ARTS AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

MANCHESTER, NH

1

ARTS AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT MANCHESTER, NH

Not only is the City of Manchester the commercial center of the state, but it’s also fortunate to have a wealth of arts and heritage organizations that call the City their home. The community once known for leading the industrial revolution with the Amoskeag Mills now houses a diverse economic base that contribute to the creative economy. The city is now home to 10 universities and colleges with over 15,000 students. It also houses the Verizon Wireless Arena, The Currier Museum of Art and the Palace Theatre which are strong institutions not only within the City, but also the State. The City’s airport attracts nearly 2 million travelers every year. From the Lego Exhibit and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman house to the Franco American Centre and the ethnic festivals like Glendi and People Fest, the cultural list and resources that make this city their home is as diverse as the population that reside here. The arts and cultural institutions in the City of Manchester have been slowly and quietly building upon their successes of the past. These success stories include the renovation of the Currier Museum of Art, the expansion of the NH Institute of Art, the opening of the Aviation Museum and the N.H. political library at St. Anselm College, the construction of the Verizon Wireless arena and the Fisher Cats Baseball Stadium indicate that arts and cultural industry in Manchester is alive and growing. These investments in the City have totaled over $140 million dollars on the infrastructure improvements alone. Manchester has the largest concentration of arts and cultural venues in the state of New Hampshire with an annual number of visitors of over 1 million which generate approximately $55 million in direct spending every year. Yet with all the investment and resources available in the community, Manchester does not have a strong image within the State and the Region as an arts and cultural destination. Recognizing this, the City’s Economic Development Office (MEDO) is leading an information effort to make the community aware of the contributions the arts and cultural institutions and programs make to the local economy and provide a roadmap for building upon the City’s existing arts and cultural base as an economic development strategy. Through a grant from the State Department of Transportation, MEDO hired Mt. Auburn Associates to create a plan that would analyze and evaluate the impact Arts & Cultural institutions and programs have on Manchester’s economy and develop a strategy for building upon the City’s existing base to enhance its position as an arts and cultural destination. In developing its strategic plan and report, Mt. Auburn employed a combination of methods. These included quantitative data collection and analysis, focus groups with all relevant stakeholders and interviews with leaders of arts organizations and owners of arts-related businesses. Potential impacts to be analyzed included job creation, attendance/participation, dollars contributed to the local economy and other similar measurable. Institutions analyzed included the City’s museums, colleges, music schools, theaters, the Verizon Arena and other similar facilities. Programs included theater and music programs, festivals and public art. Arts related businesses such as galleries and private and for-profit performance venues were included as well. In addition the consultants reviewed past arts and cultural plans, the City’s Master Plan and Downtown plan along with several other related plans and studies.

2

FINDINGS
Overview of the Arts and Cultural Landscape The City of Manchester has a concentration of diverse attractions. These not only range in size, but also in the type of institution. These institutions bring in over 1 million visitors a year to cultural attractions and Verizon Arena related events. They have annual spending of $55 million and create 1,321 full and part time jobs. For the purpose of this study, the institutions and facilities in the city have been categorized as: The Cultural and Heritage Sites: Some of the cultural and heritage sites in Manchester include the Currier Museum of Art, the Millyard Museum, the Franco American Center, See Science Center, the Amoskeag Fishways and The Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. These institutions receive over 175,000 annual visitors; employ about 140 full and part time employees. Performing Art Companies and Venues: The City has concentration of performing arts groups, both in theater and music. The city also has good range of venue sizes from the very large like Verizon Wireless Arena which seats 11,000, the mid sized Palace Theatre with 900 seats to small theatres such as the Acting Loft with 100 seats. These institutions employ 25 full time and 250 part time workers and spend about $3.5 million annually (not counting the Verizon). The Verizon Wireless Arena receives 770,000 visitors annually with $31 million in direct spending with a total of 661 jobs through direct and indirect output. Visual Arts The Visual Arts consists of individual artists, art associations and galleries. The City currently houses two art associations one of which is SOPHA for photographers and the other is the Manchester Arts Association. The city also houses a small number of commercial galleries such as Art 3, East Colony Fine Arts and Hatfield Gallery. Embedded within a larger institution the city also houses a number of small galleries such as the McInich Gallery at Southern New Hampshire University, The McInich Family Gallery at the City Health Department, Art on the Wall in City Hall, and Chapel Art Center at St. Anselm College. Literary Arts Literary Arts is relatively small in the City consisting of the NH Writer’s Project and Hippo Press. Creative Education There are several education institutions within the city of Manchester that are focused on creative education. The New Hampshire Institute of Art has a total of 203 employees, with a payroll of over $5 million and expenditures of over $10.4 million. The Manchester Music School has 61 employees, and contributes $1 million in spending. 3

STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES
Strengths Overall Manchester’s arts and cultural assets are formidable and diverse. The city that was once a company town built by the manufacturing technology of the past century is proud of its deep manufacturing and immigrant heritage. The buildings that once housed the textile mills of Amoskeag Manufacturing mills stand proud along the Merrimack River representing the strong architectural design of the period. The Millyard Museum is also where visitors and local school children can go to understand the history and heritage of this community. The two rivers Piscataquog and Merrimack add significantly to the persona of this city. While preserving its past, this city is also looking forward and embracing the new era of technology. The same building that houses the Millyard Museum also is home to The See Science center where, the FIRST competitions sponsored by DEKA draw the new generation into the city. Visitors and residents of this city can experience not only take arts and design classes but also visit dinosaurs, a replica of the Millyard made entirely of Lego, share art and architecture designed by Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois and Frank Lloyd Wright. Good number and range in size of facilities. The city is also home to several performing arts facilities and venues. These venues range from the large scale Verizon Wireless Arena that can seat 11,000, the Palace Theatre with 900 seats, Dana center with 700, the Majestic with 230 and Currier with 140. One can experience Bob Dylan, Recycled Percussion, the Gay Men’s Choir, American Idol and the nutcracker within 5 miles of each other. Within the city there is also a strong mix of museums that provide a wide range of experiences. These venues are housed not only in the downtown and the mills but throughout the city’s neighborhoods. The recently opened Aviation Museum, the Boy Scouts Museum, the Zimmerman House are all located within several neighborhoods of the city The audience and visitor base is also quite diverse The regional market includes Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. Every four years during the Presidential Primaries, the city is also home to thousands of people and who arrive nationally and internationally. These venues provides the age range for performances and shows is “birth to death”

4

Impressive infrastructure investment There has been strong investment into the infrastructure of arts and culture in the past decade including public investment into Verizon Wireless Arena of $70 million, the Fisher Cats Baseball $21 million and $145,000 in public art. Private investment of the Currier Museum of Art $21.4 million, NH institute of Art $18 million in expansion. The higher education in the City and the region are also seen as a strong arts and cultural asset. The city is home to 11 institutions of higher education with roughly 15,000 students. These colleges have been a great catalyst to house and attract arts and culture. The New Hampshire Writer’s Project is housed at Southern New Hampshire University, St. Anselm’s College, through the Dana Center, brings in national and international performers and the New Hampshire Institute of Art has been significantly growing their downtown campus. Trolley had been helpful in bringing the community together The Open Doors Trolley with is run 4 times a year has been growing and has been a strong asset to bring the community together, attract visitors and give exposure to facilities that most people normally would not visit. A series of summer concerts and cultural celebrations also draw visitors to the city.

5

Challenges With such diversity in venues and cultural assets, Manchester could be the jewel of the state for arts and culture. Communities that have succeeded in building a strong economic base based on their arts and cultural assets have the local elected officials, the business community and community leaders intimately involved in recognizing, promoting and supporting their arts and cultural assets. The arts and cultural institutions themselves are also very strongly intertwined with each other in cross promoting, creating a brand and sharing resources. Although Manchester is diverse in size and in types of venues for arts and culture located within the city, it is not viewed as a arts and cultural destination or has not recognized its own strength as a arts and cultural destination. Past attempts to collaborate have not been sustained Although there have been several past attempts to collaborate the arts and cultural institutions, these efforts were relatively short lived and not terribly successful. For a variety of reasons these efforts did not last and there is little or no interest in creating another formalized structure. Limited organized activity to capitalize on current visitor base As the numbers have indicated, Manchester does receive a fair amount of visitors every year; roughly 1 million. However these visitors visit one institution and leave and do not connect or realize that there are other venues in the city. There is limited organized activity within the venues to capitalize on current visitor base. Examples of this include the 130 thousand visitors that come the See Science Center or when Antique Show at the Radisson attracts tens of thousands. There is little coordination with other institutions to cross promote or market to draw these visitors into their facilities. The same can be said during the presidential primaries that occur every 4 years. Thousands of national and international visitors and press land in the city, however there is no organized effort to promote the cultural assets, create opportunities to attend events, or brand to bring them back. The same can be said about the Center of New Hampshire which gets thousands of people for conferences and workshops every year. Current brand/identity of the city as arts destination is very weak The city has strong assets, however there is no clear brand or identity that defines the city’s creative economy. This lack of brand identity is a barrier to capitalizing on assets and position city as arts and cultural destination. Current ties between the cultural and business community not nearly as strong as it could be Although there is some support from the local business community towards the arts, overall the business community still looks at the Arts and Cultural venues as a nonprofit amenity. This lack of understanding about revenue and job generating capacity of the arts and cultural institutions pose a serious challenge to future growth of this economic asset. 6

A general recognition that the city could do more to attract and engage young people There are 15,000 individuals who attend colleges in the area; there has been modest effort to keep/bring them into the cultural community. A few organizations have a younger demographic – the NH Creative Club, the Graphic Artist Guild, and a web designers group New dynamic – young people who grew up in the city are coming back Signage and parking are a serious issue Poor signage makes it difficult for newcomers and visitors to navigate the City which presents real problems to many cultural institutions that want to broaden and expand their audience base. Conclusions The arts and cultural community and assets could bring a higher level of economic impact to the city, but it won’t occur unless community is more organized and able to better capitalize on its strengths.

