Arts & Cultural Commission

The Arts & Cultural Commission was created with the unanimous passage of a new ordinance (detailing the Commission's Powers and Duties, below) by the City Council on September 5, 2023. The Mayor is now accepting applications for membership. Please use this application form. On the first line, "Committee" please note "Arts & Cultural Commission" AND note whether you are applying 1) as the official representative of an arts and cultural institution, 2) as a Portsmouth artist OR 3) as a Portsmouth resident with appreciation for community arts and cultural programming.

A. Membership and Term: The Arts and Cultural Commission shall consist of 14 qualified regular members and one alternate member. Of those 14 members

  • Four members shall represent the arts and cultural institutions in Portsmouth, both for-profit and non-profit in nature, and their membership on the committee shall be on behalf of their institutions, rather than as an individual membership. Those institutional members shall not serve consecutive terms, but their membership shall rotate among those arts and cultural institutions to foster participation on the part of various institutions.
  • An additional four members shall be appointed from the community of artists within the City of Portsmouth.
  • Four members shall be individuals with appreciation for community arts and cultural programming.
  • One City Councilor shall serve in a term corresponding with his/her/their respective tenure of office.
  • The City Manager or his/her/their representative shall serve as an ex-officio member of the commission.

The Mayor shall make initial appointments as follows: 4 members for 3 year terms, 4 members for 2 year terms, and 4 members for 1 year terms. Thereafter, in order to maintain a stagger in appointments, incomplete terms must be made for the remaining unfulfilled portion of a term before a full term appointment is made. A full term shall be three (3) years. All members shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to the approval of the City Council. The commission shall meet no less than quarterly.

B.            Definitions: Arts and Cultural Institutions should be defined as those institutions engaging primarily in direct community work in visual arts, musical arts, theater arts, literary and performance arts, cultural community events, and historical preservation and education.

C.            Powers and Duties: The Commission shall encourage support for arts and culture within the wider Portsmouth community, including, but not limited to the following.

1.            The Commission shall foster the implementation of the Cultural Plan of the City of Portsmouth, and shall conduct other studies and planning processes, as necessary, focusing on the arts and cultural community.

2.            The Commission shall support the establishment of arts and cultural institutions in Portsmouth and the surrounding area, promote the welfare of existing arts and cultural institutions, and support coordination and communication among local artists, arts and cultural institutions.

3.            The Commission shall make recommendations to the City Council concerning arts and cultural needs within the City, and shall create a plan for attracting and retaining artists and arts and cultural institutions.

4.            The Commission shall work to increase and sustain the arts and cultural appreciation of all residents while . protecting and maintaining the quality of our arts institutions and historic. and cultural assets. This process should consist of the encouragement of a broad, productive community effort to coordinate and enhance the utilization of all community resources involved in any respect with arts and culture.

5.            The Commission shall identify governmental funding sources, including state and federal funding resources designated for Municipalities, to support its work. The Commission shall not raise funds in direct competition with arts and cultural organizations within the City of Portsmouth.

6.            The Arts and Cultural Commission shall work in coordination with, and in support of the Public Art Review Committee to promote Public Art in the City of Portsmouth.