On June 28, 1965, Governor John King signed SB-97 into law RSA 19-A, establishing the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts (three months before the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts).
Between October 1965 and February 1966, Governor King appointed the first Arts Councilors: John Meck, Dartmouth College Treasurer, Chair; Jere Chase, UNH Vice President; Robert Alvin, Drama Professor at Nathaniel Hawthorne College; former First Lady Rachel Adams; A. James Bravar, Director of the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences; Warner Bentley, former professor at Dartmouth College and the first director of the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts; George West, Concord Tax Collector; George Kendall, former Director of the MacDowell Colony; and William Hutton, Director of the Currier Gallery of Art.
The new Councilors identified their first tasks as raising money to match anticipated grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and contacting arts organizations to determine priorities. The Councilors also started building support for a State appropriation in the next biennial budget by doing a survey to assess the Statewide economic impact of the arts. The effort was successful and on July 1, 1967 the Arts Council started the biennium with its first State appropriation of $7,500 – one penny for each citizen.
Today, the Council – now a 15-member body appointed by the Governor – continues this work, “… to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our citizens will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our citizens” (RSA 19-A, Section 19-A:1).
Click here for information on current members of the Council and learn more about the Arts Council’s history on our Facebook page.
Photos- top to bottom, left to right:
Emile Birch, Roger Brooks, Angela Brown, Susan Duprey
Sara Germain, Jacqueline Kahle, Mary McLaughlin, Amanda Merrill
Elizabeth Morgan, Tim Sink, Bill Stelling, Billie Tooley
Jason Tors, Peter Warburton, Chris Williams
June 4, 2015