Performing arts and independent film venues across New Hampshire are reopening and industry leaders said on Tuesday that these organizations help to pump money into the economies of the towns and cities where they are located.

On the Seacoast, arts venues contribute $56 million a year to the local economy in non-show related spending.

"That means people going out to dinner, people shopping, people parking, all of that non-ticket related, or coming to the venue, related spending," said Monte Bohanan, director of communications and community engagement at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

The Music Hall typically contributes $9.5 million a year to the local economy. During the pandemic, that amount was reduced to $2.4 million, Bohanan said during a virtual press conference.

Scott Hayward, owner of Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, said for every dollar made in ticket sales, there's $12 in additional money that is poured into their community.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, New Hampshire's creative economy adds $3.1 billion in value to the state.

In 2019, production of arts and cultural goods and services in the United States added 4.3 percent to the nation's gross domestic product, for a total of $919.7 billion.

That year, arts and cultural industries in the country had 5.2 million workers on payrolls. Those people earned a total of $447 billion, according to a report from the endowment.

Nicolette Clarke, executive director of the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, said reigniting the arts community is a big step forward in helping New Hampshire's economy recover after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Theaters and other arts presentation venues bring nightlife to downtowns, build restaurants and deliver customers to retail establishments," Clarke said. "These organizations employed 3,500 individuals prepandemic and that's a number we're very anxious to get back to in the months ahead."

All of the arts and independent film organizations participating in the press conference plan to post their COVID-19 safety protocols on their websites, but people planning to go to a performance or movie should check in advance before leaving their homes.

Those at the virtual press conference said they would also be updating people using their social media accounts.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at


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