Look for an official ad or a video promoting New Hampshire and you may find scenes of surfing, or hiking or canoeing. Look to social media and see official images of the White Mountains, the Lakes Region and the Seacoast. The conclusion you might come to is that the state has a beautiful outdoors, and that is the reason folks come here. A recent survey of the creative economy found that total industry expenditures amounted to nearly $31.2 million dollars annually in the Greater Concord region alone — an increase of $13.5 million from the previous study. Nonprofit cultural institutions in Greater Concord support more than 950 jobs, generating $22.4 million in household income to local residents. The annual impact to local and state government revenue is more than $2.8 million.
And while our neighboring states proudly talk about their cultural and artistic offerings, that just is not the case here anymore.
Not to say we should not talk about the beauty of our wonderful outdoors, but it would be smart to mix in the rest of the state. We have vital and culturally thriving cities, such as Keene, Concord, Exeter, and Nashua. We have more than 300 years of Western architecture. We have summer theatre and music festivals that draw folks here. We have historical societies and museums that offer all kinds of programs. And, every region has artists, writers and sculptures. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Sunapee show brings in huge crowds, as does the Highland Games. From Canterbury Shaker Village to Strawbery Banke. The Furniture Masters are a symbol of our creative vibrancy. Many define NH by our culture- and that is a huge generator of jobs and tourism. Many states have a great outdoors, but our culture and arts set us apart.
So, it is time to give the creative economy a seat at the table, and proudly acknowledge that art and creativity define our state as much as beautiful landscapes.