Rockin’ the art degree
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
• Student movement: For the first time, a student is curating a show at the McIninch Art Gallery at Southern New Hampshire University. Senior Susan Kovach of Cambridge, Maine, has worked at McIninch since her freshman year. “The Art of Rock and Roll” is part of her work for her independent major, art history. (SNHU doesn’t offer it.)
Materials in the exhibit, which runs through April 4, are loaned from her former college advisor, Richard Colfer. They include 1960s, ’70s and ’90s rock posters, album covers, backstage passes and handbills. “Graphic designers from the San Francisco Bay area and Detroit dominated the design market of that time” and changed how advertisements were made, according to a SNHU press release.
Kovach said the project has touched on her studies of the history of design, art nouveau and art deco. She’s finding connections to fine arts and popular culture. They are “really artistically done ... everything had to be designed by hand,” Kovach said. The opening reception includes live music from student bands Thursday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Robert Frost Hall, 2500 North River Road in Manchester (629-4622, www.snhu.edu).
• Resources: Among the cuts in the governor’s proposed budget was about half of the allocation for the state’s arts division in the Department of Cultural Resources. Rebecca Lawrence, director, wrote in an e-mail that five full-time positions are not funded in this proposal, leaving one state and three federally funded full-time staffers. The proposed state funding would drop from $882,000 in fiscal year 2009 to $448,000 in FY10 for this grant-making and resource division.
NH Citizens for the Arts pointed out, and Lawrence mentioned, that federal matching funds would be lost. The governor projects a $1,365,000 FY10 Arts Council budget, although actual federal matching grants would leave the total at $896,000, according to the NHCFA.Since it’s such a small agency, NHCFA president Marilyn Hoffman thought the cuts were “shocking.”
“A number of these programs actually generate revenues for the state directly or indirectly,” Hoffman said. NHCFA (www.nhcfa.org) is planning to visit budget hearings scheduled around the state and work with the legislature to try to save positions, including Tuesday, March 17, at 4 p.m. at the Statehouse in Concord.
Cultural Resources would also face layoffs in the libraries division, Hoffman said.
The final budget is due July 1. The House Finance committee is next to take it up, followed by the Senate, Lawrence said.
“Our agency understands that these are challenging economic times for everyone and that we at the State Arts Council need to do our part by seeking ways to be both efficient and effective as we help make the benefits of the arts accessible to everyone, most especially those who are most affected by this economic downturn. ... People still need to experience the joy of music, the beauty of paintings, the cathartic release of well produced drama, and the comfort of coming together as a community at a local craft festival. In the 1930s Governor Winant stimulated the economy with some public funding to support New Hampshire artists and craftsmen, which predated national programs to support the arts. That early boost to the state’s creative economy survives today as the League of NH Craftsmen. Later, WPA sponsored N.H. artists created artworks such as Concord Library’s panels of New Hampshire wildflowers by Margaret Masson that are still enjoyed today,” Lawrence wrote.
The federal stimulus bill includes $50 million for arts jobs, but Hoffman said she does not know if that money has matching requirements.
• Third floor: Artist Dan Greuling has a particular affection for the third floor of 21 West Auburn St. in Manchester. Find out why at his open studio there, Sunday, March 1, between 3 and 9 p.m. Greuling said he’d been painting for his “closet” until his tattoo client, Ryan LeFavre, saw his fine art. LeFavre and his wife insisted Greuling put it in an upcoming show they were involved in.
That’s how Greuling got involved with the Monastery Artist Collective. Everyone’s “communicating about art on a peer level,” rather than in a classroom atmosphere, he said.
Greuling said Monastery artists still have studios on the third floor, although they gave up their shared gallery space last year. The open studio will involve work by others, and more third-floor folks might participate, including an aerialist and Mary’s Closet costume shop.
When Greuling gets stuck on a painting, he’ll do some woodwork. He showed a three-string electric guitar he made when artist Aaron Slater came to him with a pick-up he’d built from salvaged computer parts. “It asks you to play dirty blues,” Greuling said, referencing cigar-box guitars. Greuling has been a tattoo artist for about nine years, and has also worked making furniture, and as a mechanic. — Heidi Masek