All about Egypt

The Hampton Falls Free Library hosts a cultural enrichment program on the country of Egypt on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Hampton Falls resident Scott Faiia spent three years living and working in Cairo, Egypt.

Now retired, he has offered to share his experiences in Egypt through photographs and a presentation.

The program is designed for anyone interested in expanding their horizons and learning about a different part of the world from the perspective of an individual who has bridged cultures.

The program is free and open to the public.

Visit hamptonfallslibrary.org or call 926-3682.

Get To Know: Marcy Milne McCann

Marcy Milne McCann is the president of the board of directors of the Friends of Centennial Hall in North Hampton.

What is Friends of Centennial Hall?
FOCH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, renovate and maintain historic Centennial Hall for joint use by both private citizens and the public. To meet the challenges of our most ambitious revitalization effort to date I also assumed the position of executive director. As such, I manage the building, the tenants and the nonprofit organization.

Tell us a little about its history.
In 1997, a group of citizens, many of them alumni of Centre School, joined forces to preserve the Hall. … Since FOCH assumed stewardship of Centennial Hall … there have been 11 separate improvement initiatives, all focused on enhancing the building’s appearance and functionality. … Each of these projects has been successfully funded and completed, overseen by an
all-volunteer board with no paid staff.

Any recent projects?
After conducting a complete building assessment funded in part by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, FOCH recently launched the most ambitious effort in our history, a revitalization proceeding along two tracks: rehabilitation and access improvement. The approach to rehabilitation and access improvement is designed in three phases to provide the best possible results at the most reasonable cost and will keep the building open for active use throughout construction.

Can you provide us with some details?
The priority need at the center of this project is to ‘Open the Ballroom’ and restore access to the grand second floor and its 225-person capacity. This will greatly expand current performing arts programming and provide the community at large with what is desperately needed — private/public assembly and function space for a myriad of activities. A fully functioning large event space will bring the benefits of the creative economy to North Hampton, drawing even more arts and culture consumers. Our Open the Ballroom Campaign received a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program [LCHIP] challenge grant of $200,000 last winter, one of the largest historic resource grants given. This was the largest grant award for a historic resource on the Seacoast, in a very competitive year. These funds were designated for Phase 1 of our revitalization and matched in three months with contributions from residents, businesses and foundations. Projects in Phase 1 have a completion target in early spring of 2020, well ahead of LCHIP specifications for grants to be awarded in full.

I understand you worked with other folks. Who else helped make this happen?
FOCH … has benefited greatly with the support and assistance provided by North Hampton’s Heritage Commission, Historical Society, town departments, neighbors and business community. … For example, the law firm Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella have provided legal support for many, many years with immeasurable value. There are two key players with expert skills, dedication, and work ethic center to the current revitalization project’s success. General Contractor and Project Manager Peter Goodrich and historic preservationist and restoration specialist Steve Bedard. It’s accurate to say that we would not be at this exciting stage in delivering a fully accessible and restored building without their steadfast and dogged determination to get things done and done to the highest standards at the best possible price and with the best attitude.

Are you from the area? If not, where from and what drew you here?
I grew up in southern Connecticut, moved around and across the states before spending a significant part of my life in the Bay Area. I have been fortunate to have traveled extensively domestically and internationally and always found myself drawn to the New England coastline. When you live without the ‘seasons,’ the holidays feel disingenuous and hollow to some extent. Living on this beautiful coastline with access to the mountains and airports within a reasonable drive — is there any other place better to live and raise a family? I don’t think so.

What is your favorite part about North Hampton?
Community. We have a tremendously loyal support base in town, as we do with our neighbors, all town departments and commissions and the North Hampton Business Association Community. The only way we have been so successful with our initiatives is because of the people here in town. The support and philanthropy of North Hampton residents is and has been so rewarding professionally and personally and has kept me enthusiastic about the potential for the Hall for many years.
— Rob Levey

Going places: Art exhibition features on-location watercolors

The Seacoast Artist Association’s featured artist for the month of January is Doris Rice, a painter and art instructor.

Rice lives on the Seacoast and will have her exhibition, titled “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” displayed at the Artist Association’s gallery in Exeter.

“As a young artist, my passion was drawing, which also involved me in printmaking and watercolor,” Rice said.

She attended the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and earned her bachelor of fine arts, learning multiple ways of creating art.

After working as an illustrator in an advertising studio for several years, she moved to the Seacoast and started a family.

In 1986, Rice attended her first plein air watercolor workshop, which involves painting outdoors, and she has stuck with the technique since.

“It was with Judy Wagner, a noted watercolor artist and author of Painting with the Whites of your Paper. Judy and her friend Tony Van Hasselt introduced me to a new world of expression,” said Rice. “The rapid execution and intense on-location focus suits me well. From there, I have grown. I love being outdoors and I love watercolor. It’s a perfect blend for me.”

Besides creating art, Rice also teaches painting classes throughout North America and Europe.

She began teaching also in 1986, starting at Art East in North Hampton.

She has also taught at the Seacoast Artist Association and with youth programs, artistic residences at schools, and nursing homes. Local one-day workshops assist with watercolor skill development.

“I currently offer programs for a local nursing home in Rye and a retirement community with classes at three campuses, and [offer] adult education classes twice a year in Kittery, Maine,” she said.

Rice hosts weekly travel workshops once a month from March to October, calling them “field trips.”

“We travel to the location and settle in to paint. We stay in a centralized accommodation, often having meals and social time together as we consider the culture, wines, food, history, and of course we paint all of it,” Rice said. “We discover things about ourselves, our own painting styles, our opinions. … It’s an ever-evolving process. One experience leads to another, so the future is always an experience to look forward to.”

Some of the European countries Rice has traveled to are France, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

She has also been to various parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico and California.

While she may return to a location, the experience is never the same and always has a new component.

“As an artist as well as a teacher, I am delighted to see new places, be in new locations for new experiences, and to be able to share the world through paintings and bring other artists to a new adventure,” she said. “I find fulfillment in seeing the world around me, and reflecting on what it means to me.”

When Rice is not painting, she stays busy with culinary arts.

She said she can feel a sense of community around food and finds the creation of foods to be sensory, visual and savory.

Rice’s work will be exhibited at the gallery throughout January.

The gallery is located at 130 Water St. in Exeter.

“The featured artist wall offers the opportunity to find completion with those thoughts and those times. Preparing work for exhibition is a multi-step process, and I am happy to see how many have joined me to bring their art to this level,” she said.

While Rice’s work will only be at the gallery for January, she also has her work displayed and available to purchase at Kennedy Gallery at 41 Market St. in Portsmouth.

Lightship Editions and Glimmerglass.com are both online galleries, where you can find her work as well.

Rice also paints on commission for individuals and organizations. She can be contacted at dorisrice@comcast.net.

— Danielle Roberts