Henry Hobson / Equinox Staff

MoCo Arts opened the doors to its new building on Roxbury St. in August 2018. Before this move, MoCo Arts was located in what was once a machine shop on Railroad St.

MoCo Arts is a nonprofit arts education organization located in downtown Keene run by Executive Director and Artistic Director of Dance Reagan Messer.

“MoCo’s mission of ‘transforming lives through movement and creative expression’ is achieved through the educational process. We welcome all students, wherever they are in their creative arts journey,” Messer said.

The new building features several sustainable building designs, including solar panels that cover the building’s roof. The building project was funded by a grant by a donor-advised fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Funding for MoCo is provided by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and other charitable organizations.

“The biggest thing that we have done is get a lot of our power through solar panels that we have installed on our roof,” Messer said. “We are seeing a tremendous saving in our energy use.”

The new building was designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly by KCS Architects. KCS Architects is located in Keene and was founded in 2014 by Katie Sutherland.

“We always try to do as much as we can sustainably with these buildings to lower our carbon footprint for the longevity of all of our lives and for the longevity of the building,” Sutherland said.

KCS Architects tries to create long-lasting buildings by building sustainable, durable buildings that will offer flexibility as an organization changes over time.

“It’s important to do sustainable work; it’s for all of us and the health of our environment and planet,” Sutherland said.

“We worked very closely with KCS Architects when she designed this building,” Messer said. “Her company really did make a point of being energy efficient.”

The building location was chosen for maximum solar gain, passive heating and daylight. KCS Architects focused on a plumbing design that uses low-flow, water-conservation type plumbing. The building is designed to have a high thermal resistance, which lowers the amount of work required from the building’s heating and cooling system.

“Probably the biggest thing we did with MoCo was create a really good building envelope. We put a lot of insulation on the building’s roof and walls. There was no place for colder weather to conduct inside,” Sutherland said. “That was one of the most effective things we did and that will probably lower their cost the most.”

“Not only are we producing a lot of our power by the solar panels, but the building itself is very efficient,” Messer said.

MoCo has been operating in the Keene area since 1991 and offers classes to a variety of different age groups. The organization offers dance and theater classes as well as camp sessions.

“We work hard to maintain a culture of inclusivity, acceptance and encouragement. All are welcome here and, through our tuition assistance program, many families who otherwise couldn’t afford the tuition are able to participate and experience the many benefits of high-quality arts education,” Messer said.

“This is part of our effort to build a sustainable studio, largely due to the cost saving and keeping in mind our part to reduce our carbon footprint,” Messer said.

Kelly Regan can be contacted at


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