Nashua opens its new Center for the Arts

$25m center opened April 1 with events slated for October start date
Nashua Center For Arts

The new $25 million Nashua Center for the Arts opened April 1, offering 32 upcoming events planned through October, including concerts, plays and musicals. The facility also features a gallery open to local artists.

During the next months, the center will collaborate with the Nashua School District to prepare an exhibit and team up with a local university to offer internships.

Featuring 750 seats, the theater can retract its chairs to the wall to accommodate standing events of up to 1,000 people and banquet functions of up to 250 people.

Peter Lally, president of Spectacle Live, the company that manages the center and the Colonial Theatre in Laconia, said the city used federal tax credits and tax revenue programs to raise the money for the project, but also “a sizable amount was raised through private donations,” he said.

Bank of America donated half a million dollars; the theater has its name in gratitude.

Lally says the spaces can also be used for smaller gatherings such as workshops or author visits. He is looking forward to offering outdoor events in the future as well.

The idea of an arts center was introduced by the city in 2002. Fourteen performing arts groups and civic organizations were interviewed in a study of the feasibility in which they gave input to on what the Nashua arts scene needed. In the study, the city projected 61,000 new visitors to downtown Main Street who would spend more than $600,000 annually on downtown merchants.

Cassidy Blouin, Spectacle Live’s public relations strategist, says the restaurants near the center are changing their hours to catch the people that come out of the theater. She says it is the first taste of how this venue will revive downtown’s economy. A couple of local businesses around the center said they would adjust their weekend hours.

“The diversity in this community is huge, so it is really cool to be able to see what different acts we can bring to work with the diversity around here,” said Blouin.

Lally says national artists are looking for local artists to open their shows, so the company is trying to fill those places.

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