About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Ruth and James Arts Awards

Celebrating the Monadnock Region's Vibrant Arts Community


I am thrilled to have been selected as one of the first recipients of the Ruth and James Ewing Arts Awards, sponsored by the Keene Sentinel and Arts Alive .

Craig Stockwell

I don't generally submit my photographs to contests or for awards consideration, and there are a number of reasons for my reluctance. I would like to be able to loftily proclaim that "I don't require the acknowledgement of others to validate my work", but the truth is that I crave approval as much as most artists. No, the unfortunate fact is that I simply fear rejection far more than I require external approval.  Sad, but there are other reasons, beyond my delicate ego.

Lee Dunholter

 In recent years there has been an

Swift water, Gill Truslow
explosive increase in the number of photography contests, and often they seem to be more about profiting from submission fees than honoring excellence. Many require unreasonably broad releases, which can result in the loss of control of my images, even if I don't "win".  Then there is the lazy factor.  Given the complexity of submissions, I could spend most of my time entering contests, with little remaining for actual photography.  So, why the Ewing Arts Awards?  First it was the local focus of the awards and the remarkable people for which it was named.

Ruth & James Ewing

The Ewings
James Ewing was the owner and publisher of the Keene Sentinel and both he and his wife Ruth were strong supporters of the arts within the Monadnock Region. Local organizations that benefited included Apple Hill Chamber Music, the MacDowell Colony and the Grand Monadnock Arts Council. I can't think of any two more deserving of this recognition.

Monadnock Focus
The Apple Hill Quartet
Given the Monadnock Region's insulation from the rest of New Hampshire, the geographic focus of the Ewing Awards is especially appropriate. I often say that our corner of the state is drawn together by endless miles of bad road. The fact that major roads circle around us, tends to shield the Monadnock Region from the rest of the world and draws all of us together, including the artistic community. Through organizations such as the Monadnock Area Artist Association, The Art Walk and the Fall Foliage Tour, I have come to know many of our local artists, including several of this year's Ewing winners. Some of them are even willing to talk to a photographer!

Canopy, Deborah Lloyd Kaufman

The Artistic Community

President Lincoln, Tim Campbell

The Monadnock Region is blessed with a wide variety of marvelously talented artists and instead of focusing on a single genre, the Ewing Awards was open to all types of artists, in both the performance and visual arts. They were even willing to consider photography, and I'm especially pleased that the student winner is photographer Annika Kristiansen. I was also attracted by the fact that the awards were not based on the judging of one or two pieces, but on a greater body of work and on the relationship of the artist and his work to the Monadnock Region.

Annika Kristiansen

Grazing the Fence

An award focused on my home region and in the name of two remarkable community leaders, this was not your typical photography contest. So I went through the arduous process of submitting my work, my story and my ego to the prestigious panel of judges and was excited to be considered worthy to be among the 14 other amazing recipients. To me it is wonderful that, in addition to the talented painters, the judges also recognized music and dance, sculpture, set design and, yes, even photography.

Animaterra Women's Chorus

"We want to showcase in some small way the amazing creativity that surrounds us", said Keene Sentinel Editor Terrence Williams, "This is a wonderful beginning." 

I certainly agree, and all I need to do is bask in the radiant glory of these talented artists:

  • Lee Dunholter, painter and theatrical set designer, Peterborough
  • Peter Roos, painter, Walpole
  • Deborah Lloyd Kaufman, painter, Spofford
  • Gill Truslow, painter, Keene
  • Jeanne Maguire Thieme, painter, Swanzey
  • Tim Campbell, painter, sculptor, Keene
  • Annika Kristiansen, photographer, Keene (student winner)
  • Craig Stockwell, painter, Keene
  • Richard Whitney, painter, Stoddard
  • Animaterra Women’s Chorus, musical performers, Harrisville
  • Frank Wallace, classical guitarist, Antrim
  • MoCo Arts, dance performers, Keene
  • Apple Hill String Quartet, musical performers, Nelson
  • Chamber Singers of Keene, musical performers, Keene

Monadnock Orchard, Richard Whitney

Next Thursday, July 23rd, The Ewing Awards recipients will be recognized at a reception in Keene State College's Redfern Arts Center. I will try to jam 2-3 examples of my photography (those shown here) into the 48 inches of "running wall space" that has been allotted to each of the visual artists. Even "running", 48 inches isn't much, but more excitingly, there will be performances by the performing artist winners. I hope to see a few of my friends at the event.

Here are the details:

Ten visual artists and five performing artists or groups will be recognized with the first Ruth and James Ewing Arts Awards. A reception and awards program are planned for these recipients on July 23 at Redfern Arts Center on the campus of Keene State College.

Farrier's Touch
The program on July 23 will be from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. It will feature a gallery showing some of the work of the visual artists and a sample of performances by the performing artist winners. The Sentinel is publishing a glossy magazine with feature stories and photography of all the winners. The magazine will first be available at the event and then will be inserted into all copies of The Sentinel the next day. 

Tickets — $25 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under — will go on sale Friday, June 26m.  Tickets can be reserve at 603-352-1234 x 1004 or aruest@keenesentinel.com.

I hope to see you there.

Jeffrey Newcomer

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