Give from the heart, to HEART – for art
It seems like every time I pull up to this great, old Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts building, a crack in the stucco is a little deeper, a little longer, and another chip of paint has fallen off. I am just waiting for the sign to fall askew for the full effect of age and use. But once you’re inside, it’s bright, and you can just feel the positive energy. You’re shocked at the size. It’s very deceiving from the outside due to the forethought of Viennese-born and trained Colorado Midland Railroad architect and engineer Theodore Von Rosenberg.In 1886, Walter Devereux brought the necessary skill and finances required to introduce electricity to Glenwood Springs. He also set his sights on development of the Glenwood Hot Springs into a world-class resort. He hired Von Rosenberg to prepare designs for the pool and stone bathhouse, as well as for a 2,000-horsepower hydroelectric plant for the Glenwood Light & Water Co. Von Rosenberg designed the facility to aesthetically blend the plant with the adjacent Hot Springs resort. He employed a vernacular style more commonly found in residential structures of the time. Von Rosenberg’s sensitivity minimized the impact of the plant’s presence. Spanning over a century of useful purpose, this venerable building is on the roster of the State and National Historical Registers as one of the first hydroelectric plants in the United States. The innovative technology that once brought electricity to Glenwood Springs has given way to a new kind of energy, one that illuminates our community with ideas, activities and creativity. Time, use and weather have all taken their toll on the building. The Glenwood Springs Arts Council, faced with a significant renovation project, wrote a grant application to the Colorado Historical Society. In 2001, we were awarded $151,000 to begin the renovation process. Our task now is to raise the remainder of the funds – a total of $380,000 – to complete our HEART (HydroElectric plant for the ARTs) Capital Campaign and bring the building into good repair, make it historically correct, and serviceable for arts programs. We have finished Phase I of the project on time and within budget. We recently sent a capital campaign letter to everyone in our community asking for help. As a result of our appeal we have raised almost $7,000 toward our goal – a really good start. Before we can approach the major foundations for grant money, we have to raise at least 10 to 20 percent of our goal from private donations. That’s from us, baby! I spoke to a local philanthropist about his philosophy of giving. He said it was simple. “I give because it makes me feel good!” He said when asking for money, ask for more than a donation, ask for a sacrifice. “The more it hurts, the better I feel.” He also advised us to start with the board and staff. At first, we were all in lots of pain, but we’re all feeling better now.Everything we do in this great old building is life enhancing. Every event, every piece of art we hang, down to the individual classes, is a community builder. Everything we offer to kids is an investment in the future, theirs individually, and ours as a community. It’s a place with great energy. We urge all of you who support the arts – and those who would like to preserve the vanishing traces of regional history that this building represents – to consider giving to our capital campaign. The financial support you give is tax deductible. Simply send a check to the Glenwood Springs Arts Council, 601 E. 6th St., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.Thanks for your generosity. We promise it won’t hurt for too long.Gayle Mortell is executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts.
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This will be my 500th column — my final column in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.