New Hampshire Loses It's Leading Advocate For The Arts, Commissioner Of Cultural Resources, Van McLeod

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE - Van McLeod was a devoted public servant, an award-winning filmmaker and a passionate promoter of the arts and culture in his beloved Granite State. In fact, Sullivan County is one of the areas in New Hampshire that Van was eager to see continue to flourish through the arts.

Article by Shelly Hudson * Photos courtesy of

Van and I spent many lunches discussing the healing powers of the arts and how communities can and do benefit from a thriving arts presence. As a founder, supporter and board member of many New Hampshire arts organizations, he certainly knew the influence art can have on everyone. As our state’s Commissioner of Cultural Resources, Van fought hard for New Hampshire’s creative economy. Having seen first hand, his never-ending battle to keep funding in place for what he considered the character of our state, I can only begin to understand the void that his passing has created - in the arts community and the state as a whole.

Above all this, however, Van was a kind and generous soul, always with an encouraging word for creative endeavours... whether it was an idea for Red River Theatre's latest movie event, where I worked as executive director for four and-a-half years, or my most recent project called Amplified Arts.

He shared with me his wisdom and creativity freely and eagerly, and I considered him a friend and mentor as I am sure most do who knew him throughout New Hampshire’s creative community. I remember so many times, he would pop into Red River looking for me to discuss his latest project and share a laugh... he had a glorious sense of humor.

At his funeral, Governor Maggie Hassan referred to Mr. McLeod as a “steadfast steward and promoter of New Hampshire’s character.” Very high praise, indeed! Van, 70, who served as the State Commissioner of cultural resources under six governors, passed away on Monday, July 18. If you did not know of him before, you are aware of him now... however, also know that he was bigger and brighter than what this brief write-up could ever describe.