A New Hampshire resident since 2006, Amanda Whitworth is the director of dance at Plymouth State University and the co-founder of ARTICINE, a nonprofit that uses the performing and creative arts as a means to improve people's health. Whitworth is also the founder of Lead With Arts, a consulting service working in three priority areas: performance and production, arts and health, and creative placemaking. The NH State Council on the Arts recommended her to the governor for a two-year term, February 2020 to February 2022. She is the first dancer in New Hampshire to hold the title of artist laureate. We caught up with her to hear about her new role:
What do you hope to accomplish as artist laureate?
The appointment is one of service. However, it does afford an artist much more visibility and opportunity to build capacity around projects. My top priority is to dance as much as possible. Next, I believe it is important to represent the creative workforce by modeling collaborative and inclusive teaching and making practices. I have an opportunity to shed light on the value artists have beyond their products and performance. Artists are inventors, changemakers, leaders and community strategists. While I ultimately hope to build out a statewide project that uses dance and movement to tell stories about our rural spaces, I am focused now on using my role to support an arts and culture sector struggling due to the pandemic. In mid-April I launched Creative Campfire, a remote gathering of New Hampshire–based artists that crowdsources shared stories and experiences to spark joy and resilience.
What most excites you about this honor?
That dance is finally in the spotlight in New Hampshire and that I can be a steward of our strong dance community.