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Art Scene: The sound of silence

Christina Brusig
Staff Photo |

Working late at the Center for the Arts is like getting here early. You step into the gallery, into a quiet energy that never leaves, an energy that builds on itself like layers of ancient sand, steady and powerful.

I’ve been with the center for eight years, the last two as executive director, and I never tire of embracing that energy with a resolve, the knowledge that we make a difference in the lives of everyone who comes here. From the 3-year-old pre-ballet student taking the tentative first step to discovery to the 83-year-old plein air painter who creates with new energy and insight to the Alzheimer victim whose family has found a creative sanctuary for their loved one who, often, has a brief but authentic link to past memories.

On June 12, all that changed when a sudden rainstorm sent a powerful wall of water slamming into the Center for the Arts gift shop and gallery rendering them useless. We went from a bustling summer of classes and public events to a dead stop.



Emotional Negotiation

I allowed myself the natural reactions of shock, anger and frustration, and then I immediately thought of our dancers whose creative lives had just changed. Then I thought of an unspoken rule of performance — if the music stops during the show, keep dancing.

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Dance classes were immediately moved to the Masonic Lodge. The small art and pottery rooms were untouched, so those classes kept going. But the bigger questions still had no answers. If repair is extensive and time-consuming, is there a large location available so there is no interruption in classes and events? Will we have these answers before our fall semester begins on Aug. 19?

I immediately addressed the City Council with this plan: To make a permanent move to the former library building, which has been sitting vacant for over three years because the contract between the city and the county fell through to make this property a senior center. We feel it is in the best interest of the community to welcome a vibrant and thriving arts scene downtown. Not only are the arts an economic driver providing jobs, driving sales tax, and promoting the overall well-being of our entire community, the arts help us celebrate the unspoken depths within each of us.

We are in serious need of a new home, and our special city is in need of a morale boost. Moving us downtown will do exactly that. The Center for the Arts building needed $1.3 million in improvements before the extensive structural flood damage. The old library needs a working elevator. The cost benefit analysis for the city is a no-brainer. But the city wants to hear from you. And so do I.

We have started a community petition to show City Council and our new city manager how many people are in favor of this critical move. We need a home in the next four weeks, and it needs to be a permanent home. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the decisions that need to be made couldn’t be more critical.

Will you help us? Sign our petition or write your City Council and city manager to tell them how important the arts are to this community. You can access all of their contact information by visiting the city of Glenwood Springs website. To sign our petition, christina@glenwoodarts.org.

Thank you for your support. We love our community and will continue to provide endless opportunities for people from all walks of life, if we just get the chance.

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


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