City Council Approves Cultural Plan

March 20, 2024

Early in 2023 the Portsmouth Arts and Nonprofits Committee assembled a subcommittee tasked with creating a new Cultural Plan for the City. The last plan was adopted in 2002 and was included in the 2005 Master Plan. The goal was to complete a new plan as a foundational pillar for the 2035 Citywide Master Plan to help ensure that City leaders have a strategic roadmap to guide support and funding policies in the coming decade and serve as a blueprint for preservation and expansion of arts and cultural venues, activities, and initiatives for the foreseeable future. The City Council reviewed and approved the new Cultural Plan, at its March 4, 2024 meeting. It is available now on the City website:

The Arts & Nonprofits Committee and the Cultural Plan Subcommittee engaged the services of Arts Consulting Group to shape community participation via surveys, focus groups and one-on-one conversations. The findings of the 2023 Americans for the Arts, Economic Prosperity (AEP6) survey also informed the new Plan. The Subcommittee included a representational group of artists, nonprofit leaders, and longtime residents of Portsmouth who focused on creating a plan to help preserve and nurture the vibrant arts, culture, and history scene for which Portsmouth is famous.

The members of the Cultural Plan Subcommittee included: co-chairs Karen Rosania and Alan Chase; John Mayer, Karen Battles, Suzanne Danforth, Jason Goodrich, Tina Sawtelle, Ellen Fineberg, Gerardo Gonzales, Tom Kaufhold, Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf, Jeffrey Cooper, Amanda Kidd-Kestler, Emma Stratton, Courtney Perkins, Arts & Nonprofits Committee co-chairs Russ Grazier and Barbara Massar, City Councilor Kate Cook; and City staff liaison Sean Clancy, Assistant City Manager for Economic Development.

“Cultural planning is a process of inclusive community consultation and decision-making and in this instance was designed to help Portsmouth’s leaders identify cultural resources and think strategically about how these resources can help the community to achieve its civic goals and create a rich cultural environment for all,” commented Committee chairs Russ Grazier and Barbara Massar. “For Portsmouth to remain a vibrant and compelling cultural destination, we knew the updated Cultural Plan had to be built through a comprehensive, inclusive, and collaborative effort by citizens, business owners, and civic leaders. We believe the final Cultural Plan reflects the voices of citizens from across our community, from avid art lovers to those who simply want a say in the kind of community they’d like to live in. We look forward to watching how the plan works in creating guidelines and ideas for the new Arts & Cultural Commission and the next Citywide Master Plan.”

Cultural Plan Cover