Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

Peter Biello / NHPR

How do you get serious about baking bread? French bread, in particular, which takes hours to make and years to master.

For Manchester resident Benge Ambrogi, the path to becoming a serious baker began in the late 1980s, with a bad loaf made by someone else—the man who would become his father-in-law.

"It was terrible. Typical first loaf. Very heavy and monochromatic. Not a very interesting loaf."

"What did you tell him about his first loaf?" I asked.

The blockbuster 2003 thriller The Da Vinci Code launched Dan Brown into the best-selling stratosphere. More than 200 million copies of his books have sold worldwide since. Three of his novels have been made into films starring Tom Hanks as fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Brown is a disciplined writer, rising at 4 a.m. to a breakfast smoothie and "bulletproof" coffee, writing every day, and throwing himself into his research.

Cori Princell/NHPR

For the past few months, visitors to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester have had a chance to spend quality time with the artist Claude Monet.  Since July, the museum has had an exhibition, Monet: Pathways to Impressionism, showing works by the famous French painter. This is the final weekend to see it – it closes Monday.  

It’s just 4 paintings, in a small gallery with the walls painted deep red.  But together, the works tell a story about the artist.

Courtesy of Nashua Offiicals

Nashua aldermen rejected the $15.5 million proposal in September. But the question on Tuesday’s city ballot asks voters to decide whether lawmakers should reconsider.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Nashua aldermen recently rejected a plan to bring a performing arts center to the downtown. But Tuesday, voters will get a chance to weigh in.

And over the past few weeks, advocates for the center have been working long hours to make sure it gets the support it needs.

Sean Hurley

NHPR’s Sean Hurley recently took a walk to Moose Painting Pond, as he’s named it.  The most peaceful place in the universe, he supposes it to be.  Maybe because it’s so quiet and hidden – maybe because it’s a place where the things he invents seem to meet together with the things nature does.

Note: As with every Sean Hurley story, we really recommend giving this one a listen.

I found the path to the pond – and the most peaceful place in the universe - about six years ago while wandering around Sandwich Notch Road.

Moose Painting Pond, I call it. 

For generations, the little red house at the end of Via Tranquilla has been home to a legend. The kind that makes your heart pound and your hair raise. A ghost story... a murder mystery... a curse. 

On this episode, the keepers of this myth share the grisly story of Via Tranquilla. And then, the truth comes out. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf, author Joe Hill of Exeter, N.H. joins Peter Biello in studio.

Hill's new book, Strange Weather, is a collection of four short novels. In one, the sky rains needles that rip to pieces anyone unlucky enough to be outside. In another, a skydiver gets stuck on a cloud. And in a story without any supernatural connection, people with easy access to guns use them to devastating effect. Joe Hill is the author of many works, including the novels Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman.

                                                      

  
 

New Hampshire Public Radio is proud to announce Frank Bidart as the 2017 Winner of the Hall-Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. 

The Hall-Kenyon Prize honors Donald Hall, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and Jane Kenyon, former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and Donald Hall's late wife. The married poets lived and wrote together for nearly 20 years at Eagle Pond Farm - Hall’s ancestral home in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Carly Glovinski

The Museum of Art at UNH in Durham is presenting the work of fifteen artists, all of whom are past recipients of the prestigious Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant

The show, "Impact,” opens with a reception on Oct. 26 and runs through Dec. 15.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Kevin Roark waits tables at the Barley House in Concord. On this day, he stands at the host's station, greeting guests as they walk through the door. 

"Two?" Roark asks a pair of women who have come in for lunch. 

These women don't seem to recognize Roark. But he has a reputation among the regulars here. You may have encountered a server like Roark at other restaurants. A little theatrical or over the top.

Virginia Macgregor, author most recently of Wishbones, has a knack for capturing the voices of children and young adults and projecting her novels through their lenses, giving us young narrators with accurate levels of experience and naivety - and a perspective not often found in adult literature. Our conversation with her centered around that: how she conjures the voices of young people, insures they are three-dimensional, and navigates those voices around complicated adult situations.

Episode music by Broke for Free

Mary McIntyre / NHPR

The Hood Museum at Dartmouth College is presenting its first ever sound art exhibition this fall. Resonant Spaces: Sound Art at Dartmouth features seven installations throughout campus and the town of Hanover.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley took a tour of the installations with Amelia Kahl, the associate curator of academic programming for the museum.


Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Sy Montgomery's 30-plus year friendship began with a ferret bite. Since then, the pair of New Hampshire-based naturalists and science writers have traveled together from Costa Rica to Tanzania.  

Their new book is called Tamed and Untamed, a collection of essays from their long-time Boston Globe column of the same name.  On this episode, Sy and Liz share scientific findings and personal viewpoints that argue the line between human and animal is blurrier than you might think. 

Also in this episode: Where to look for moose in New Hampshire, and singer-songwriter Liz Longley

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, professor at Harvard Medical School, and writes about medicine and ethics for the New Yorker. He’s author of several best-selling books, most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The book questions the human cost of miraculous medicine, and urges a shift from the prevailing thought that human decline and death are signs of failures to instead think about how to make old age and the experience of dying better. Despite the grave topic, Gawande views it as a book about living.

