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New Leaders You Should Know: Jennifer Minicucci

Published Friday Mar 31, 2023

Author Scott Merrill

New Leaders You Should Know: Jennifer Minicucci

Jennifer Minicucci, the new executive director for Arts in Reach (AIR) in New Castle and an artist herself, says she never had an a-ha moment as a child that led her towards the arts. While she played various musical instruments, participated in theater and wrote for a school magazine, it was education, she says, that had the most profound effect on her.  

And now she combines both worlds leading AIR, a youth development organization empowering girls and gender-expansive teens through free access to arts programming, mentorship and creative community. With offices in New Castle and programs all over Rockingham and Strafford counties, Minicucci refers to AIR as a “moveable feast.”

Minicucci began her first full day for AIR on Jan. 3 and says she is always open to building partnerships with other organizations. A recent stand-up comedy program for teens in January involved partnering with Cracked Skulls coffee shop in Newmarket.  

Minicucci’s career path began with marketing and communications work in Boston and Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, D.C. After arriving in NH, she was hired as manager of stewardship and events at Currier Museum of Art in Manchester in 2013, where she led the creation of their successful and now annual Heart of the Arts gala. She then became the inaugural director of development for Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC) in 2015. She is also the co-founder of a public chartered elementary school for neurodiverse students in Manchester. Minicucci recently served as president of Art-Speak, the former cultural commission for the City of Portsmouth.  

One of the biggest challenges Minicucci says she is confronting in her new position is the mental health crisis amongst teens. “Our teens aren’t doing great. Their mental health is suffering particularly since COVID, and people are feeling a little bit disconnected,” she says. “We’re doing a great job with the teens that we have now, and so we’re just trying to reach out to more of them.”  

Minicucci says she has hopes that AIR can expand its programming and eventually open a brick-and-mortar space for its teens “so that we can be a home and a drop-in space after school.”

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