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Written in Granite: High hopes for Nashua Center for the Arts

Artist’s rendering of future Nashua Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Nashua Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy Harvey Construction
Artist’s rendering of future Nashua Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Nashua Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy Harvey Construction
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NASHUA, N.H. — Hey, John Mayer!

Please return to the beautiful state of New Hampshire soon.

According to my sources, the last time you were here in the 603 was in 2013 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford.

John Mayer is a talented songwriter, singer and guitarist with seven Grammy Awards. He’s also a native New Englander (Connecticut) who attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. Go figure.

His name popped up in conversation recently. My girlfriends are hoping that Mayer would eventually give a concert in our city’s new, 750-seat, performing arts center, which is currently under construction. That would be something, eh?  You just never know.

The $25 million downtown venue at 201 Main Street has now been named the Nashua Center for the Arts. I think it’s an excellent call by a local family who stepped up to the plate and generously donated an anonymous $1 million gift to the center. It also gave the family the final naming rights as part of the donation from what I have previously read.

I wish I knew who the big-hearted patrons were, but I do not.

Harvey Construction, based in Bedford, is the general manager of the project and has been doing an admirable job building and growing this fancy new facility right before our eyes in a highly congested area always busy with pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Spectacle Live, located in Lexington, Mass., will be the contracted manager and provide booking, promotion, marketing, ticketing and production services for the new venue.

From what I understand, the project is on track and making excellent progress, and if all goes accordingly, the curtain is expected to rise at the Nashua Center for the Arts by the end of the year.

I know that a number of Nashuans are hoping that the center would be more than just a home to professional theatrical and musical performances. In other words, we’re a city with a population of 90,000 and have a number of young people and adults who are local talents and could benefit from using such a state-of-the-art facility.

Peter Lally, the president of Spectacle Live, told the Nashua Telegraph two years ago that his management company looked forward to supporting local events. “We intend to become the venue of choice for nonprofit, civic and business events as well as family celebrations like wedding receptions.”

Lally has Lowell connections as an adjunct professor of music business at UMass Lowell, and his management company is also the day-to-day operator of Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

I have often spoken with Philip Scontsas about the downtown’s future, and for years, the well-known owner of Scontsas Fine Jewelry & Home Decor on Main Street has remained a strong supporter of a performing arts facility here believing it would bring the community together, enhance the quality of life for residents and provide an added economic engine for the city.

“It will give Nashua attention as a destination for the arts,” he likes to say.

Will enough folks fill the seats? Will the performers be famous enough to attract interest to the venue?

That remains to be seen. In the meantime, Nashua’s transforming its downtown, and this new center hopes to become the crown jewel of the future.

If you wish to support this vision, you can participate in the Name-A-Seat Campaign. Each gift is commemorated with a personalized nameplate with the text of your choice on the arm of each seat purchased.

For more information, visit www.nashuacommunityarts.org/seats.

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