What do participants explore and experience in the 10 monthly sessions of Leadership Upper Valley? This second installment of a yearlong series by John Drew, the program’s manager, describes Arts Day, which Lebanon Opera House Executive Direction and LUV alum Joe Clifford helped plan. Future sessions will look at the Upper Valley’s health and human services, justice, governance, transportation, housing, and economic development. See the series so far here.
On November 9, the LUV cohort had a chance to visit five different arts organizations in White River Junction and Lebanon, and heard from a sixth. Joe Clifford, Executive Director of Lebanon Opera House, introduced the group to the “arts ecosystem” of the Upper Valley. Through visits to, and/or hearing from Northern Stage, Junction Arts and Media, Opera North, AVA Gallery, Upper Valley Music Center, and Lebanon Opera House, participants learned about what each organization seeks to bring to the region, how artists experience different venues, and what opportunities exist to engage with each place.
By the end of the day, we had created self-portraits, played djembes, and created a pop-up talk show that asked people to reflect on feeling at home (or not) in the Upper Valley. The history and culture of each place helped us see the connections that cause a sheriff’s office to exist below an 800-seat Opera House, or learn why a musician might need to learn about state-of-the-art air circulation technology during a pandemic. Hearing from those who make these organizations successful shed light on varied models of leadership in different settings. Another essential outcome was ample time for the gathered leaders to have additional time to get to know each other and take some fun risks in creating art.