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Letter: Performing arts center needed

This is written in response to the article titled “Glenwood Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update Underway” on page A2 of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent of Friday, July 15, 2016.

Missing from the survey on the recreation master plan was the urgent need for a performing arts center in Glenwood Springs. At the present time local theater groups and the community orchestra utilize facilities at local schools for rehearsal and performance venues. The Jeannie Miller Theater in Glenwood Springs High School does not suffice as a community theater substitute. The individual schools must schedule their spaces to benefit primarily the students and school activities. Other organizations’ space rental needs are secondary and subject to the management of these spaces. Local churches generously make their facilities available as possible.

Current community center amenities consist of an ice rink, gym, climbing wall, exercise facilities, tennis courts, meeting rooms and a pool. However, a theater was never constructed. Within the past several years, community input was solicited, and discussion included conceptual ideas for a theater at the Glenwood Springs Community Center complex. Public meetings brought forth mention of theater use as a convention center, movable seats and shared facilities with the skating rink.



A performing arts center should be designed and operated as a totally separate entity from the existing community center and athletic facilities. There is need for a large auditorium, separate rehearsal space, equipment storage space, dance class space, scenery construction/storage space for local theater groups, and a catering kitchen. The design, planning and ultimate operation of a performing arts center should be under the direction of a board including members of the organizations (e.g. orchestras, theater groups, dance ensembles, etc.) who will be the primary utilizers. An art gallery and art class space could also be incorporated. Location is critical. The confluence area is unsuitable due to noise from trains and possible automobile traffic.

Several notable community theater operations exist in the state. These include the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Lone Tree Arts Center, and the excellent theater of the Lakewood Cultural Center. On the Western Slope examples include the Grand Junction Avalon Theater and the Ute Theater in Rifle.



The time is now.

Rick Oakes

Glenwood Springs, president, Symphony in the Valley


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