7

PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS
The following are areas of recommendation identified by participants during the April 5, 2010 meeting at the Dana Center. Among these areas of recommendation, the group prioritized next steps this way: 1) First get organized with high level CEOs from both the arts and cultural community -identify those likely CEO allies/champions in the business community. 2) Second, craft and tell the story of the economic significance of the arts and cultural community. 3) Third, get organized internally among arts and cultural organizations, commercial enterprises, and institutions.

Specific tasks to be undertaken Position the City as a Higher-profile Arts Destination • Create new visual ‘arts points’ throughout the City • Develop clear brand and identity for the City’s Creative and Cultural Community • Improve signage and use the arts community to make the improvements • Create highly-visible programs / events focused on the arts • Tell the story of the economic significance of the arts and cultural community (how it brings vibrancy to the economy and the community) in a clear, concise, and a compelling way. Then the arts and cultural community needs to “systemize” the story telling so that it is part of a strategic process reaching a wide and diverse audience Capitalize on Existing Visitor Base • Reciprocal discounts and customize information to extend audience stays (Radisson, Verizon, Airport) • Leverage one-time impact events (primaries, summer antique shows, etc.) • Knit together stand-alone exhibits and museums thru maps and common themes of industrial heritage, river, mills, Native American – French – Canadian-immigrant heritage Take Advantage of Assets and Benefits of Higher Ed • Create relationship between Creative Economy and the Arts Directors / Coordinators in each institution 8

• •

Work with institutions on building and programmatic expansion plans and offer the assistance / support of the creative economy Organize Art Education courses / programs that can bring in new audiences / customers

Build a Stronger Relationship with the Business Community • Create more effective outreach to the business community; CEO tour of venues with signature events • Educate the business community about the revenue and job generating capacity of the Creative Economy • Develop mutually-beneficial programmatic relationship with the business community Build Programs and Relationship that Lead to Development of New Audiences • Create programs to bring in new audiences to downtown and to arts and cultural community • Develop new relationships and collaborations that target audiences who may only be marginally connect to the Creative Economy • Connect to other regional events to build “shoulder” opportunities Develop Mechanisms for More Effective Partnerships and Collaborations • Get more organized internally within the arts and cultural community and find more consistent mechanisms for communication. Related, meetings that are organized should be strategic in nature, have CEO level participation, and, ideally, include CEO counterparts in the business community. • Hold regular “Strategic Action” meetings • Focus on specific/targeted issues such as collaborations on special events, and new audience development. This should be convened and facilitated by a neutral party, but accountable to selves and flexible enough to allow self-defined groups to work and prioritize action items. • Create a electronic system for sustaining and building collaboration and partnership development. • Initiate more multi-venue, cross sector (visual arts, design, performing arts, creative education) marketing and promotion. • Investigate incubator space that accelerates enterprise development of artists and arts community.
 

9

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
Agency Amoskeag Fishways Art 3 Gallery Art Commission Art Commission Center NH - Radisson City of Manchester Economic Development Office City of Manchester Economic Development Office City of Manchester Economic Development Office Credit Union Museum Currier Museum of Art Currier Museum of Art Dana Center St. Anslems College East Colony Fine Arts Franco-American Centre Granite State Ambassadors Manchester Chamber of Commerce Manchester Chamber of Commerce Manchester Community Music School Millyard Museum Mt. Auburn Associates Mt. Auburn Associates NH Business Committee for the Arts NH Institute of Art NH Institute of Art PSNH SEE Science Center SEE Science Center Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission State of NH The Palace Theatre Verizon Wireless Arena Contact Name Dalbeck Helen Lee Forage Crystal Nadeau Elizabeth Hitchcock Maurine Bowlin Jay Minkarah Christopher Wellington Meena Gyawali Peggy Powell Susan Leidy Susan Strickler Bob Shea Randy Knowles Adele Baker Judy Window Robin Comstock Gemma Waite Jeanine Tousignant Aurora Eaton Stephen Michon Michael Kane Joan Goshgarian Jessica Kinsey Katie Berger Elizabeth Larocca Douglas Heuser Peter Gustafson David Preece Alice Desouza Peter Ramsey Jason Perry

10

City of Manchester Economic Development Department One City Hall Plaza Manchester, NH 03101 (603) 624 – 6505 Econdev@manchesternh.gov

11

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful