2015 Governor's Arts Awards
Distinguished Arts Leadership
Award Recipient: Melissa Richmond, Founder and Executive Director, West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts
When Melissa Richmond returned to Claremont after completing her music degree, she mentioned that people shouldn’t have to travel to experience the arts, and she wished she could bring quality artistic opportunities to her own community. Shortly thereafter her church offered space so she could do just that. The Summer Concert Series began in 2008 with five concerts featuring ten local artists. After the first year’s success, Melissa secured grant funding to continue and in 2011 the Series became the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (WCCMA). Contributing to Claremont’s creative economy, WCCMA partners with artists and local organizations on art exhibitions in public places, concerts and plays, private music instruction, instrument loans, tuition assistance, and workshops and residencies for area youth, benefitting students and families and employing teaching artists. Last fall, the Claremont 250th Committee collaborated with WCCMA to commission Kinan Azmeh’s Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra and Ernest Montenegro’s sculpture, ourhandsthenandnow. Both artworks were embraced by the local audience, demonstrating that WCCMA is building a taste for world class arts in the community. Melissa has forged strong relationships with City officials and over the years has collaborated on projects with the SAU 6 music departments, Claremont Parks & Recreation, Claremont Farmer’s Market, Granite State Arts Market and The Hopkins Center at Dartmouth’s Community Venture Initiative.
April 28, 2016