguished Arts Leadership Award Recipient
MT Mennino, Executive Director, Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord
Capitol Center for the Arts executive director M.T. Mennino died unexpectedly in Concord on November 30, shortly after Governor Lynch announced that she was the recipient of the 2005 Governor’s Arts Distinguished Arts Leadership Award.
Mennino, became a revered cultural leader during the past decade as the first executive director for the Capitol Center. Under her management, the Capitol Center underwent two successful renovation projects, turning the old South Main Street theater into a nationally recognized performance venue that pumped new life into downtown Concord.
As executive director, Mennino led the refurbished and revitalized 1920s-era theater to become a preeminent performing arts center, bringing such big names to Concord as Mandy Patinkin, Lily Tomlin, Bob Newhart and B.B. King, along with top dance, opera, Broadway and children’s programming. Gov. John Lynch, who served on the Capitol Center’s board just prior to becoming Governor.
Before moving to Concord, Mennino had worked at some of the country’s most prestigious arts organizations, including Wolf Trap in northern Virginia and the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. Her professional goal since arriving in New Hampshire in 1994, Mennino sought to establish the Capitol Center for the Arts as a world-class arts center. She led the organization through a $4.2 million capital campaign. Beginning in 2001, she led the organization through a second, $3 million capital campaign, which led to this year’s magnificent renovation of the Governor’s Hall.
She served on the Board of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, the New Hampshire Travel Council, the Concord Economic Advisory Committee, and Downtown Concord, Inc's Main Street Committee. Mennino was a member of the Rotary Club of Concord, a member of the Leadership New Hampshire Class of 2000 and a delegate to the 1998 Governor’s Summit on Travel and Tourism as well as chair on the 1999 New Hampshire Travel Council’s Fall Conference.
Mennino shared her wealth of leadership and management knowledge, serving as a paid and unpaid consultant to numerous arts organizations around the country in regards to audience development, management best practices, fund-raising and long-range planning. She also served as president of the New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts, a lobbying organization that furthers the goals of the State’s arts institutions.
Mennino was named the 2001 Woman of Achievement by the Concord Business and Professional Women’s Group. Under her leadership, the Capitol Center for the Arts was awarded the 2000 Walter J. Dunfrey Award for Excellence in Non-profit management by the Corporate Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Center was also named the 1998 Business of the Year in the Non-profit/ Education category by the New Hampshire Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives and Business NH Magazine.
Today, thanks to MT Mennino’s leadership, the Capitol Center for the Arts stands as one of New Hampshire’s cultural accomplishments, bringing world-class performing arts to New Hampshire citizens and visitors.
“MT Mennino has been a visionary, recognizing that the arts must be active partners in generating healthy economic activity in the community. Long before the creative economy was a catchphrase, she was a active ambassador for the arts. In short, MT Mennino has significantly advanced the cause of the arts in New Hampshire with single-minded dedication, a keen eye to the bottom line and even a little bit of blarney when it was called for.” Byron O. Champlin, Capitol Center for the Arts Chairman and Assistant Vice President of Marketing Communications, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation.
“One of her important traits was her balance of striving for perfection for making the Capitol Center for the Arts the premier performing arts center with the need to work in collaboration with competing institutions Mennino was the ‘go-to’ person in the arts world in New Hampshire.” Joan Goshgarian, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts