Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fred Dolan Awarded 2017 Governor's Arts Award for Folk Heritage

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is delighted to announce Fred Dolan, a master wildfowl carver, painter and teacher, as the recipient of the 2017 Governor's Arts Awards in Folk Heritage. The Folk Heritage Award "recognizes a New Hampshire traditional folk artist who has made a significant contribution to his or her art form and the cultural community, reflecting a lifetime of achievement."                              

Originally designed as utilitarian devices for hunting purposes throughout North America, decoy styles were suited to local hunting conditions and methods. After the passing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the tradition of decoy carving and painting evolved from this utilitarian function to the simple and beautiful “portraits” of wildfowl that have become works of fine craftsmanship and treasured pieces of folk art. Through generations of master craftsmen and carvers, the basic form and function of a decoy has been constant even though styles and wildfowl species vary regionally.

Having grown up along the Salmon Falls River in Somersworth, New Hampshire, Mr. Dolan has always had an inclination toward nature and wildlife. With this enduring interest and influence, he has made decoy carving his life’s work since the early 1980’s. He has studied decoy carving under master artists in New England including Paul Bowden and Jim White and on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake, taken extensive courses in drawing, ornithology, carving techniques, sculpture and art as well as conducted research on wildfowl form and habits at the Audubon Society, museums, galleries and from the numerous observation points at his home.

Mr. Dolan’s accolades are extensive including representing New Hampshire at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., demonstrating at the Lowell Folk Festival in MA, being an active juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen since 1982, and participating and winning  Best in Show at the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland. His work has been featured in numerous exhibits including Shaping our Heritage and Deeply Rooted: New Hampshire Traditions in Wood, carving competitions and demonstrations and art galleries in New Hampshire, New England and nationally. In addition to his exceptional ability as a craftsman, Mr. Dolan generously teaches carving classes in his studio and has taught numerous apprentices through the NH State Council on the Arts Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program where he is the most decorated artist in the program's history.

A total of 6 awards will be presented by Governor Chris Sununu at a ceremony and reception on Wednesday, November 1, from 5-7:30pm at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. 

The 2017 Governor's Arts awards winners are:
  • Arts Education: Randy Armstrong, Barrington
  • Arts in Health: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Creative Arts Program, Lebanon
  • Creative Communities: City of Nashua
  • Distinguished Arts Leadership: Susan Strickler, Manchester
  • Folk Heritage: Fred Dolan, Strafford
  • Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure: Richard Whitney, Stoddard

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 Festivals, Fairs & Celebrations in New Hampshire!

Colombian Dancers at the 2016 Concord Multicultural Festival. Photo by Anura Guruge. 
It's that time again in New Hampshire-summer time (next week officially anyway)! Good weather (hopefully!) coupled with great food, music, culture, arts and community- there are lots of celebrations, fairs and festivals to be excited about this summer! Below are some festivals, fairs and other celebrations in and around New Hampshire to enjoy! Make sure to check out area Old Home Days, music and food festivals  and agricultural fairs as well!

June 23-25
Biddeford, ME
June 24
Concord, NH
June 29-July 4,
July 6-9
Washington, D.C.
Circus Arts, On the Move, 50 Year / 50 Objects & 50th Anniversary
July 8-9

Warner, NH
July 9
Laconia, NH
July 15
Exeter, NH
July 28-30
Lowell, MA
August 5-13
Newbury, NH
August 18-20
Manchester, NH
August 18-20
Lincoln, NH
August 19
Manchester, NH
We Are One-African, Caribbean and Latino Festival
August 26-27
Manchester, NH
September 2-3
Dover, NH
September 8-10
Greensboro, NC
September 9
Laconia, NH
September 15-17
Lincoln, NH
September 23
Hillsborough, NH
Schnitzel Fest New Hampshire
September 23-24
Portsmouth, NH

Friday, January 27, 2017

NHSCA FY18 Grant Opportunities & Upcoming Events

Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants assist communities to preserve their cultural heritage through traditional crafts, dance and music by funding a master traditional artist to teach an experienced apprentice in one-to-one sessions.
Deadline: July 7, 2017

