Art and wellness

A talk with the new director of the NH State Council on the Arts

Adele Bauman, who recently transitioned from the New Hampshire Division of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to become the director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, shared insights into her career shift, her plans for utilizing the arts to bolster New Hampshire communities and her major goals for the Council, and offered some advice for aspiring artists in the state.

What made you switch from health and human services to the arts sector?

The arts became a part of my life in childhood. They remained a parallel passion throughout my adult life. I worked as a studio photographer and graphic designer prior to my joining NH DHHS. I had been with NH DHHS for almost 16 years when this opportunity arose at the NHSCA. I found myself leaping for the chance to transfer my state level government skillset to a state arts agency. I also had a previous focus on service to New Hampshire’s children and youth as a child protection service worker and then as an administrator at the Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health. My time at the NHSCA offers me the ability to think about ways to support New Hampshire’s residents throughout their entire lifespan through the wellness the arts can bring to each of us.

How do you plan to use the arts to help New Hampshire communities?

The arts can provide wellness to our New Hampshire residents. Stronger individuals lead to stronger communities. Stronger communities lead to a stronger state. The arts can regenerate communities as well as provide opportunities for increased social connection, interface, collaboration and open-mindedness across populations regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Increased arts participation among New Hampshire students could enhance academic performance, increase their chances for success after high school and encourage them to become more dynamically engaged with their communities through participation with such things as voting and volunteerism. The arts are a major player for increasing economic drivers within communities. Increasing access and equity within the arts literally translates into health benefits for the community, which has a positive impact on the quality of life for all residents. This is true whether one is creating or viewing the arts.

What is one major goal you have for the Arts Council?

My major goal is to continue to support and strengthen both the mission and vision of the NHSCA. The State Arts Council provides a wide variety of services, competitive grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, schools, health care facilities and to individual artists with the intent to support the arts to thrive in New Hampshire and increase accessibility to all New Hampshire residents in all ages and stages of their lives.

Are there any specific groups or sectors you’re looking forward to working with?

Not especially. I have been learning so much about New Hampshire in my first few months of work. Seeing New Hampshire through the lens of our many local artists and art organizations fills me with so much pride and hope for what lays ahead.

How has your personal interest in art influenced your approach to this role?

In the same way that I could never fully put my camera down, I cannot take the ‘social worker’ out of who I am. Educating myself about how the arts impact wellness for humans of all ages drives my work. My wish is for all individuals to welcome the arts into their lives. The benefits are there to support and offset some of the more challenging aspects of our daily lives.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring artists in New Hampshire?

We all need you to keep creating, whether we all know it yet or not. Your dedication and hard work makes us all stronger.

Featured photo: Adele Bauman. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 24/02/08

Poetry competition

Due to its growing popularity, the New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud competition will hold four semi-finals this month, as announced by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The program, which involves around 5,000 students from 39 high schools and school groups, encourages the mastery of public speaking skills and self-confidence through the memorization and recitation of classic and contemporary poetry. Open to all high school students, including those from home school groups, the competition will progress from classroom to school championships, and then to regional semi-finals hosted at Rochester Opera House, Silver Center for the Arts in Plymouth, Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, and New England College in Henniker on specified dates in February. Finalists will compete at the state final in Concord on March 15, with the winner advancing to the national finals in Washington, D.C., to compete for $50,000 in awards. These events are free and open to the public. Visit

Mail concerns

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas expressed their concerns about proposed changes to the Manchester Processing and Distribution Center by the United States Postal Service (USPS). At a press conference in Manchester on Feb. 5, they highlighted the potential negative impact these changes could have on mail service in New Hampshire, especially for rural communities and the elderly. The delegation, having previously sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, urged the USPS to reconsider its plans, warning of significant consequences if the facility’s operations were moved to Boston. They emphasized the importance of timely mail service for New Hampshire residents and businesses, especially for critical deliveries like paychecks and medications. Shaheen and Hassan have been active in supporting USPS reforms to ensure prompt mail delivery across the state and have called for financial relief and operational improvements for the USPS, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, they have addressed issues like security in change of address requests and the timely delivery of ballots during elections. Following a report requested by Sen. Hassan, the USPS hired more than 150 new permanent employees in New Hampshire in 2021 to address staff shortages contributing to postal delays.

Historic properties

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources recently added five properties to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. According to a press release, the Fitch-Brown-Patten House in Claremont, built in the 1830s with Greek Revival details and renovated in the 1930s, now serves as a space for the Claremont Historical Society. The Bridgman House in Hanover’s Etna Village, dating back to circa 1820, is notable for its association with the education of the deaf-blind, including Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher. The William Peabody House in Milford, constructed around 1740, has historical significance tracing back to the Revolutionary War. The Antrim Grange #98, originally built circa 1791, evolved from a meetinghouse to a town hall and now a Grange hall. Lastly, the Sunset Hill Golf Course and Clubhouse in Sugar Hill, established in 1897, represents one of New Hampshire’s earliest golf courses, with its 1900 clubhouse being a rare example of early golf architecture. These additions aim to celebrate and preserve New Hampshire’s historic resources, and property listing in the State Register does not place restrictions on owners. Visit

Child care

On Feb. 5, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen visited Easterseals New Hampshire Child Development Center in Manchester to discuss the challenges of the child care crisis in the state, particularly issues related to access and staffing. According to a press release, this visit follows New Hampshire’s loss of nearly 1,500 child care slots since 2019 due to pandemic-related closures. Sen. Shaheen has been involved in advocating for child care solutions, urging Congress to approve a $16 billion funding request for child care stabilization grants and securing federal funding through the American Rescue Plan. She has supported legislation such as the Child Care Stabilization Act, the Child Care for Working Families Act, and the Childcare Workforce and Facilities Act, and contributed to increased funding for child care initiatives in the fiscal year 2023 government funding bill.

Awardee sought

Granite VNA is inviting nominations for the 25th annual Kay Sidway Award until Feb. 16. According to a press release, this accolade recognizes an individual’s commitment to the well-being of children and families within the 82 communities served by Granite VNA in New Hampshire. Established in 1998 and named after educator Kay Sidway, the award celebrates those who have made significant contributions to improving quality of life, health and education for children and families in central New Hampshire and the Lakes Region. Nominees should exemplify leadership, community health and well-being, meaningful contributions to families and collaboration with local agencies. The recipient will be honored an event on May 1 at the Barn at Bull Meadow in Concord. Nominations can be made through Granite VNA’s website at

On Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, at 54 Hanover St., Manchester, will host an exhibition showcasing the works of Jane Kaufmann. According to a press release, this event, celebrating the one-year anniversary of art installations at the Chamber’s Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Boardroom, will feature Kaufmann’s artistic journey over 45 years, highlighting her innovative use of materials like cloth and cardboard. The exhibition, a collaboration with curator Yasamin Safarzadeh and Positive Street Art, is free to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Kaufmann’s artwork and enjoy light refreshments.

New Hampshire residents pursuing post-secondary education in medicine, nursing or social work are invited to apply for the Yarnold Scholarship. Funded by a trust established by Rollinsford couple Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold, scholarships are awarded to 30 to 40 students each year in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, according to a press release. Interested students may call Yarnold Scholarship administrative representative Laura Ramsdell at 766-9121 to receive an application.

Frederick’s Pastries in Amherst has been named a winner of The Knot Best of Weddings 2024, an award that honors top local wedding professionals as rated by real couples on The Knot. Frederick’s Pastries, known for collaborating with couples to create custom wedding centerpieces, stood out among thousands of vendors within The Knot’s extensive Vendor Marketplace, which serves as a comprehensive guide for couples looking to book wedding services.

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