By Susan Ryan ('19): President and CEO - Spaulding Youth Center
We then heard from Virginia Lupi, Director of NH State Council on the Arts, who noted how diverse NH really is and how many wonderful options we have to explore in our thriving “creative economy” sector. Her small but mighty team of 3 clearly wants everyone to know that yes, we have culture in many forms in NH even though many believe otherwise. You can learn more about what’s happening around the state at https://www.nh.gov/nharts/index.html and you can also check great publications like the Hippo since they publish a free newspaper every Thursday that captures tons of what’s going on around the state too.
Before we broke for lunch, usually a nasty spot to take up as a presenter, in came The Akwaaba Ensemble www.akwaabaensemlbe.com. They literally took my breath away at the same time I found myself deeply breathing in all their amazingly positive energy and genuinely traditional African Drum and Dance. Wow, and seriously who cared about lunch once they took the stage! I’m glad I shot a quick video clip so I could go back and break into that smile they put on my face anytime I feel like it. I’m trying to figure out when I can hire them for my school program, so I can have the children we serve get that smile, and inspiration, first hand! These 3 men, their stories, music and dance underscore how important it is to see, hear and feel different cultures so we can all benefit from the shared experience.
After a great lunch- thanks Currier!- we split up into groups to explore a few local spots like The Majestic Theatre and a Manchester Arts gallery. Again, great to get guided tours and hands on information about what they mean to our local economy and how they contribute to our cultural enrichment and enjoyment as a citizen of NH. Finally, we spent time with a media panel representing WMUR, NHPR and the Union Leader. We talked about bias in newspaper reporting, being a non-profit listener funded radio station and how our states main TV station remains independent when part of a national organization. We explored how people get their news today and the challenges the ever-changing landscape presents for print, radio and TV reporting. By 5:00pm, we felt more informed, entertained and culturally inspired then when we began the day and my cohort certainly seemed to feel it was time well spent! Thanks Leadership NH team for a great day.