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Derry council meeting will focus on growing arts groups

Union Leader Correspondent

November 25. 2012 8:50PM

DERRY - The Derry Town Council will hold a workshop during its Tuesday, Dec. 4 meeting with the Derry Arts Council and the other local organizations leasing space at the Adams Memorial Building on West Broadway.

The meeting will be a follow-up to a workshop held over the summer where the arts council laid out some of the actions and plans the arts council has taken to increase the use of the Derry Opera House in the Adams Memorial Building.

"The arts council has expressed an interest in renewing its lease, which expires on Dec. 17," said Town Councilor Joel Olbricht.

Olbricht said he hopes to continue the discussion begun over the summer about the ways the arts council can increase business, and in turn, serve as an economic engine for Derry's downtown.

Council Chairman Brad Benson initially said the workshop on Dec. 4 would also focus on downtown development, but Olbricht noted that the discussion with the arts council and the other tenants at the Adams Memorial Building, including the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, might take up all the time that night.

"Our first workshop meeting in January might be a good time to talk about (downtown development)," said Benson.

Town Administrator John Anderson said the current tenants in the building are tenants-at-will, and none have renewed their leases.

During the summer workshop with the town council, Derry Arts Council President David Nelson spoke about a concert series that brought four concerts to the venue during the spring.

Although the concert series did not bring in a big enough audience for the arts council to break even, Nelson said the feedback from the concertgoers was positive concerning the quality of the performance and the venue.

About 50 people attended each performance, Nelson said, with about 150 patrons needed per performance for the arts council to break even.

Nelson said the arts council was working on bringing a concert series to Derry throughout the year and was also looking to work with area merchants and organizations such as the Derry Downtown Committee to increase awareness and possibly bring in sponsorships.

Most nonprofit arts groups get the majority of their funding through corporate sponsorships and not ticket sales, Nelson said.

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