Partnership grows between Arts Council, public arts group

COURTESY PHOTODerry's public arts group brought two donated pianos to the downtown last year, part of an overall mission to support all kinds of arts in the community. The group plans to bring additional pianos to town this year. The group is also now an official committee under the Greater Derry Arts Council.

DERRY — A group that supports the arts and creativity around the community is now officially connected to the Greater Derry Arts Council.

The Arts Council recently announced that the town's public arts committee is now an official committee under the Council.

Michael Gendron, president of the Greater Derry Arts Council, said the public arts group's mission fits in perfectly with the Arts Council goal of bringing arts of all types to Derry.

That can also lead to successful economic development by drawing people to town for shows, programs and special arts activities.

"Having the public arts committee on board will provide new and exciting avenues of artistic expression that have long been overlooked," he said, adding welcoming the new group into the fold "was a natural course of action that aligns perfectly" with the Arts Council mission to promote the arts in the community.

The public arts group got its start last year as an ad hoc gathering to gauge interest in public arts projects, according to Derry Economic Development Director Beverly Donovan.

One project that got off the ground last year was an effort to place donated pianos around the downtown, offering people a chance to stop and play a few tunes amid their travels on Broadway.

Donovan came on board in Derry in February 2018, taking the economic development job and putting efforts in place since to boost the town, its businesses and residents.

More donated pianos are set to come to town once warmer weather arrives, Donovan said. Pinkerton Academy is also interested in doing their own version of the piano project, Donovan added.

Donovan added that being affiliated with the non-profit Arts Council is also a good way to help secure donations/funding or grants to support arts programs and projects.

The Greater Derry Arts Council is an all-volunteer group that generally oversees the programming at the historic Derry Opera House, located within the Adams Memorial Building on West Broadway.

To learn more about the public arts efforts, contact Donovan at beverlydonovan@derryn.org. Visit derryoperahouse.com for a schedule of upcoming events. The Greater Derry Arts Council can be contacted at gdac_info@derryarts.org.

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