The Manchester Arts Commission was created in 1937, requiring three persons who served varying terms in office. Over the years the Commission functioned at varying degrees of activity, but always with a passion for promoting public art and all volunteers.
It has been twelve years since three Art Commissioners – Grace Freije, Althea Haropulos and Georgie Reagan – were appointed by Mayor Raymond Wieczorek in December 1999 and later re-appointed by Mayor Robert Baines. This particular appointment followed a period of inactivity for several years.
The Commissioners found themselves in the ‘activity’ category, and still with more visions of many great projects requiring hands-on attention. With only ‘volunteer time’ in which to accomplish them, they knew they needed help. With that in mind, the Commissioners requested a new ordinance that would add two additional Commissioners. On April 16, 2002 the Board of Mayor and Aldermen accepted the request. In the spring 2002, Mayor Baines appointed Peter Ramsey and Al St. Cyr to the Commission. Richard Maynard was appointed in May 2004 to fill the expired term of Althea Haropulos. Commissioners have included Ann Kelley, James Chase, Anthony Williams, Katherine Schmidt, Tom Ford, and Cindy O'Rourke. The newest Chair of the Arts Commission is Becky O'Neil. Recent Commissioners are: Ashley Jane Stephan, Edward Doyle, Carolina Chauvette, Martha Frontiero and Daniel Berube.
The MAC has achieved many things over the years – the re-opening of the McIninch Family Gallery, two public sculptures ("Vivace" and "Crosswalk"), supporting the Trolley Tours, establishing the Art on the Wall @ City Hall, the White Flag pop-up gallery in 2010, and participation in the worldwide Inside/Out Project in support of TEDx 2011. In addition to helping coordinate the National Arts Program Exhibit in July/August.