Central New Hampshire: Arts From The Heart

Views of the Bernsen Gallery and studio in Ashland, New Hampshire (photograph by Marcia Santore).

by Marcia Santore

Plymouth is the heart of New Hampshire — a cultural center that draws visitors from all over. Arts events happen all year long, but many are seasonal — you won’t find all the same choices in summer as in winter.

Downtown Plymouth is the best place to start. First, let’s hit the Museum of the White Mountains (34 Highland St.). The People’s Forest: A Centennial Celebration of the White Mountain National Forest (running through September 12) tells stories of the forest through new, recreated, and historic art and artifacts. There are so many associated events that you’ll need to check their website to see them all: www.plymouth.edu/museum-of-the-white-mountains.

Let’s head to Main Street and go into the Silver Center for the Arts, on the Plymouth State University campus for “Photography Through the Trees,” featuring photographs by John Anderson, on view through September 7 (opening reception July 12, 6:30 pm). While you’re on campus, sit with Bronze Bobby on his stone bench.

Across the street is Artistic Roots, a co-op displaying the work of 40 member artists, plus a space for visiting artists’ exhibitions. Café Monte Alto offers their own fair- trade coffee and tables indoors and outdoors. The café regularly exhibits work by local or regional artists. Grab a cup and sit with the art a while—so much better than glancing quickly and passing by.

Overlooking the Common is Maundy Mitchell Photography, studio of the renowned portrait photographer. You may be able to schedule a sitting, if she’s not on a shoot in Paris or someplace even more exotic. Try the contact page at maundymitchell. com. From there, it’s just a few steps to Pease Public Library, which serves as a community art exhibition space, thanks to local artist and exhibition coordinator Paulette Brace. This summer, fiber artist Susan Wei shows her “Art as Social Comment,” through July 7, when there’ll be an artist reception from 3-5 p.m.. “Ichthyoforms,” running from July 9 through August 7, presents fish paintings by Marcia Santore (full disclosure: that’s me) to coincide with the release of her book of the same name (a reception and book signing will be held on July 12 from 3–5 p.m.).

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