Cider Bellies Doughnuts; Facebook

A listener asked,  "Does New Hampshire actually have any signature foods?" The contentious consensus, covered by Word of Mouth, is traditional boiled dinner.

But for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in New Hampshire, NHPR’s Christina Phillips offers her own suggestion, just in time for fall:  Apple cider doughnuts. 

NH Community Seafood

Last May, we reported on New Hampshire Community Seafood's effort to sign on at least 1,000 people for their community supported fishery, or CSF. A CSF is like a farm share, where subscribers can pick up seafood at various locations throughout the season. 

The push for new members was driven by a desire to support New Hampshire's ground fishermen. Their deadline was the end of summer, and with that now upon us, Andrea Tomlinson, manager of New Hampshire Community Seafood, joins NHPR's Peter Biello with an update.

Listen to their conversation right here:

Sara Plourde

Celeste Ng came out of the gate strong. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller and Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014. Her latest, Little Fires Everywhere, continues her exploration of family dynamics and the effect of being included or excluded from belonging. She has said in the past that her stories begin with images, so we began by asking her where those images come from.

Episode Music by Cheetara

An Artist's Roundtable

Sep 18, 2017

What does it take to "make it" as an artist in New Hampshire?  Without big-city galleries and crowds of well-heeled patrons, we find out how Granite State artists innovate, especially with social media transforming artistic outreach.  We also explore how our education system views the arts, when the STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and math, get top billing.     

The show originally aired on August 22, 2017. 

George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress

This weekend, the music of composer Amy Beach will echo throughout UNH’s campus during a two-day event timed to celebrate her 150th birthday.

Beach, who was born in Henniker in 1867, is often referred to as ‘the Dean of American Women Composers.’ At a time when women were often limited to writing parlor songs and other light fare, UNH Professor Peggy Vagts says Beach was a trailblazer, composing complicated, bold music.

“She took on really major works. She wrote a mass, wrote a symphony. She was the first American woman to do that,” says Vagts.

Ray Carbone for NHPR

The problem with most nature museums is that they’re too neat.

Everything is carefully labeled and preserved, enclosed in glass cases or behind various barriers. It’s all very nice and scientific, but it’s not what nature is like. Nature is messy.

Peter Biello for NHPR

For a half-century, UNH professor emeritus of plant biology and genetics J. Brent Loy has been in pursuit of genetically ideal gourd.

Loy, who is a researcher with the researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, has been using selective breeding techniques to create varieties of melons, pumpkins, and squash that satisfy the needs of commercial growers and gardeners alike.

Recently I stopped by UNH's Kingman Research Farm in Madbury to learn more about his work.

Louise Penny was well into her forties when she published Still Life, the first in what has become the wildly popular Armand Gamache mystery series. The novels are set in Québec, where Gamache is Chief Inspector of the provincial police force. They are meticulously plotted, part police procedurals, part exploration of human nature - and the precarious balance between good and evil. Louise Penny is now out with the thirteenth in the series, Glass Houses.

Episode Music by Dana Boulé.

Allegra Boverman

Renaissance-style frescoes are rare in this country. Yet one hangs on a wall in Nashua’s community theater.

At the Court Street building, summer campers dance and run through the hallways. The room is jammed and the kids barely notice the mural with its bright sun shining on Main Street icons, parks and river-ways.

What & How Teenagers Are Reading Today

Aug 28, 2017

Our Week of Summer Favorites continues with a look at teen reading. Smartphones, e-readers, and other internet-based content, like Twitter and Facebook, are changing how and what teenagers read. And despite the image of adolescents with their faces in their phones, it turns out young adult fiction is among the most successful types of books on the market.

  This show originally aired on June 12, 2017.

AP|Holly Ramer

What started as one mother's private outlet for grief has grown into a larger effort to comfort others and reduce the stigma of addiction in New Hampshire.

After her daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2014, Anne Marie Zanfagna painted a pink-and-purple portrait as a way to heal and remember her daughter's beauty and vibrancy. Since then, the Plaistow woman has painted more than 80 portraits for other families, and they're on display this month at the New Hampshire State Library in Concord.

The Center for Cartoon Studies and illustrator Harry Bliss are inviting a new generation of cartoonists to apply for a fellowship at Bliss's house. The well-known illustrator lives in the former home of a well-known author: J.D. Salinger.

Library of Congress

The MacDowell Colony, an artists’ retreat in Peterborough, has nurtured some of the most influential creative thinkers of the last century. This weekend, the colony will open its doors to the public for its annual Medal Day ceremony — where it plans to honor filmmaker David Lynch.

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

For most of the year, residents of New Hampshire can struggle to find good, authentic Latin cuisine. But one summer day every year, St. Aloysius of Gonzaga parish in Nashua’s ‘Tree Street’ neighborhood makes things a little easier.

That’s when they hold their annual fundraiser – the Latino-American festival. The fest features foodie favorites from Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador. The event celebrated its thirteenth year this past Sunday, and NHPR’s Jimmy Gutierrez went to grab a bite for Foodstuffs. 

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