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.

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. 

Courtesy of Opera North

Blow-Me-Down Farm occupies more than 40 acres along the Connecticut River, just across the road from Saint Gaudens National Historic Site. The National Park Service owns the property, and has been working with Lebanon-based Opera North on a plan to spruce up the estate and make it a center for the arts.  

Ben Henry for NHPR

For someone struggling to feed themselves or their family, it can be hard to eat healthy. Fresh produce is expensive. The offerings from food pantries or soup kitchens are often canned meals or bread items.

An incentive program in New Hampshire is working to change that, by helping low income individuals get their hands on fresh food at farmers markets.

IIP Photo Archive via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/Pj7gW9

On today's show: 

Richard Phibbs

Michael Cunningham is best known as the author of The Hours, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, which imagines a fateful day in the life of Virginia Woolf and its modern parallels.

But he's a man of many genres - he's also co-written a screenplay, walked readers through Provincetown, Mass with a travelogue, and turned fairy tales on their heads, as he does in his recent collection of short fiction, A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Episode Music by Blue Dot Sessions
Ad Music by Uncanny Valleys

Currier Museum of Art

Outside the Currier Museum this Saturday evening, you’ll find live music, chalk drawing, face painting, and something called an “art battle.” Five food trucks will line the streets, and when twilight sets in, a parade will start.

The museum is hosting an event called "Twilight at the Currier."

It's part of a new focus by the museum on community engagement. Karen Graham, the Currier's deputy director, says the museum has been looking for more ways to have people visit in a casual setting.

Ghostowns, Civics 101, & Andrew Greer

Jul 21, 2017
Logan Shannon for NHPR

On today's show:

The White House kicked off its Made in America Week on Monday with a showcase of locally-made products from each state.

There were well-known brands like Campbell’s Soup from New Jersey and Gibson Guitars from Tennessee.

And right there along with those bigger names was Cider Bellies Doughnuts. The Meredith-based company was chosen to represent the Granite State at the event.

Ben McLeod via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2xMv5

On today's show: 

Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/d6GCKA

On today's show: 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

An unassuming brick building in Concord now carries the name of one of the most tireless promoters of the state’s arts and cultural assets.

On Tuesday afternoon, friends, relatives and lawmakers gathered in the shade of a large tree for a bill signing and dedication ceremony of the Van McLeod Building, the new formal name for the offices of the state’s Department of Cultural Resources on Pillsbury Street. McLeod, who died last summer at the age of 70, served as Commissioner of the Department for 24 years.

To the uninitiated, it's the French horn — though that's a bit of a misnomer. To its players and students, it's simply a horn, an instrument that has featured in orchestras for centuries.

The horn's sound is easily recognizable thanks to the prominent role it's played in some of the most epic classical songs and movie themes. But it's still an uncommon instrument, and not the easiest one to build community around. To that end, dozens of horn players head into the woods in the White Mountains every summer to celebrate and learn more about their instrument.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Since 1847, the Exeter Brass Band has been filling the air with horns and cymbal crashes.

The New Hampshire ensemble is one of the oldest continuously performing bands in the country. This summer, they’re back at it, doing the usual Monday night run of free concerts from the Exeter bandstand, also known as the Swasey Pavilion.

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