The Hippo


Apr 24, 2019








Tim Sink. Courtesy photo.

All about the arts
Tim Sink named Arts Advocate of the Year

By Kelly Sennott

Tim Sink has been named Arts Advocate of the Year by the New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts and was honored recently at a Concord reception. 

The Concord Chamber of Commerce president stood out because of his great ability as a spokesperson, said Dr. Roger Brooks, chair of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
“We know the economy is still recovering in New Hampshire, but the arts can be a part of that engine that drives the economy,” Brooks said in a phone interview. “Tim has been a great spokesperson who can articulate the role the arts council has in creating incubator projects that, with a relatively small amount of investment, can bring big rewards for the economy. … The National Endowment for the Arts released a study that shows arts and entertainment is the second-largest industry in the United States. … But I think the message needs to be given over and over again.”
Sink’s interest in art goes deep, and he’s been a major advocate in adding more arts and entertainment to Concord’s downtown. The Hippo caught up with him last week to talk about the award.
What was your reaction?
It’s an honor. ... I feel like I’m one of  the many, many players involved in this type of work, but it’s really important. … [The New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts] is a really important organization that deserves to be plugged. They have defended the importance of the State Council on the Arts, the Department of Cultural Resources. … New Hampshire does not put a lot of money into these, even though they generate good revenue, increased tourism.
When did your interest in the arts begin?
I studied music at Notre Dame College … and I still play a lot of music. I’m in a lot of bands and do some local theater work. I have a quartet called the Jazz Dogs, and I play in a big band in Concord called the Tall Granite Big Band. … I play flute and saxophone.
How’d you go from music to chamber work? 
I got into music education because I liked music. I taught for a couple years but realized teaching wasn’t a great match for me. … So I decided to go into another direction. I had some fun for a couple years, playing music and waiting tables, but then I got serious. I got into sales and somehow connected with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, selling memberships. I really like chamber work. I like what chambers do. They’re very interesting organizations, and there’s a lot of variety in how they serve. … I took over the chamber here in the early ’90s, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. … It’s pretty tough to make a living, musically. … I don’t think I would have made it.
One of the reasons you were given this award is because of your role as a spokesperson for the creative economy. Do you think the idea of a creative economy is still news?
I think there are still people around who may not be familiar with the term. And I think there are still people around who are skeptical as well.
Can you give examples of how the expansion of the local creative economy has affected Concord?
The relocation of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. They were located on North Main Street, and their building was more or less falling down upon them. They had a very limited space. … [The Chamber] partnered with the League and they made a very bold step to expand their headquarters in a much larger downtown location in Concord. They added educational components and expanded their gallery. They’ve upped their game dramatically and created another downtown destination.
What are your favorite arts-related things to do in Concord besides playing music?
There are so many different things to do. I like the Mill Brook Gallery in Concord, the Hargate at St. Paul’s School. I also like the shows at the Capitol Center for the Arts and am a big fan of the Concord Community Music School. All my kids studied there, and it has a fantastic faculty. I also like going to see indie movies at Red River Theatres.
Where do you see opportunities to expand the Concord creative economy?
We’re doing a redevelopment of Main Street, where there are opportunities for public art, which we’re very interested in. … Then there’s the Phenix Hall theater that’s basically empty right now — it’s an upper-level-story theater in one of the downtown buildings. … I see live entertainment growing in the community, and I see all of this attracting more restaurants downtown, and as a result, pushing more downtown housing. We have a lot of upper stories that are under-utilized right now. 
As seen in the January 29, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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