Glenwood Springs Art Council wants to paint the community with a wider brush
Local organization looking to diversify membership, perspectives to advocate for the arts
The Glenwood Springs Arts Council is looking to expand its members for the upcoming year and incorporate a broader range of perspectives. After COVID-19, Travis Wilson said the Glenwood Springs community is hurting, perhaps particularly when it comes to the arts.
“Covid just knocked everything out. Everything in a way suffered in terms of participation, interest, priority. A lot of people had to push back on hobbies or anything for the arts just to have financial stability. I understand that I was in the same boat,” Wilson said.
Wilson will be the newest board member inducted at the annual membership meeting on April 28 over Zoom. He said he looks forward to helping grow arts in the community and bridge the gap between young people and community involvement.
“I feel like a lot of young people really don’t know what is capable of being done here. … I’d love to be, you could say an ambassador but also just a voice for younger people. Give them a chance to see what all can be done and what they can do for their community as well,” Wilson said.
Laurie Chase, board president of the arts council, said providing art classes and events at a community level is more important now than ever, given everyone’s mindset after a year of COVID-19.
“Especially right now when everyone is very stressed. … art is a fantastic outlet. It just really helps with mental health for all age groups,” Chase said.
To bolster excitement about joining the council, the membership meeting will offer a raffle for all new members who join prior to April 28. Local businesses donated $25 gift cards as well as other prizes donated by community members for a drawing. The council is also excited to receive approval on a lease for a new center, at 216 6th St. in Glenwood Springs, that Chase said will be utilized to increase opportunity for Glenwood residents to enjoy and celebrate the arts.
“I’m just really hoping that we can provide an artistic outlet for all different age groups in this space. Right now there will be very small classes because of social distancing, but we’re hoping to expand that since we’re just getting our foot back in the door,” Chase said.
Avery Smith, Vice President of the board and owner and operator of Emotion Cinema, wrote in an email that he also joined the council to help with growing art resources and events in Glenwood.
“I think it is important that we have an arts presence in our town – if you look at other Colorado towns such as Carbondale or Steamboat etc they just have a vibrant arts community, and it brings character, creativity and joy,” Smith wrote.
The council wants to best serve all community members, and Wilson said bringing in more young people will only strengthen the work they’ll be able to accomplish.
“I think just getting more young people involved helps create … a diverse ecosystem of thought and perspective. … It’s not meant to clash, it’s meant to be like ‘hey, this is what we’re seeing. This is an issue we can address.’ And I think that comes with any situation, you have to have multiple perspectives,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he sees financial stability as a big reason why residents may be reluctant to become involved. In his own experience with theater in the valley, he said he found rehearsal times and directors to be flexible when it came to his work schedule, which he needed to prioritize, and said that the same can be done for other young people who are seeking community from involvement in the arts.
“It’s really hard when you have to work. And in this valley, you know it’s a great place to live, but living here can be hard. … One of the things I would love to see the council do is recognize that and still find a way to get young people involved,” Wilson said. “‘Let’s try and find something you can still do where it’s not too much pressure, too much stress.’”
Glenwood Springs residents can register at the council’s website here. A membership will allow for discounts to classes and events put on by the council and an insider look at all things art-related happening in the valley. Chase also said in order to increase accessibility, the council will continue its scholarship program for individuals of all ages who can’t afford classes going forward.
“We have a scholarship program that was just initiated last year and that helps kids 5-18 get some help getting into a class financially if they’re not able to. … We also would like to extend that to the adult population as well.”
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