Traditional Arts & Folklife Listing
 a juried listing of traditional artists, community scholars and folklorists who are available for presentations, demonstrations, lectures, performances and workshops on aspects of heritage and traditional arts of New Hampshire.
Deadline: Rolling

Youth Arts Project Grants fund high-quality arts and cultural programs that encourage creativity, develop new skills and foster success for young people beyond the normal school day.
Deadline: April 14, 2017

Upcoming NH State Council on the Arts Events

Grant Writing Workshop for Arts Education AIR and YAP Grants
Friday, February 10, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – pre-registration required

  NHSCA Open House – Thursday, February 9, 10am-3pm
Meet our new Heritage and Traditional Arts Coordinator and catch up with the rest of the staff. Share your projects and learn about our programs.
Click here for directions

Stay Connected with NH State Council on the Arts

NH State Council on the Arts:  Facebook  /  Twitter  
NH Heritage & Traditional Arts: Website / Blog / Twitter / Artist Roster

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Beginnings

 I have been settling in now for a few weeks and wanted to introduce myself as the new Heritage & Traditional Arts Coordinator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The transition to New Hampshire (I am originally from Pennsylvania) has been incredible so far and I am looking forward to exploring all that New Hampshire has to offer!
 I am very excited to continue the State Arts Council's Heritage & Traditional Arts program and be able to preserve and promote your traditional art forms within your communities. I look forward to working with each and every one of you in supporting the traditional arts community and preserving New Hampshire’s living cultural heritage! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding our grants and roster opportunities or if you would like to just touch base with me. 

Best Wishes,
Kayla Schweitzer

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 League of NH Craftsmen Fair- Guest Blog post by Mikael Pluhar

Out of all 83 years the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair has been running, I have witnessed exactly one day. 

One day of a nine-day event, the oldest craft fair in the country boasting over 200 booths of fine craft goods, over 350 artists, workshops demonstrations, and exhibits. I was just one of thousands of people coming to see the fair, many of whom have been coming for decades, and some who, like me, had just stepped on the fairgrounds for the first time.

My first day at the League Fair was phenomenal. The second I walked in I was a lost in a sea of beautiful things, and even though I spent most of my day trying to find my parents, who were equally lost, I enjoyed every second of the fair. As I wandered into the booths I was pleased to discover that all of the craftsmen were eager and happy to talk about their work. I met some of the most funny and interesting people and learned about a range of crafts from leather stitching to silk screening. To top it all off I turned a corner and discovered a long lost friend of mine manning one of the booths! There couldn’t have been a more perfect reunion, plus I went home with a lovely ring made out of an 1890’s spoon.

When I finally found my father he was still by the entrance, having walked directly into the blacksmithing tent and become captivated with the demonstration. Master blacksmith Garry Kalajian had been slowly replacing the safety rope around his exhibit with a chain he was fastening on site. All day long people wandered through his tent and pumped his bellows via a converted bicycle. What I didn’t personally witness I learned secondhand from my father, who had become so enamored with the traditional art of blacksmithing he was thinking about taking classes.

The League Fair has a wealth of traditional and contemporary arts on display. There were demonstrations on pottery, traditional woodworking without power tools, beading, and much more. I spent a while learning about painted canvas floor cloths, a traditionally colonial mat. The painted cloths shed water and protect your floors from grease, and can be easily made at home. My family and I were encouraged to try and design our own cloth for our home.

Because that’s what the fair does: it encourages the love of crafts. There wasn’t one booth I didn’t want to buy something from, and there wasn’t one workshop I didn’t want to take. I tried craft cheese and wool coats. My dad learned about steam engines, and my mom won tickets to ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway. All I can say is that I can’t wait for the Fair to come back next year!


The League of NH Craftsmen is a 2016/2017 recipient of a Public Value Partnership grant from the NH State Council on the Arts.

Mikael Pluhar is an intern at the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. He is currently a student at Vassar College where he studies Studio Art and Architecture.