MANCHESTER, NH – Mark Hughes and Randy Beliveau, co-owners of Purely Wood Furniture, were shocked – in a good way – to learn that Vivian Beer, acclaimed artist, designer and winner of Ellen’s Design Challenge, had agreed to deliver the keynote address at their store’s 25th anniversary September 8 open-house celebration.
“We’re just an average, main street American small business and not a venue such as the Smithsonian or anything prestigious like that,” Hughes said. “We’re honored that she’s reaching out to us and the downtown community in such a hands-on and personal way.”
Hughes and Beliveau, who’ve worked hard to put roots in the community over the past 25 years by supporting local schools, donating furniture to charitable organizations, and offering discounts to service members, originally envisioned the event as a simple affair highlighting the store’s history and offering customers some discounts and prizes. They had no idea the open house would turn into a celebration of community, drawing in fellow business owners, artists, musicians and even the mayor.
For Beer, who loves to make unexpected connections in both art and life, the event just feels like a natural way to achieve a goal that’s been on her mind.
“As a member of the New Hampshire Arts Council, I believe there’s a need to build stronger connections between the local art community and the creative technology industries that are right here in Manchester,” said Beer, a New Hampshire resident whose imaginative sculptures and designs have been featured in prestigious museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Currier Museum of Art, which is located in Manchester.
“I feel there’s an important need to act and get involved, which is the beginning of working together as a community, hand in hand, to create a culture of collaboration, community pride and artistic growth.”
It’s a goal that’s clearly shared with many other community members.
In addition to Beer, the event will be attended by Manchester native and internationally acclaimed artist, sculptor and furniture maker Jon Brooks; Lisa Abel, Director of Development and Communication for the Currier Museum of Art; Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig; and numerous other local business people and community members. Live music will be provided by local musicians Dan and Jenny Klardie as well as special performances by singer/songwriter Susan Olson, a singer with Great North Woods band of Bangor, Maine.
Co-hosted and organized by Your Personal PR, a local public relations and marketing firm, the free, family-centered event located at 293 Elm Street will include live musical performances, door prizes, refreshments and more. A donation drive is also under way for Families in Transition-New Horizons: Attendees are encouraged to bring a “high needs” item to donate. Space is limited. RSVP online at Purely Wood Furniture’s Facebook page.
WATCH: Video vignette featuring Vivian Beer, produced by JET Masters, “dedicated to the mavericks and original of design and manufacturing.”