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.

Katherine Garrova

At her home studio, embroidery artist Sarah Benning stitches together one of her pieces. It’s a sun-filled room at this time of the morning. The artist’s finished work spills into the space around her with dozens of circular canvases bubbling up onto the walls. There are also plenty of house plants around.

 

“A lot of my work is inspired by my own house plants,” Benning says, “The very first plant pieces I stitched were actually inspired by houseplants that I killed, luckily I’ve gotten better and they’re not all dead plants now.”

Katherine Garrova

The trend of the speakeasy bar - drinking establishments that play with the history of our prohibition days - has taken off in big cities like New York and L.A. But New Hampshire now has at least a couple secretive watering holes of its own.

There’s a new place to grab a drink in Concord called Chuck’s BARbershop. Liu Vaine is the owner and he's started up a similar place in Nashua called CodeX.


Sam Hurley

Concord lost one of its most provocative landmarks last Thursday night when artist Thomas Devaney closed his giant Eye for good.  For the last five years the foam and wood sculpture came to life after dark when Devaney turned on his projector and lit the 6-foot by 8-foot structure with a filmed loop of his own blue right eye. NHPR’s Sean Hurley attended the closing of the Eye and sends us this. 

A lot of people hear "cooperative business" and think of their local food co-ops. But, the co-op model isn't limited to bulk bins of quinoa - it was designed to share profits with workers and give small businesses leverage against megastores.

So, what role do they play in the Granite State? 

Plus, we'll hear from area high school students, in this post-Parkland moment, who are organizing to tell lawmakers: Never Again. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

In some countries in Europe, red wine is part of daily life. Not so in the US. And as a result, Americans may be missing out on the health benefit of a particular antioxidant found in the skins of grapes. Now a chemist at UNH is trying to get more of this antixodiant, resveratrol, into the American diet through coffee. 

Glen Miller is chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, and a few years ago, he first got the idea of putting resveratrol into spring water. But when he did, he saw a huge problem. 

James Napoli

There are the mysteries you know about, and then there are the ones lurking in your midst. For the staff at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, it was a bit of both.

The site, run by the National Park Service, is the estate of Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens is behind many iconic monuments still standing today, most famously of Civil War heroes in Chicago and Boston. 


Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is presenting the work of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in an exhibit that runs through May 20th.  Saint-Gaudens was the most important American sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century, and this is the first major museum exhibit of his work in New England in more than 30 years.  

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

Matthew Jones from Hudson and I share a common beef with New Hampshire: a serious lack of great pizza. Matthew reached out to us through our Only in New Hampshire project, in which we do our best to answer listener questions about quirks of the Granite State.

He wrote to us with a question (or three) about New Hampshire pizza:

Why does every town have a House of Pizza? And why is every House of Pizza exclusively the Greek style of pizza? And why is the Greek pizza so popular here?

The Nashua Board of aldermen voted Tuesday to approve a new $15.5 million performing arts center. All but one of the aldermen voted for the complex, which is set to go in at the Alec’s shoe store building on Main Street.

Late last year the Board voted against the project, with some citing cost as a factor.

Big Brother and the Tax Man

Feb 9, 2018

New Hampshire is one of 9 states without a state income tax, and one of just two states without a broad-based sales tax either. 

Democrat or Republican, almost every serious candidate for governor takes the Pledge: a promise that they won't even consider a broad-based state income or sales tax.

When listener Mary Douglas moved to New Hampshire in 2005, she couldn't make sense of the state's strong anti-tax sentiment. For our "Only in NH" series, she asked us: why doesn't New Hampshire have a state income tax?

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

James Napoli

New works in progress by black playwrights will be performed this weekend in the Upper Valley. The festival is sponsored by JAG productions, a relatively new black theater company that’s been drawing audiences across western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont.


Chris Jensen

When the state of New Hampshire submitted a bid to Amazon , throwing Londonderry into the ring as home for the company’s second headquarters, they summed up their case like this: "All the benefits of Boston… without all the headaches."

Of course, that logic doesn't really apply if you live in New Hampshire's northernmost towns, where the closest city of size is Sherbrooke, Quebec.  In this episode, as part of NHPR's series "The Balance", we look at arts, culture and economy north of the notches.  

