Publisher's Note: There’s gold in them there arts
By Jeff Rapsis
While I was a student at Fordham University in New York City, one of my weekly rituals was getting a hot-off-the-presses copy of the Village Voice each Wednesday afternoon.
Back then (this was the early 1980s), the Voice was the bible of what was going on in the city that week. Its pages were thick with listings and ads for everything from poetry readings on the Upper West Side to all-night raves on the Lower East Side.
For a New Hampshire boy, the variety was mind-boggling. Each week’s paper was my guide to getting the most out of the big city — or at least the most that I could on an extremely limited budget.
I returned to the Granite State after college to work in the newspaper business. And while southern New Hampshire isn’t New York City, I remember thinking that there’s actually a lot going on here. With that in mind, we’re pleased to offer this week’s fall preview issue of the Hippo, which does indeed put it all in print in one place. And as you’ll see, there’s a surprising amount of stuff that goes on in these parts.
That’s good news, and not just if you’re looking for something to do. Today it’s clearer than ever that a region’s cultural health is a big component of its economic health. A lively arts scene means a lively local economy.
After all, people going out do spend money — on transportation, on food, on entertainment and more. And people who take part in a lively arts scene tend to spend money on their quality of life at home, too — on redecorating, home entertainment, food and wine.
All that activity adds up. And when times are slow, the continuing presence of an arts scene helps keep things going in communities such as Manchester, Nashua, Concord and the rest of southern New Hampshire.
But the arts also contribute to the regional economy on a much larger scale. In a knowledge-based economy, entrepreneurs can choose to locate their businesses almost anywhere. And they’re far more likely to set up shop in an area that offers a good quality of life for themselves, their families and their colleagues.
So in addition to being an info-packed look at the local arts scene, consider this week’s Hippo as an economic development tool for our area. Its pages contain hard evidence that we enjoy a lively and active cultural scene here, with something for just about anyone.
I hope you’ll enjoy perusing it. And when you’re done, instead of recycling it, send it along to that promising young nephew at Harvard Business School — you know, the one with the business plan for a revolutionary new whatchamacallit that could be the Next Big Thing. Or, send it along to a liberal arts major at Fordham University. Hey, you never know what you might inspire.