Eric Suher: The Arts are Fragile, Support Them!

Today we went up to Northampton for the Really Big Show, a 17-year tradition that involves dozens of acts, from circus aerialists to jugglers and a Don Ho impersonation.

After the intermission, the Northampton Center for the arts gave an award for community activism and dynamic leadership to my old boss Eric Suher. At the podium, the shy entrepreneur and music magnate was lauded for his successive rescues of the Iron Horse, Pearl St. and the glorious restoration of the Calvin.

He was gracious when he took the stage to accept the award, with his trademark ballcap pulled down low, but as usual, his remarks right on target and his voice confident and clear.

“The arts here are fragile,” he said, citing the near closure of the Academy of Music and the Pleasant St. Theater. He encouraged everyone to support the arts, and thanked his staff and the musicians, and mostly the people who fill the seats.

“I’d rather be down there in the pit with you guys,” he joked, looking down at the Really Big Show orchestra, where my cousin Paul Hartshorne and Joe O’Rourke were sitting.

I admire Eric so much for what he’s done and for the speech, reminding us of something that’s important, such as saving arts and music programs in school budgets.

This Valley is indeed a better place and Eric is one of the people we should thank for it.