May 20, 2010

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Artist, meet writer
Art parties give singers, designers, painters and others a chance to mingle
By Adam Coughlin acoughlin@hippopress.com

Sports fans have it easy. Go to a Fisher Cats game and find 6,000 people with a similar interest. But where can artists go to meet people with the same creative outlook on life? Tanya Lacourse, who studied in Boston and worked in New York City and San Francisco, could find no answer in New Hampshire. She decided to take matters into her own hands.

She enlisted her neighbor, Kristina Gerig, and a mutual friend from New York, Travis Commeau, and held her first art party last April. The concept was familiar to her, as Lacourse had hosted much larger-scale ones in New York. She did her research on local artists and utilized Facebook to reach out to friends of friends. She encouraged sculptors, painters, photographers, all disciplines of art, all ages to submit pictures of their work. At the first art party, which was held at Wallie and Bernies in Manchester (Lacourse’s old roommate was a bartender), 30 people turned out.

Now, she holds art parties every three months or so.

“Long enough between parties so people don’t get burned out but close enough so people don’t forget,” Lacourse said. “People think in New York you can do anything but in reality everything has already been done. In New Hampshire we have an opportunity to shape it as we want.

“I’ve been to cool little boutiques in Brooklyn that were selling the work of New Hampshire artists,” Lacourse said. “I thought, why can’t they do that back home?”

The art party is like a young professionals mixer without the dinner jacket. Many in attendance at the fourth and most recent art party, which was held on Wednesday, May 12, at Jewell and the Beanstalk, 793 Somerville St. in Manchester, had done the traditional networking scene and found it too rigid.

“I’ve been to some business events but found them too formal,” said Becky O’Neil, standing in front of one of her handbags, which hung on display inside the cafe. “It’s been great rounding up all of these creative people and each party seems to attract someone new.”

Ryan Hoarty, a creative writer who is working on taming his first novel, was in the car when his girlfriend, graphic designer Amy Mauriello, announced they were going to the art party. Hoarty was happy he came.

“I just moved to Manchester and want to surround myself with people with the same mind-set,” Hoarty said. “I hope we can push and support each other.”

Maggie Baldwin, who also designs handbags, agreed with Hoarty’s assessment. She said it was great to have a support network and the best thing about the art parties is that there are people from all aspects of art, so whatever your cup of tea, you’re likely to find a match. This was done by design.

“There are tons of interesting people in Manchester,” said Travis Commeau. “But there was little inter-pollination between art groups and circles of friends. We wanted organic relationships, where you didn’t just pass out your business cards.”

“I like meeting people, especially creative people,” said Kate Baker Richards, whose jazz singing was playing on CD through the café speakers. “When someone finishes a project or is published in a magazine it is a blast to share that moment with them.”

This wasn’t always the case in New Hampshire. The art scene has very much been a closed industry, according to Sonia Chopra, an L.A.-based website designer who grew up in Manchester.

“I grew up taking art classes at the Currier but there wasn’t anything outside of that,” Chopra said. “I think these parties are really good for the city.”

It is exciting to be on the ground floor of a new venture and Hoarty believes Manchester has a lot working in its favor.

“Manchester is small enough to make great connections and relationships but big enough to have a cultural side and urban opportunities,” Hoarty said.

The next art party won’t be until the fall as schedules book up in the summer. To learn more, contact Lacourse by e-mail at vm@violetmarsh.com.


