Arts Spotlight: Ash Hill Center for the Arts

This month’s Artist Spotlight focused on Ash Hill Center for the Arts located at 83 Ash Hill Rd, Swanzey, NH.

Pamela Dexter is the Executive Director of the Center and shares her thoughts on its origins, their commitment to the Arts and their vision for Arts in our Region and surrounding regions:


The 1840’s elegant Georgian house, home to the Ash Hill Center for the Arts, has been a familiar place to me since childhood.  My Mom and I would walk up the hill for a neighborly visit with the elderly couple in residence.  When it came on the market for sale, my husband purchased the home.  It was rented to many; a day care center, families and college students. The thought that the home had another purpose took root and grew every time we refreshed it between rentals.  

The sense that it should be a community art center blossomed and a drive toward that purpose took hold. From my various experiences with art, none very formal, a belief that this center needed to include many forms and styles of art became our focus.

It is my personal belief that our culture has become separated from art which is a basic ingredient in our humanity.  The creative process develops skills in communication, problem solving , the ability to see “the big picture” and a greater understanding of one’s  self.  In my opinion these are critical skills necessary for us to move into the future which currently are not being fostered. Perhaps more importantly, participation in the arts brings us together as a community.  This emerging philosophy added to my strengthening drive to create a community art center.

Art is very personal.  Everyone has their own preferences for mediums, styles and forms of art.  Our center will be offering a variety of art and crafts as well as renting our space to artists for practice, instructing and performances.  We added a large outside stage to increase our performance options.  Events organized around themes will weave a variety of arts together. We  strive to offer our community access to high quality art instruction and opportunities for interaction and enjoyment of the arts.

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Our community is also welcome to enjoy our Center.  It’s natural setting and feeling of being “away from it all”, although only two miles from Keene, is suited to weddings, conferences, family reunions and meetings. The open kitchen provides for serving and entertaining.

Art, although often a solitary experience, is not created in a vacuum.  Creative energy, inspiration and support come from social interactions.  Our art center’s programs have a strong social focus.  Connecting with other regional art organizations enhances and stimulates our creativity on a structural level.  Working with others regionally   develops and strengthens  artistic momentum for all artists. In particular working collaboratively on the marketing of art regionally benefits art organizations as well as individual artists.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our region, became known as a center for the arts?  It’s a beautiful region filled with amazing artists and could become a destination for the arts. By “Embracing the Arts in the Monadnock Region” we hope our Ash Hill Center for the Arts will become a “Hub” as well as home for our artists as the region artistically defines itself and expands its presence.