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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
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Traditional Arts Exhibit Opens in Concord

The N.H. State Library in Concord will be hosting an exhibit to celebrate traditional arts in the Granite State from June 11 through July 20, 2012. Traditional arts include crafts, music and dance that are passed down from one generation to the next within families and communities. In New Hampshire, traditional arts reflect the many cultures that settled in what is now the Granite State, including the indigenous Native American Abenaki, early English colonists, French Canadians, Europeans and, more recently, peoples from African and Asian countries.

Entitled “Shaping Our Heritage,” the exhibit honors traditional artists who have participated in N.H. State Council on the Arts’ Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants over the past 16 years. Apprenticeship grants help to preserve living heritage by providing modest funding for master artists to teach experienced apprentices in one-to-one sessions. With continued support from the National Endowment for the Arts, New Hampshire has funded Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants since 1995, providing support for total of 172 teams and more than 32 art forms.

“Shaping Our Heritage,” is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the important traditions that form the collective heritage of the state and the community-based artists that make a commitment to preserving them. It will feature more than 100 examples of crafts and more than 100 photographs highlighting art forms such as blacksmithing, boat building, braided and hooked rug making, cooperage, decoy carving, dog sled making, fly tying, Contra dance and French Canadian fiddling, furniture making, Native American ash basket making and beadwork, Shaker oval box making, tinsmithing, and Scottish accordion and bagpipe playing.

“Traditional arts form the deep and enduring roots of our cultural life,” said Lynn Martin Graton, N.H. State Council on the Arts’ acting director and traditional arts coordinator. “While they belong to us all, the skills needed to keep them alive, to create them with the greatest proficiency and imbue them with the greatest artistry, are usually mastered by a few individuals. Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants are a modest public investment that helps preserve our living heritage.”

“Shaping Our Heritage” will be on display in the Map Gallery of the State Library, 20 Park Street, Concord from June 11 to July 20, 2012. Visitors may view the exhibit during the Library’s regular hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. There is no charge for admission.

A publication accompanies the exhibit and reflects the documentation and educational aspects of the State Arts Council’s work. Entitled “Shaping our Heritage: Reflections Celebrating Traditional Arts Apprenticeships in New Hampshire,” it features photographs of Apprenticeship grantees and their artwork, as well as excerpts from oral history interviews. Noted New Hampshire author and humorist Rebecca Rule collaborated on the publication, which will be available at the New Hampshire History Museum gift shop and Gibson’s Book Store in Concord beginning June 11.

A variety of public programs will be offered during the six-week exhibit to expand opportunities to learn more about traditional arts in New Hampshire. A lunchtime series of craft demonstrations will be held State Library on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. featuring traditional artists from around the state who will be on hand to demonstrate and discuss their craft traditions:

  • June 13 - Western Abenaki basket making by Sherry and Bill Gould from Bradford;
  • June 20 - Decoy carving by Fred and Brendan Dolan;
  • June 27 - Fly tying by Bob Wyatt and Larry Antonuk;
  • July 11 - Rug hooking by Pam Bartlett;
  • July 18 - Decorative painting by Beverly Nemetz and Russian iconography by Marina Nazarova Forbes

Two concerts will be held at the Concord Community Music School:

Sunday, July 22, 2 - 4 p.m. - “New England Fiddling Traditions” will feature fiddlers Rodney Miller, Brendan Carey-Block, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki and Patrick Ross.

Sunday, July 29, 2 - 4 p.m. - “Our Celtic Heritage” will feature Skip Gorman on mandolin, Sylvia Miskoe on accordion, the Webster family playing Scottish bag pipes and performing Highland dancing, Sarah Bauhan on flute and fiddle, and Regina Delaney on Irish harp and vocals.

For more information on all activities, visit:

“Shaping Our Heritage” is made possible by a Traditional Arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by private donations from Colin and Paula Cabot of Sanborn Mills Farm in Loudon, N.H., and the Putnam Foundation. Generous assistance from New Hampshire businesses and organizations include the Common Man Family of Restaurants, Concord Camera, the Concord Courtyard by Marriott and Kimball Jenkins School of Art.

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a division of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding for programs is provided through state appropriations, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at




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