New England College to close Manchester campus, moving arts students to Henniker campus

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Screenshot 2016 06 08 at 6.21.12 PM
French Building on the campus of New England College Institute of Art and Design. File Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – The future of the former NH Institute of Art remains to be seen after the announcement on Friday that  New England College, which took over the arts-based institution in 2018, is moving all classes to its Henniker location.

The announcement, attributed to NEC President Wayne Lesperance, was posted on NEC’s website and across its social media sites with an accompanying “frequently asked questions” document (see below).

Lesperance cited “COVID-19 depressed participation in the arts and arts education nationally” for a downward trend in enrollment and said it would “maintain its presence in Manchester” by holding events at its galleries and French Hall while seeking “to collaborate with educational institutions and other neighbors in maintaining an active presence in the neighborhood.”

The full statement is below, followed by the FAQ.


New England College (NEC) will unite its art and design programs in a new Art Village on its main campus in Henniker, New Hampshire beginning in fall 2023.<

For the last several years NEC’s Institute of Art and Design (successor to the New Hampshire Institute of Art, NHIA) has offered instruction in animation, ceramics, comic arts, game design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, and other fields, both in Henniker and at facilities in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Beginning in the fall, The Institute of Art and Design at New England College will provide degree opportunities in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in several dedicated spaces on the Henniker campus. IAD students will study and live side by side with students taking other programs, enjoying full access to all of the College’s resources in athletics, dining, wellness, and extracurricular programs. By uniting in a common location, faculty will extend their contributions to the College community and make art and design even more available to the student body. Both faculty and students will enjoy new opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

A full roster of academic offerings beyond the arts, including courses in psychology and business–areas where arts students have shown steady interest–will foster intellectual exploration. At the new theatre in NEC’s Putnam Center for the Performing Arts, students can tap their interest in dramatic arts and perhaps perform on a state-of-the-art stage. In addition to over 20 inter-scholastic teams, students enjoy numerous intra-mural sports and skiing is available at Pat’s Peak.

COVID-19 depressed participation in the arts and arts education nationally. Unfortunately, NEC was not immune to this downward trend. With this move to unify our academic offerings in Henniker, NEC re-doubles its commitment to its art and design students and faculty, and the arts generally, by dedicating facilities and creating new opportunities in a welcoming setting.

The College will maintain its presence in Manchester with events at its galleries and its premier assembly space at French Hall. It will look to collaborate with educational institutions and other neighbors in maintaining an active presence in the neighborhood.

NEC will support all of its students and families through this transition and ensure that all necessary resources are available for a successful experience.

New England College Institute of Art and Design in Manchester, NH.
What will become of this building that has been used for student housing and classroom space?

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!