Plus, New Hampshire filmmaker and visual artist Amy Jenkins on her film Instructions on Parting, which premiers at MOMA later this month. 

Sara Plourde

After more than two years and 60 episodes, we are signing off, to make room for new projects and podcasts (but episodes will continue to live online if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration). Thanks to everybody who listened and learned from the show! For other literary offerings from NHPR, check out: The Bookshelf, featuring authors from around New Hampshire and the region, as well as books about New Hampshire by authors from anywhere. Writers on a New England Stage

Courtesy

Jeff Rapsis is a hard man to shut up once he gets going on his favorite subject. Ask him about how silent movies used to be staged, and Rapsis overwhelms you with information, a walking Wikipedia entry with actor anecdotes and deep history at his fingertips. He’s been into the genre since he was a kid growing up in Nashua.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Making your own liquor at home is illegal under federal law. A bill in the New Hampshire House right now would legalize the distilling of a limited amount of alcohol in the same way the state regulates in-home production of wine and beer. One local entrepreneur who sells stills is hoping the bill will provide a boost to his business.

In a workshop off Depot Street in Manchester, foreman Jeremy Burrows rolls a beautifully-shined sheet of copper through a machine to emboss it.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When an elementary or middle school student can't pay for lunch, that student will run up lunch debt. Students with debt are sometimes given an "alternative meal" instead of a hot lunch, and that could lead to shame and embarrassment. Recently a man in North Haverhill launched an effort to wipe out kids' lunch debt in his local schools...and is now promoting what he calls "lunch equality." 

Abhi Sharma / Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Manchester and the Millyard have undergone redevelopment over the past decade with the opening of new restaurants and shops. But now residents are getting an independent bookstore.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Liz Hitchcock, co-owner of The Bookery Manchester, which will open this spring. And she plans to make this bookstore more than another retail establishment downtown, but also a gathering place for the community.

Some of you may know Manoush Zomorodi as host of the podcast Note to Self from WNYC. She is also, now, an author. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self came out of her own experience and curiosity about the creative process and confronting digital distractions - one of the biggest challenges for writers. She asked her audience to help her figure out what it would mean to let all of that go and to learn to shut down in order to build your creative juices up.

As the farm-to-table movement caught on nation-wide, a cohort of farmers, chefs, and organizers put in the legwork to make local food possible here in New Hampshire. 

This week on Word of Mouth, we trace the history of local food in the state, and we address a listener's question: How can you distinguish real, authentic local food from the dizzying display of marketing gimmicks? 

We also hang out with a local arts collective on the seacoast, and we sit down with National Book Award-winning poet Frank Bidart. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

And now it’s time for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in the Granite State.

A new beer on tap at Portsmouth Brewery does more than give you a buzz. It aims to ease the symptoms of menopause. It’s called Libeeration, and several years ago, when Joanne Francis pitched the idea to her colleagues at the brewery, the men didn’t get it.

"It was met with nothing short of disdain and horror," she says. "And I'm not exaggerating when I say that."

Conventional, linear narratives are not really Jennifer Egan’s thing. She's a shape-shifter of fiction – jumping through time, space, voices and forms. She's written a graphic novel, a short story composed of tweets, and, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From The Goon Squad, a kind of novel-as-concept album. Jennifer Egan takes on historical fiction in her newest novel, Manhattan Beach. We called her at her home in Brooklyn to ask about her process and how she begins her unpredictable novels.

Best Of: Holiday Book Show 2017

Dec 8, 2017
The Exchange

Our popular holiday tradition takes place on Monday, December 11, with Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter and Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord.  We look at the top books of 2017 and discuss best books for gift-giving...and receiving.  And scroll down to click on the photos below for a look at what some NHPR folks are hoping for this year!


Nina Subin

Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, co-creators of the phenomenally popular Welcome to Nightvale podcast, the “Nightvale Presents” series of podcasts, and New York Times bestselling co-authors of the new novel, It Devours, their second book set in the fictional world of Nightvale. We caught up with them at the 2017 Boston Book Festival.

Episode Music by Disparition

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Think bagpipes, and you likely think Scotland. But one of the world’s largest bagpipe manufacturers happens to call Nashua, New Hampshire home.

That company, however, is facing an unexpected wrinkle in its international supply chain.

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

A proposal to build a performing arts center in downtown Nashua got a shot of support from local voters Tuesday.

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