Art — Arts In Education Conference

Manchester to serve as canvas for arts conference


By Michelle Saturley []

Calling all local arts educators and parents: this year’s statewide Arts in Education Conference will be held right in your own back yard.

The New Hampshire Council on the Arts will present its Arts in Education Conference, “The City as Canvas,” September 17 through 19 at arts venues throughout Manchester.

In the past, the conference has been held in more bucolic locations, but this year conference organizer Catherine O’Brian wanted the event to have a more urban theme.

“Once we [O’Brian and the committee of volunteers] agreed upon a ‘city’ type of location, it got me thinking about Manchester,” said O’Brian, who lived and worked in Manchester for several years at both the Latin American Center and the Girls’ Club before joining the NH Council on the Arts. “There has been such tremendous growth and development here, and the result is a rich arts community that is just bursting to share what they have to offer. It seemed like the right place and right time to hold this type of event.”

Once O’Brian and the committee agreed upon Manchester as the host city, O’Brian and her crew reached out to area artists and educators for ideas and assistance.

“Everyone in Manchester has been so wonderful to work with,” she said. “Georgie Regan [of the City Arts Commission], Jan Langer [owner of Langer Place], the staff at Art Builds Community, and the Currier Museum were all instrumental in getting this conference off the ground.”

The conference comprises a series of hands-on interactive workshops for arts educators, parents, and artists who are considering entering the education field. The purpose of the workshops is to demonstrate how the arts can be a vital part of any curriculum, from mathematics to history. The workshops encompass various disciplines within the arts, including creative writing, theater, visual arts and music.

The event kicks off Friday, September 17, at Southern New Hampshire University with an opening keynote address by poet/author Pat Schneider. Following a session of breakout workshops, attendees will be treated to a dance performance. From 2:30 to 5 p.m., an exhibit, “Meet the Artists, Share the Work,” will be free and open to the public as well as conference attendees. O’Brian is particularly excited about this portion of the conference.

“We’d like to get the word out to area parents, teachers and artists who aren’t able to attend the full conference,” she said. “This is a rare hands-on opportunity to see how other schools in the state have integrated the arts into their everyday teachings. There will be 40 teaching artists on hand to answer questions, give demonstrations, and show off what their students have learned.”

Other highlights include a tour of Langer Place’s many galleries and artist studios, a “Playing for Peace” concert with Apple Hill Chamber Players, a chamber orchestra from the Jaffrey area, and special tours of the Zimmerman House and Currier Museum of Art. Workshops are scheduled at venues all over the city, including Manchester Community Music School, the Millyard Museum, the Unitarian Church and Catholic Medical Center.

If all goes well, O’Brian would like to return to Manchester for other arts-related conferences.

“It’s a chance for people who don’t live in the Manchester area to see all the resources available here,” O’Brian said. “A place like the Currier Museum or Langer Place, for someone from a small town in the north country of New Hampshire, will be a great experience. That’s the kind of connection we’re trying to make with this conference.”

Space is still available in several of the individual workshops. Interested teachers, artists and parents can find out more by visiting, or by calling Catherine O’Brian at 271-0795.

—Michelle Saturley

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