Showing up strong |

Showing up strong

Christina Brusig
Staff Photo |

“May you live in interesting times.” I’ve always thought that bit of ancient Chinese philosophy was a positive sentiment.

Then a scholarly friend of mine said, “No, Christina, that is actually a curse.” I then realized that these last weeks had been very, very interesting.

June started out with a typically busy summer class schedule and the anticipation of three big events in July.

We were finalizing our fall schedule of classes and getting ready for several events at the center. But on June 12, that all changed when a sudden storm flooded the Art Center. We quickly had a change of course and, during the next weeks, I learned the true definition of community.

Our community has always been a destination location for tourists and a place where people relocate to live a different kind of life. Stunning mountain vistas, legendary caves, trails and rivers that continue to tell their ancient stories.

In the middle of all of that is the city with its people and their culture. The centerpiece of that culture is the Center for the Arts. I constantly see the results of our community involvement, educational outreach impact and the creative architecture that we have built.

SMU’s national recognition reaffirmed what we knew when we were designated the No. 1 small city in the nation in its first-ever Arts Vibrancy Index established “to enable arts and cultural leaders to overcome challenges and increase impact.”

Overcoming challenges

What will happen to this essential part of the lives of our friends and neighbors? When is something worth rescuing? When is an unexpected event the turning point? It is now.

We get up early at the Art Center, and by early I mean a staff that is dedicated to being ahead of the artistic curve, anticipating a community need and delivering the solution.

It means stepping up with after-school art, music and dance classes for five area elementary schools. It means continually expanding our class offerings.

It means working with corporations to design enrichment programs as part of their employee benefits package.

And it finally means keeping expectations high, community involvement absolute and ensuring that art is for everyone.

The community responded in the most authentic way there is.

They said yes.

Yes to helping us financially by voting for the Center in the First Western Trust #wealthisabout Grant Contest. We won.

Yes to the petition participation we asked for so that the City Council could finalize our permanent relocation to the old library building.

Yes, when 13,000 residents, friends and visitors attended five public events in the last three weeks.

To you, we will continue to say yes. Yes because you deserve it. You deserve to live in a culturally rich, artistically excellent city that celebrates its community and unique heritage. Thank you for believing in us, and giving me something to fight for.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Maya Angelou

Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at

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