By Sean Doherty (LNH '18), Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis at Dyn/Oracle
After an introductory talk by David Macy, the Resident Director of The Colony, we were lucky enough to have the playwright Ethan Lipton take valuable time away from his retreat to speak with us, and also to have him sing a song that he’d just written for a play that he is currently constructing. How could one not feel inspired when sitting mere feet from someone and listening to them speak passionately about their own art? Or how about learning that the Apple Hill Center’s Playing for Peace program is so powerful that they have brought together Israelis and Palestinians (among many others) to create chamber music together? Music that requires such a personal and intimate connection between musicians in order to be successful that hostilities simply must be put aside. Truly inspiring!
We were also treated to a wonderful presentation from Becky Field, whose enthusiasm and passion for her work were so evident that it was impossible not to be moved. Her book “Different Roots, Common Dreams” is a photographical account of the differences - and similarities - of daily life for immigrant families in New Hampshire. She was kind enough to show examples of her work and to tell us some of the stories behind the photos.
Accompanying Ms. Field was her good friend Segun Olorunfemi, an immigrant artist from Nigeria. It was fascinating not only to learn about his art and the methods he employs to tell stories about his experiences through art, but also about his experiences living in New Hampshire and raising a family here as an immigrant. It was upsetting to hear that his experience hasn’t been one entirely of welcome and that he could name numerous Nigerian immigrant families that have moved away from New Hampshire due to difficulties in settling and finding work. His story highlighted that we all could do more to make New Hampshire the state that we want it to be.
The day closed with a discussion led by Dan Barrick (LNH '12), the News Director for New Hampshire Public Radio that was centered around ‘The Media’ and whether we view the media differently these days. Lively conversation ensued and it was interesting to hear about the diverse ways in which we are receiving, interpreting, and consuming news.
“Arts, Culture, and the Media” was the focus of this session day. I can’t help but think we touched upon so much more than that though. All of the discussions from the day left me with a few answers, many more questions, and a renewed sense of enthusiasm and desire to make a difference in our state. Am I one step closer to answering the questions: What sort of state do we have? What sort of state do we want? Maybe I am… The day left me pondering those questions through yet another new lens. And that’s the point, isn’t it? To encourage us all to think and consider different perspectives that have been arrived at from experiences that vary from our own.