Council supports community arts

AMANDA SABGA/File photoLarry Casey, left, and Greg Descoteaux, both of Londonderry perform during a past Arts Cafe event. The Londonderry Arts Council hosts many events and performances throughout the year, including the annual Arts Cafe.

LONDONDERRY — It's about making sure the arts are alive and well in the community.

That's the mission of the Londonderry Arts Council as it continues to plan events that keep all kinds of artists in the spotlight.

That includes those who paint, draw, photograph, sing or play instruments.

At a meeting May 20, Arts Council Chairman Larry Casey gave town councilors a look into the group, saying the main focus is to highlight those with talents in the community and to offer venues and opportunities for public performances. It's also about enhancing Londonderry residents' quality of life while making the community a more attractive place to live.

Keeping the arts alive and well is key to achieving that mission, Casey said.

Planning for the months ahead is well underway.

Upcoming events include the 18th season of the popular summer concert series on the Town Common, with shows held weekly beginning in June.

The Common bandstand will feature many returning acts and newcomers playing many styles of music suitable for all families to enjoy. The new season typically kicks off with a performance by the Londonderry High School jazz band.

The summer concerts draw a crowd.

"We are seeing more and more young families coming out, new moves to town," Casey said. "To me, that's an opportunity to plug new residents into the community."

Since this year is also the 300th anniversary of the original Nutfield settlement, there will be an extra bonus concert to coincide with this summer's Old Home Day schedule in August.

Casey said the Arts Council also hosts the annual Art in Action event at Mack's Apples where area artists spend a weekend demonstrating their various art talents.

Artists are also featured monthly in displays at Leach Library, some are local talents and others come from around the region.

"We have a waiting list of people interested in exhibiting there," Casey said.

An Arts Cafe also offers an "open mic" style of performance space along with artist demonstrations in February. The Cafe moved to Orchard Christian Fellowship last year.

Casey said one event near and dear to his heart is the return of the "Nutfield Sessions" program last year, an effort he and good friend and fellow musician Greg Descoteaux started as a way to gather musicians to play in relaxed atmospheres.

The open mic program is now held on the first Thursday of the month at O'Shea's Caife and Tae in Londonderry.

Casey said the program is growing.

"We are getting some really great musicians," he said.

The June Nutfield Sessions event will be the last until the program starts again in September.

Casey thanked the town for its continuing support of the Arts Council.

Town Manager Kevin Smith said he was impressed with the Arts Council and all its volunteers do to bring a vibrant arts program to the community.

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