Glenwood Arts Council says it’s now debt-free and ready to move forward

Members of the Glenwood Springs Arts Council enjoy a night at Rivers restaurant last Wednesday. Thirty members attended the annual meeting, where the board announced that the organization is now debt free, and it released plans for 2019 events.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

The difference a year can make was evident last week during the Glenwood Springs Arts Council annual members meeting at Rivers restaurant.

One year ago, the council met to decide the fate of the nearly four-decade-old nonprofit organization.

Facing a lot of obstacles and a mountain of debt totaling upwards of $60,000 that resulted in the city of Glenwood Springs pulling its long-standing financial support for the organization in 2017, members chose to reorganize and fight to keep the legacy alive.

Now, the Arts Council is officially debt-free and ready to move forward, the new council leadership announced at the Jan. 23 meeting.

“I grew up as a student of their classes,” Sarah Rankin Gordon, a Colorado Mountain College adjunct instructor and new Arts Council member said at the Jan. 23 members meeting.

“The council, 20-30 years ago, is the whole reason I was able to get into the performing arts,” she said. “I had a troubled childhood, and the arts were an outlet to me.”

Gordon said the council has a legacy in the arts community — the benefit it has on the arts in the valley, and especially the youth. To allow that to fold would have been absurd, she said.

After two meetings last year, the council set a strategic plan in place to insure a future for the organization going forward.

Starting from scratch with a new board of directors in place, the Arts Council set out to re-establish its mission of dedicating itself to “creating visibility, support and opportunities for the arts, celebrating the arts and enhancing the community.”

“I have a lot of faith in the new board of directors; they will be able to provide activities in the arts that really appeal to the whole community,” said long-time dance instructor Maurine Taufer, who also teaches at CMC. “I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

Last year, popular events like the 6×6 members art show and sale and the Culinary Art Festival were held in the winter and the fall, respectively. The council also partnered with CMC and Aspen Art Museum offering children’s classes in art and dance.

Through that work, the organization was able to pay off or satisfy all remaining debts dating back a couple of years.

“Everything is gone. We found almost everyone on the list of artists,” said board acting board Vice President Laurie Chase.

“We have paid everything, and the Hotel Colorado was very gracious and forgave our debt,” she said.

During the Jan. 23 meeting, members voted to retain all board members.

“These guys are so dedicated, investing all their time, love and tears into this,” Gordon added. “To be able to continue this legacy in the community, it’s really impressive. I’m looking forward to the dance classes for my kids.”

The council is starting 2019 with a new lease on life. This year, the council is planning to hold three key events.

On April 30, it will put on the International Jazz Day concert. And, starting June 20 and running through Aug. 30, there will be a new curated art show.

Also, the Culinary Arts Festival will be back for another year on Oct. 28 at the Hotel Colorado.

“I’m just thrilled, it is very heart-warming to see it get rebuilt,” Taufer added. “I’m super excited about the show the council is hosting at CMC this spring.”

The council is also looking forward to the future and continuing to help support arts in the community, Chase said.

“I’m looking forward to having a new venue, and being able to host more art shows, exhibits, dance, pottery and some of the more popular things we used to do,” Chase added.

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