Best of NH 2022 Arts & Culture

Where to enjoy an evening at the ballet, under the stars at an outdoor concert, at a jazz club and much more.

Editor’s Picks

African Drumming and Dance
This summer, catch the Akwaaba Ensemble’s West African drumming and dance to experience the rich and subtle rhythmic patterns and styles specific to various tribes. The ensemble is led by master percussionist and teacher Theophilus Nii Martey, who began studying traditional African music during his childhood in Ghana. The Akwaaba Ensemble uses the Akan language word for “welcome” for their name. Visit their website to learn more about their upcoming performances.

Art Gallery
It seems there are fewer places left that can be described as true hidden gems, but for New Hampshire art enthusiasts who crave an easy path into the creative soul of the Granite State, the Two Villages Art Society gallery in Hopkinton has a great deal to offer. The gallery showcases the work of New Hampshire painters, sculptors, artisans and photographers year-round. This summer, the gallery will have two exhibitions: “Pixels, Wood, Clay” in August and early September and “Out of the Woods” from mid-September to early October. 

Community Gathering Space 
Tucked along a corner of Route 85 in Exeter is an intimate gathering space for language and song. The Word Barn was created to promote the sharing and cultivation of the arts in an open and welcoming setting, and contribute to an already-existing and thriving arts community. Whether you are enjoying a concert inside the barn or sitting back in the meadow for a summer camp theater performance, the multifaceted venue provides unique and quality events, ranging from live music to comedy to wildlife education, that keep performers and patrons alike coming back for more, time and time again.

Magical Maestro
Andrew Pinard works his magic in strange ways. While he casts a spell on the audiences for his popular magical performances under his Absolutely Magic brand or as a reenactor of historical magic, he sometimes has to conjure up new operations for an old theater space (like the Claremont Opera House, which he directs). He once even turned a clothing store into a hatbox (well, a Hatbox Theatre in Concord — Also, Pinard is an authority on magic, both on stage and behind the scenes as a national deputy of the Society of American Magicians for over a decade, and as the editor of the magic history journal The Yankee Magic Collector. 

Outdoor Concerts
Natural beauty and music come together at the Lynda Cohen Performing Arts Series. This special lineup features four summer concerts (July 9 and 23, August 6 and 20) on the grounds of AMC’s Highland Center. Originating from her love for music and the mountains, Lynda Cohen imagined a series where people could come together among the mountains of Crawford Notch to enjoy one of her lifelong passions, music. Concerts are free, but registration is required via Eventbrite. Bring your own dinner or purchase in advance by phone (first-come-first-served basis). Pack your chairs, grab a blanket, and settle in for music under the stars.

Serious Jazz, Blues and Cuisine
Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club in Portsmouth weaves together a landmark turn-of-the-century building with a Moulin Rouge-style cabaret venue to create a dinner-club experience that music lovers of all varieties will enjoy. The venue itself is beautiful, plus it features leading-edge acoustical design and state-of-the-art production and sound and lighting technologies. Then there’s the Southern-inspired menu created by Executive Chef Nathan Varney, an impressive cocktail and wine list, and, most important, a range of performances by jazz and blues artists and Grammy-award winning musicians alike, from Christian McBride to Mavis Staples. With a multitude of rooms designed within the overall space (and a contemporary art museum on the first floor) — all the conditions are in place for that special connection between artist and audience to truly come alive. 

Summer Ballet
For ballet lovers who would welcome seeing an intimate and dynamic performance of “Swan Lake” this summer, the Northeastern Ballet Theatre of Wolfeboro and Dover will rival any ballet troupe anywhere. The troupe is made up of dancers who study and train at the school from a very young age. Each summer, the ballet company showcases its skill and artistry with live performances. Catch them in August at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord and at the Kingswood Arts Center in Wolfeboro. 

Readers’ Poll Winners

Art Gallery

Independent Movie Theater
Red River Theatres

Large Music Venue
Bank of NH Pavilion

Hayley LaPoint, WMUR

Currier Museum of Art

NH Radio Morning Show
Greg and the Morning Buzz

NH Radio Talk Show
“The Exchange” NHPR

Radio Station
NH Public Radio

Small Music Venue
Tupelo Music Hall

Theater/Performing Arts Venue
The Palace Theater

TV News Anchor
Erin Fehlau, WMUR

TV News Reporter
Ray Brewer, WMUR

TV Sports Anchor
Jamie Staton, WMUR

Categories: Best of NH Winners