Friday, June 17, 2016

Oui, Franco Americans Let's celebrate! La Kermesse, Franco American Festival in New England

In the 1920s half of New Hampshire's population was foreign born with many residents having immigrated from Canada, Ireland, and Italy. Manchester was lovingly called la petite Canada and the French section on the west side, Mcgreggorville was nicknamed Notre Dame. 
In Manchester there was a French Opera,  French Orchestra and St. Mary's Church was adorned with the finest architectural craftsmanship in the city. 
There is still a strong presence of French-Canadian cultural heritage and arts in New England today. On June 16-18 in Biddeford, ME a New England wide festival, La Kermesse will celebrate Franco-American culture with food, craft, stories, and music. Linda Pouliot, a singer on the NH State Council on the Arts Traditional Artist roster will perform classic French standards. She will share stories of growing up in Berlin, NH, where she spent Sundays with her family sharing food and cultural traditions. 
Pouliot ensures us, "If you do not speak French, no worries, songs include the English version as well.  Beautiful song arrangements by Charlie Jennison, and melodies sure to please,"
She will be accompanied by seacoast artist Charlie Jennison on piano, Nate Therrien on bass and from Rob Duquette from Saco Maine.
The New Hampshire Humanities Council recently held a day-long symposium of speakers in Moltonborough, NH on Franco-American Life and culture in NH. The symposium accompanies an exhibit of photos and text at the Castle in the Clouds that will be available to travel around the state.

If you would like to learn more about your own heritage, the NH Historical Society will be sponsoring a genealogy workshop focused on French Canadian ancestry on June 25th. 

Below: video of Sandy La Fleur, Paul Lizotte, and others performing French Canadian fiddle tunes with a jig doll or gigeux at the NH Preservation Alliance Old House & Barn Expo.
A video posted by @juliannestarrynight on

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Americans for the Arts releases Statement on Cultural Equity

 At the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts we put a lot of thought, effort, and action into ensuring creative opportunities are accessible to all. In Folk & Traditional Arts that usually means making sure the traditional arts of rural communities, folk and craft, cultural traditions, and religious artistic practices are given the means to be celebrated and passed down to younger generations. All of these unique artistic practices affirm and connect us with our diverse cultural heritage.

Americans for the Arts released their statement on Cultural Equity earlier this year. At one page in length, it is an inspiring reminder for what we need to work toward every day.
Definition of Cultural EquityCultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.
Acknowledgements & Affirmations
  • In the United States, there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.
  • Cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts sector. 
  • We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.
  • Everyone deserves equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society. 
  • The prominent presence of artists challenges inequities and encourages alternatives.

    Modeling Through Action
    To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, we strive to…
  • Pursue cultural competency throughout our organization through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.
  • Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and report organization progress.
  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, and advisory bodies.
Fueling Field Progress
To pursue needed systemic change related to equity, we strive to…
  • Encourage substantive learning to build cultural competency and to proliferate pro-equity policies and practices by all of our constituencies and audiences.
  • Improve the cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the full breadth of American society.
  • Generate and aggregate quantitative and qualitative research related to equity to make incremental, measurable progress towards cultural equity more visible.
  • Advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes cultural equity.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cultural Fairs & Festival this summer in New Hampshire

Wow, New Hampshire. We know how to celebrate! 

Burundi Drummers at Concord Multicultural Festival
 From fairs, to festivals, to food celebrations and tons of music, there is no shortage of things to do.  Below are some of the state's cultural festivals, many of which are free. Be sure to also check out area Old Home Days (the tradition originated in NH), Music & Food Festivals, and our famous Agricultural Fairs
Cultural Festivals

June 16- 19
Biddeford, ME
June 25
Concord, NH
June 29- July 4; July 7-10
Washington, DC
Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Basque & Peruvian
July 9-10
Warner, NH
July 10
Laconia, NH
July 16
Exeter, NH
July 29-31
Lowell, MA
August 6-14
Sunapee, NH
League of NH Craftsmen Sunapee Fair, traditional and contemporary craft
August 13
Manchester, NH
We Are One, African, Caribbean, Latino Festival
August 19-21

August 20
Manchester, NH

Winchester, NH
September 10
Laconia, NH
September 16-18
Lincoln, NH
New Hampshire Highland Games, Scottish Heritage
2016 TBA
Somersworth, NH
Jakkarta Fair, Indonesian festival
2016 TBA
Dover, NH
2016 TBA
Manchester, NH

The NH State Council on the Arts has put together a reflection and observation guide for festival organizers and volunteers. If you are interested in helping with a future festival in your community, consider visiting festivals with this guide to help you remember all the good ideas you want to use at your event.