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Musician, Dancer, Drummer, Educator Theo Martey named NH Artist Laureate
New Hampshire’s Executive Council has confirmed Gov. Chris Sununu’s nomination of Theophilus Nii Martey of Manchester as the next New Hampshire Artist Laureate.
An accomplished teacher of West African drumming and dance as well as a songwriter, recording artist, producer and performer, Martey received the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education in 2019.
Born in Accra, Ghana, he has more than 33 years’ experience as a performer and arts educator across three continents. He has lived and worked in New Hampshire for 20 years.
Martey has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts – among others – to teach school residencies, workshops and performances across New England. He has taught more than 5,000 workshops to school children from first grade through high school, college and university students, and in communities.
“Theo is a very talented musician and will be an excellent ambassador for New Hampshire’s vibrant arts community,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “I look forward to seeing how much he will accomplish in our communities as New Hampshire’s artist laureate!”
“For over two decades, I have been invited into dozens of schools across New Hampshire as an artist in residence, working with students so that they may experience West African drumming and dance hands-on,” said Martey. “To be named artist laureate is an honor, and I look forward to continuing to use music to empower others to discover their best selves and promote the importance of arts across the state and the region.”
In New Hampshire, the artist laureate is a two-year honorary position that receives no compensation. Artists are appointed by the Governor and Executive Council through a recommendation provided by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
Martey is the ninth artist laureate in the program, which was established in 1997.
More information, including biographies of Martey and previous New Hampshire artists laureate, is available at nh.gov/nharts.
The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, a division of the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, enhances the quality of life in New Hampshire by stimulating economic growth through the arts, investing in the creativity of students, making the arts accessible to underserved populations and preserving heritage arts. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at nh.gov/nharts.