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The following was written by Common Fence Music.
It is with great sadness that COMMON FENCE MUSIC announces that Erin Young, Artistic Director of the performing arts non-profit since August 2016, will be departing the organization in early April 2020 to dedicate time to other professional pursuits. During her time at CFM, Erin has shifted programmatic vision while expanding the organization’s folk and world music concert series to Hope & Main in Warren and the Casino Theatre in Newport. Presenting an array of young and rising talent including Anais Mitchell (the Tony-winning writer/composer of Broadway’s Hadestown), the stellar Malian supergroup and Kronos Quartet collaborator Trio da Kali, and recent GRAMMY-nominee Amythyst Kiah, her artistic choices have brought a freshness and renewed vitality to the series, now nearing its third decade. With a focus on community-building, she has made an effort to increase audience participation and create more opportunities for attendees to engage with the artists.
Erin feels that much progress has been made in the past 3.5 years and that she is leaving the series in good hands. “Our team has grown and we are so fortunate to have community members investing their time and professional expertise in CFM in new ways,” she explains. Despite the positives, her time with the organization has not been without challenges. The series’ main venue – the Common Fence Point Community Hall – was closed for renovations throughout the entire 2018-19 concert season forcing the series into a tumultuous year on the road. “Last year was certainly a scary and difficult one for us logistically and financially,” Erin shares. “But it strengthened us, encouraged us to collectively think outside the box. I think we feel like even more of a family having made it through that time together. And now that we are back in the CFP Arts, Wellness & Community Center – our home – we have seen a renewed interest in the concert series and the educational work that we do in a way that is very exciting. I feel confident that CFM will continue to thrive for years to come.”
Stepping in this spring to take the reins as Interim Artistic Director is the original visionary behind Common Fence Music, Ed Nary. Founding CFM in 1993 with the desire to provide the Portsmouth community with access to quality folk music performances year-round, Ed was vital in cultivating CFM’s early impact. He brings a diverse and iconic professional experience of Rhode Island and the region. Though Ed’s time serving in the US Navy as an interior communications electrician took him to VA and beyond, he has deep ties to Common Fence Point, serving as President of the CFP Improvement Association for nearly a decade in the 1990s while owning and operating Nary Pallet Co. He brings an unbridled passion for music, crossing genres and animated in live music settings. Ed is delighted with the opportunity to rejoin the CFM team of listening friends, dedicated volunteers, and gifted musicians as the organization reaches into 27 years in existence. He is excited to have a hand in offering the community great roots music in the cozy hall of CFP Arts for 2020, fanning the flame cared for by Tom Perrotti and Erin Young and for all who pass through the doors.