Friday News Flash
To see Breaking News, CLICK HERE, E-Opps CLICK HERE, to see E-Clips CLICK HERE.
From July 17, 2009
Judy Rigmont Retires
It’s been a wonderful 24 years, says Judy Rigmont, who retired June 30 as the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts’ creative communities coordinator. Though perhaps “retired” isn’t the best choice of words. “Retired? Not!” says Judy, who plans to continue to do consulting work with and for artists and arts and civic organizations. She’s feeling just as impassioned about the arts as she has been in her quarter century at the State Arts Council, she says, and is looking forward to having time for some hands-on participation in the arts. Plans include volunteering, singing in a community chorus, and perhaps sampling a visual arts class to complement the dance class she’s taking.
Judy joined the Arts Council in 1985. “Governor Sununu had just awarded some increases in the state budget for Arts in Education and the Touring Program,” she remembers. “It was an exciting time.” She was hired to be a program assistant, and then promoted to coordinate the Touring Program after completing some coursework.
“I love working with performing artists,” says Judy, who counts theater, dance, and music among her favorite art forms. As the Arts Council’s focus and programs shifted, Judy’s responsibilities shifted as well. She oversaw the Rural Arts Initiative, the Prison Arts Program, Dance on Tour Initiatives, the Peer Mentorship Program, and the Artist Roster.
Several years into her tenure, the Community Arts movement came along, and with it came a new emphasis on engaging people in arts-making. Judy stepped in to work with civic and cultural leaders and volunteers to support artists’ residencies that often resulted in the creation of public art involving community members. When the “creative economy” took center stage, she partnered with Main Street programs and civic leaders to commission artwork as part of downtown revitalization efforts.
“Artists are indeed small businesses,” says Judy, and they contribute to the economy, to cultural tourism and to the quality of life in New Hampshire’s communities. She helped the state’s artists improve their business skills by organizing series of free entrepreneurial workshops. More recently, she’s been instrumental in the establishment of the Arts Satellite Network, a group of arts commissions, agencies, and councils that operate in municipalities and regions of the state. Members meet quarterly to share resources and participate in collaborative community arts related projects ( i.e., cultural planning, public art programs, affordable live-work spaces for artists) and professional development opportunities.
Another recent initiative introducing arts programs led by professional artists in health care and nursing home facilities has been, Judy says, both challenging and meaningful. “The Council’s innovative Arts in Health Care Initiative provides patients, seniors, their caregivers and families opportunities to experience the transformational, healing, and community building powers of participatory arts programs,” she says. The program “allows memories to be restored and stories to be creatively shared.”
“I pray that this vital community arts work continues,” Judy wrote in a farewell message to her colleagues. “I long for the day when Americans understand the true value of the arts and realize that they are the best possible investment. I strongly maintain that they will learn this best by not only participating as an audience member but by engaging in the creative process in schools and communities.”
We’ll Miss You, Margie!
After more than 10 years as Grants and Contract Technician, Marjorie Durkee left her position with the State Arts Council this week due to budget cuts.
“After working here, I really appreciate what the Arts Council has done,” says Margie, citing funding for schools, nonprofits and artists. As the person who logged in applications at the beginning of the grant-making cycle and processed the final reports that come in from grantees at the end of the grant year, she had a chance to see projects in both their developmental and completed states.
Seeing the grant money the State Arts Council awards turned into projects that engage New Hampshire residents in art was like “seeing happiness,” Margie says.
Margie’s duties included working with the grant coordinators, helping to coordinate panel sessions, working with the data base, preparing financial and status reports for the National Endowment for the Arts, and talking with artists and staff from cultural organizations when they called or came into the office. She served as “the main front end person, as far as questions go, with artists and organizations,” she says.
Margie, who is married to a musician and enjoys singing with her husband’s band, says she’ll bring her appreciation for the arts to any new endeavors. “I’ll promote the arts wherever I am,” she says.
Lunchtime Lectures from Yellow Taxi
Yellow Taxi Productions’ free lunch time lecture series returns for a new season of lectures and performances designed to educate our community about different aspects of theatre. All Lunch Box lectures are 40 minutes starting at 12:10 p.m. are now at the Nashua Public Library one Tuesday a month. Sponsored by New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. On July 28: How Scenic Design Tells the Story led by Kathryn Kawecki, the set designer of Yellow Taxi’s Burn This. http://www.yellowtaxiproductions.org/
Interesting Opportunity for Visual Artists
The Arts Council is listing this opportunity in the News Flash rather than in our E-opps mailing because the regional casting call happens tomorrow and Sunday in New York City.
Magical Elves (Project Runway, Top Chef) and Sarah Jessica Parker and her production company, Pretty Matches, are teaming up for an hour-long creative competition series among aspiring contemporary artists who will create and compete to conquer the art world.
From Magical Elves: “If you’re an emerging or mid-career visual artist with a unique, powerful voice that demands a bigger stage – well. . . Here. It. Is. We want contemporary artists. Your medium could be one of many (or several of many) – painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, mixed-media – we want voices that believe in their art and want the world to know.”
Go to www.BravoTV.com/casting to download an application and see what you need to bring with you to an open call in New York City at White Columns -- http://www.whitecolumns.org/ -- Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19.
Due to cuts in staff, the State Arts Council will no longer be e-mailing links to stories relating to the arts from local, national, and international media. Instead, stories that pertain specifically to New Hampshire will be included in the Friday News Flash, and the E-opps page on the Arts Council web site will feature a list of online sources for news about the arts.
Police make arrest in Concord art theft:
August 13, 2009