What our community and others are saying about the educational, cultural, and economic impact of arts education

“The performance space that you are envisioning is something that can not only serve our school and community, but really also be a draw for tourists, which is an increasingly important part of our local economy.”

Gordon Peery, President
Monadnock Center for History and Culture

“Keene is as vibrant a downtown as it is because of the Colonial Theatre.”

Bob Elliott, Chief Financial Officer
Monadnock Economic Development Corporation

“The game is changing. It isn’t just about math and science anymore. It’s about creativity, imagination and, above all, innovation.”

Dr. Alan Brinkley, Nevins Professor and former Provost
Columbia University
Business Week, 2007

“Having had two children who have come through the ConVal Drama Department, I am fully aware that the performing arts space is in serious need of an update. This project is vitally important for ConVal High School students but also for the community at large. Having worked with Children and The Arts Festival for 21 years, I am well aware of the limitations of local performance space and how these limitations hinder offering a first class experience for our community. The arts help make our community vital, and a wonderful visual and performing arts space will help the arts continue to thrive here.”

Terry Reeves, Director
Children and the Arts Festival

“Participating in the performing arts at ConVal–both music and theatre–gave me lasting friendships and helped me solidify my passion for classical music. As an arts administration professional at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I am deeply indebted to my peers and teachers at ConVal who taught me so much. An up-to-date performing arts space would be an incredible opportunity for students to create friendships, learn new skills, and encourage passions that will serve them both personally and professionally for years to come.”

Caroline Eichler
ConVal High School ’07


Rodney Miller, NH Artist Laureate  •  Bev & Ben Bacon  •  Ruth Benedict  •  Nina & Walker Boyle  •  Kris & Jennie Calnan  •  Linda Caracappa  •  Gary Ciocci  •  Deb Coltey  •  Alexandra Crocker •  Dave DeWitt, Phase65, Inc.  •  Cindy Dickinson  •  Bruce Dodge •  Jenny Donelan  •  Karen Krugh Dudra  •  Caroline Eichler •  Griffen Fletcher •  Laura & Jonathan Gourlay  •  Wendy & Lawrence Graves •  Robin Gregg & Bill Horton  •  Nancy Harrowitz  •  Dan Hurlin  •  Carl Amos Johnson, MBA, CFP, AIF  •  Karen Lowenthal  •  Janice MacDonald  •  Kathy Manfre  •  Mary Lou O’Neil  •  Cynthia & Vicente Orlandella  •  Gordon Peery  •   Lynn Phillips  •  Jessie Pollock  •  Terry Reeves  •  Carol & John Richards  •  Rebecca Richards  •  Melody Russell  •  Melissa Stephenson  •  Peter & Jennifer Stevenson  •  Jonas Taub  •  Aaron Taub  •  Laura Trowbridge  •  Jane & Mark Wisan  •  Carol Wyndham •  Dorothy Yanish

What will a Visual and Performing Arts Center offer?
  • An appropriate performance space that will encourage and empower students to perform to their highest levels of ability
  • The ability to host festivals and other events that invite others into our community
  • Gallery space that can professionally showcase the work of students and guest artists
  • A space for our musicians that is built for music performance
  • Elimination of use of athletic facilities for musical activities
  • Potential income from various outside performing groups
  • High-quality venue for various presentations, for use by district communities
  • An ADA-compliant facility
  • Adequate seating capacity to meet our needs
  • Expanded possibilities for school events
  • The ability to stage larger productions (including musicals) with full instrumentation and uncramped choreography
  • A cultural amenity that will attract additional families to the school district and Monadnock area
Community Need

The Contoocook Valley Visual and Performing Arts Center organizing committee is convinced that the facility and its programs will bring high value to the community on three fronts:

Educational Value   Promotion of skills and attributes identified by parents and ConVal High School for students to be successful in their post-graduate years (partial list):

  • presentation skills
  • organizational skills
  • empathy
  • collaboration
  • critical thinking/problem solving
  • staying calm in a crisis
  • ability to work to deadline
  • awareness of how others perceive us
  • courage
  • resourcefulness
  • being a team player
  • versatility
  • flexibility
  • financial and project management
  • ability to communicate

Future Employees  We are committed to working with the business community to ensure our public schools are training valuable workers for the future.  There is no question that STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are a vital part of education, but STEM is missing a key set of creativity components that are equally critical to succeeding in a competitive and innovative workforce, and those skills are summarized with the letter ‘A’ for arts (“STEAM”).

Arts education helps create the kind of employees local and national businesses want to hire.  Two years ago, the Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, working with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), conducted a survey of business people and educators.  The study, entitled Ready to Innovate, demonstrated that more and more companies are looking for skill sets in their new employees that are much more arts/creativity-related than science/math-related.  Companies want workers who can brainstorm, problem-solve, collaborate creatively and contribute/communicate new ideas.

Economic Vitality Studies confirm that arts exhibitions and performance programs promote economic vitality. A strong arts and performance venue in the center of the community will be a feature that attracts residents seeking quality education for their children and an enriching lifestyle for themselves and their families.

Thornton Wilder - Center for the Arts