$50,000 Timken Grant Supports Opera North’s Blow-Me-Down Farm Renovation Project

If you saw Opera North’s “Singers and Swingers” (an unlikely yet ultimately beautiful pairing of circus aerialists and opera singers) at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish NH this summer, you know that plans are moving forward to build a “park for the arts.” (See suggested posts, listed at the end of this article, for more stories about this project.) The land, once owned by Charles Beaman, was a center of activity for the historic Cornish Colony residents, including sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Opera North is working to bring back some of that artistic dazzle to this gorgeous riverside location. The Timken Foundation is supporting the project with a $50,000 grant. Below is a press release from Opera North with further details. 

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Lebanon, New Hampshire (October 20, 2018) – Opera North has received a $50,000 grant from Timken Foundation for stabilizing and repairing the historic Charles Beaman farmhouse at Blow-Me-Down Farm, parts of which date to the late 1700s. The funds will advance the project to preserve and renovate Blow-Me-Down Farm for future use as a base for Opera North’s activities.

The project is the result of a partnership agreement signed in 2016 by Opera North and the National Park Service at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site which owns the farm. Recognized as the place that launched the Cornish Colony, the 42-acre Blow-Me-Down Farm estate in Cornish, overlooking the Connecticut River and Mt. Ascutney, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

“The Timken Foundation grant brings Opera North significantly closer to the estimated cost of renovations at the farmhouse,” commented Evans Haile, Opera North Executive Director. “The funds allow us to begin work as soon as possible on stabilizing the building for the winter.”

The preservation and rehabilitation of the historic Beaman farmhouse is being directed by architect R. Andrew Garthwaite, AIAPhase One of realizing the ON the Farm vision launched earlier this year with a $350,000 commitment from the Northern Border Regional Commission, a Federal-state development partnership in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Opera North has also received one of 20 Opera America Innovation grants to work towards the vision of ON the Farm. 

Opera North demonstrated the concept of using Blow-Me-Down Farm as a creative space with this past summer’s innovative blending of “arias and aerialists” under a big top on the lawn. Summerfest 2018 Singers & Swingers delivered four sold-out performances and rave reviews.

About Opera North

Opera North is the premier professional summer music festival of the Upper Valley. Founded in 1982 and based in Lebanon, New Hampshire, it is the only full-time professional opera company in the tri-state area of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Summerfest 2018 – Opera North’s 36th season featured an immersive circus-themed show at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish, New Hampshire and mainstage productions at Lebanon Opera House in addition to concerts at locations around the region. For more information: www.operanorth.org or (603) 448-4141.


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