$361K in arts programs added to 2018 Glenwood budget | PostIndependent.com

$361K in arts programs added to 2018 Glenwood budget

The now former Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts building, which the city may now use for its own arts programming through the city recreation department.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Filling in for an array of arts programs formerly offered by the financially beleaguered Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts will cost the city close to $361,000 next year, according to a 2018 city budget proposal.

The overall city budget, including general fund spending of about $16 million, is expected to be adopted at the Nov. 2 Glenwood Springs City Council meeting. A formal public hearing on the budget Thursday night drew no members of the public to comment.

Council in August decided to end its financial support for the Center for the Arts, which for several years had included paying the $50,000 annual salary for an executive director. The city has also asked the center to vacate the city-owned former hydroelectric building on Sixth Street.

The moves came amid growing concerns about the finances of the governing Arts Council, which prompted a city audit that detailed thousands of dollars of “likely unauthorized” and questionable expenses during the tenure of the former arts center director, Christina Brusig.

Among the money not accounted for was a $10,000 grant given by the city to the arts council earlier this year for purposes of creating a public arts program.

In ending the city’s relationship with the nonprofit arts organization, however, City Council agreed to have the city take over arts programming through its recreation department. The city is also forming an arts and culture advisory board.

Included in the new portion of the city parks and recreation budget is $360,900 for arts programs. Within that would be $58,600 to hire a full-time event coordinator.

“The budget is really built around a full array of arts programs, as was offered by the arts center,” Glenwood Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith told the Post Independent. “It’s not so much that we will be continuing what they were doing, as starting a whole new range of programs.”

That will include dance, pottery, painting and other visual arts, but without an emphasis on competition as had been one of the components of the arts center dance program, Smith said.

“We’re looking at much more introductory and community-focused programming,” he said.

Instructors will be hired to present the programs, Smith said, and the yet-to-be-hired coordinator will work with the city’s community programs coordinator, Tom Schwenk, to develop the arts program.

Whether the former arts center building will be used immediately for some of the classes remains to be seen, Smith said.

“There are some code issues that need to be addressed, and we want to make sure the facility is safe,” he said. “We also need to see if we have the numbers to be able to do programming there.”

The Community Center and other city facilities will likely house some of the classes, he said.

The budget also includes $20,000 for instructors and $76,000 for building maintenance, as well as purchase of equipment such as a kiln, pottery wheels, paint supplies and tools, and several improvements to dance facilities.

Overall, Parks and Recreation is looking at a $2.6 million operating budget for the coming year.

“We have worked to cut operating expenses for both parks and recreation next year, and are trying to be more efficient and bring some improvements and make repairs at the Community Center,” Smith said.

The 2018 budget also includes funding for shoreline restoration work at Veltus Park, as well as improvements to the basketball and tennis courts in that park. Continued planning for the shoreline work that is to be done in Two Rivers Park in 2019 will also continue next year, he said.

Following completion of the new Grandstaff Trail as part of the Red Mountain mountain biking trail network this year, the city will shift its focus to work on similar trails at the city-owned South Canyon site next year. That work is being done in coordination with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association.