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4/29/2010 A little peace in the Gate City
4/22/2010 Artist laureate
4/15/2010 Art at school and more new exhibits
4/8/2010 Art under glass
4/1/2010 For Jon Brooks
3/25/2010 Three "Trolley" nights for 2010
3/18/2010 Emerging art
3/11/2010 New England focus
3/4/2010 Currier celebrates 80 years
2/25/2010 Cell phone guides, fruit and poetry
2/18/2010 Contemporary concepts
2/11/2010 Intown has new downtown designs
2/4/2010 In transition
1/28/2010 Academic
1/21/2010 SOPHA plans photo sale to help Haiti
1/14/2010 More than the title implies
1/7/2010 Last chance to see Weston photos and prints from the Stahls
12/31/2009 Art goes outside and other stories this year
12/24/2009 Last chance to see Weston photos and prints from the Stahls
12/17/2009 For the arts lover
12/10/2009 Photography around the region
12/3/2009 All the craft/art fairs, ever
11/26/2009 Nashuan starts new venture for art for a cause
11/19/2009 News for artistsand art appreciators
11/12/2009 Saint Anselm College brings art, poetryand music together
11/05/2009 Photographic stand-off
10/29/2009 Manchester by Google
10/22/2009 A bull and 'Dia de los Muertos'
10/15/2009 Pumpkins, pets and architects
10/8/2009 New photography show at Currier
10/1/2009 Andres sculptors wrap up
9/24/2009 Two-day tour
9/17/2009 Workshops, recovery, pumpkins and more
9/10/2009 Meet the masters
9/3/2009 Green living
8/27/2009 MAA is early
8/20/2009 Maa Art in the Park show link with People Fest
8/13/2009 Greeley tradition
8/6/2009 Taming the painting
7/30/2009 Make your mark in Goffstown
7/23/2009 Kimball-Jenkins update
7/16/2009 Local color
7/9/2009 Currier offers free admission and wood-turning demos
7/2/2009 Not a drop to drink
6/25/2009 The SOPHA Community
6/18/2009 Manchester and Concord host gallery nights June 25
6/11/2009 Art out in the open
6/4/2009 Keeping jobs
5/28/2009 Monastary and Concord Arts Market return
5/21/2009 Her own path
5/14/2009 Nine public artworks for Nashua?
5/7/2009 Indoor and outdoor Mother's Day ideas
4/30/2009 SOPHA members show off to help Food Bank
4/23/2009 Visit the Currier for free during school vacation
4/16/2009 Colleges show off around the state
4/9/2009 Artist hotline pilot program launches
4/2/2009 Cause for soldiers
3/26/2009 Can art spider link NH?
3/19/2009 Group art shows open this week
3/12/2009 Earth, animals and learning to draw
3/5/2009 Where curiosity can lead
2/26/2009 Rockin' the art degree
2/19/2009 Where the art came from
2/12/2009 Get ready for free admission at Currier
2/5/2009 Pottery served with soup
1/29/2009 Wine and desire
1/22/2009 Art for your Valentine
1/15/2009 NHAA shows off at Currier
1/8/2009 Art on the airwaves in Nashua
1/1/2009 Learn to paint or draw
12/25/2008 Arts in 2008
12/18/2008 Conserving New Hampshire art with a moose
12/11/2008 What is it?
12/4/2008 New show openings and holiday fine craft offerings
11/27/2008 New shows and new lecutures
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11/6/2008 A wealth of gallery openings
10/30/2008 Squeaky wheel
10/23/2008 Be surrounded by art making10/16/2008 Receptions and open studios everywhere
10/9/2008 Copyright blues
10/2/2008 Andres Institute at 10 years
9/25/2008 Andy Warhol's world leaders
9/18/2008Local color
9/11/2008Local color
9/4/2008 A weekend of fests
8/28/2008 Currier ventures into pop art
8/21/2008 Expert help on a craft project
8/14/2008 Great outdoors
8/7/2008 Local color
7/31/2008 Continuing tradition and exchaning culture
7/24/2008 Drinking for animals; masters of woodcraft
7/17/2008 What's an arts market
7/10/2008 Curtain calls
7/03/2008 The Lambovich Brothers
6/26/2008 HAS: How Art Sells
6/19/2008 It's trolley tour time
6/12/2008 Helping hand
6/5/2008 Sumi-e and photography
5/29/2008 Digital to paint
5/22/2008 New Kimball-Jenkins board members
5/15/2008 Making it in New York ... or New Hampshire
5/8/2008 Public eye
5/1/2008 Art for Mother's Day
4/24/2008 New art walk planned for Manchester
4/17/2008 Awards for the state's artists
4/10/2008 New directions
4/3/2008 New exhibits: no April Art Walk
3/27/2008 Monastary Gibbons "Visions of Monadnock"
3/20/2008 Currier opens March 30 with week of free admission
3/13/2008 Looking back at baseball
3/6/2008 Painting, calligraphy and classic cars
2/28/2008 More snow delays; Dartmouth receives arts endowment
2/21/2008 Prints and animals in Concord
2/14/2008 From the Andes to New Hampshire
2/7/2008 What does your butt say
1/31/2008 Local color
1/24/2008 Local color
1/17/2008 Conversation starter
1/10/2008 Nominate your favorite arts-loving business
1/3/2008 The inner personalities of rubber finger puppets
12/27/2007 Changes in the arts in 2007
12/20/2007 Local Color
12/13/2007 Portsmouth markets Christmas spirit
12/6/2007 One more cause
11/29/2007 Three days of merriment
11/22/2007 Advocating for arts; Zimmerman season ends soon
11/15/2007 Images, past and present
11/8/2007 Back in time at a Concord mansion
11/1/2007 Governor honors artists with art
10/25/2007 Spatial Matters
10/18/2007 Perfecting a craft
10/11/2007 Handmade furniture
10/04/2007 Capturing nature on canvas and by camera
9/27/2007 Local color
9/20/2007 Nashua, in the abstract
9/13/2007 Local Color
9/6/2007 Looking at the world
8/30/2007 Art in the fresh air
8/23/2007 Berlin pride
8/16/2007 Finding money
8/9/2007 Park of arts
8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
7/26/2007 Taking care of wood
7/19/2007 Local Color
7/12/2007 Local Color
7/5/2007 Local Color
6/28/2007 Local Color
6/21/2007 The great outdoors
6/14/2007 Play per day
6/7/2007 Goodbye, gallery
5/31/2007 Impressions
5/24/2007 Local color
5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
4/12/2007 Local color
4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local color
09/07/2006 Bel Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
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03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
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Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Waxwork
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier