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Currier and the city: Stronger link is needed

February 11. 2018 12:35AM

Museum Director Alan Chong talks about a piece in the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Currier Gallery of Art in November of 2017. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Manchester's Currier Museum of Art deserves to be in a better neighborhood.

We are not suggesting relocating the physical location of one of the finest treasures of the city - and the state, for that matter. The museum's surrounding neighbors, mostly residential, are fine. But the city should work with the Currier to address museum director Alan Chong's challenge to make a stronger physical connection between downtown and 150 Ash St.

"It's not far," Chong has said, "but there's kind of a psychological barrier between us and downtown. We're kind of in the middle of nowhere. We're not really North End. We're not really downtown."

"From an outsider, the distances are tiny. We should just be able to fix up the sidewalks and change the traffic patterns on Beech Street so it isn't a freeway."

Beech Street, like some of the city's other one-way racetracks, is more than a psychological problem. It is a real and dangerous fact and we would like to see newly-minted Mayor Joyce Craig and other city leaders address it.

In an era of "walkable neighborhoods," it would be in Manchester's civic and business interests to find a feasible way to link the Currier to downtown just as it would be to better link downtown with the Millyard.

With driverless car technology here, is it not possible that a 21st century version of the trolleys of old might provide such a link?

Arts History Editorial Manchester

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