Churchill family shares their love for the performing arts
Citizen Telegram Contributor
Growing up in Rifle, the Churchill children learned that a family is a community, and a community is a family.
It’s a concept they put into practice every day at the ArtillumA Dance Studio, and through supporting and promoting various fine arts projects throughout the Rifle area.
Parents Ted and Lynn Churchill moved to Rifle from Carbondale in 1995 with their four children: Michael, now 25; twins Landon and Jordon, now 23; and now 21-year-old Taylor.
As home school-taught, the children became involved at the Academy of Dance and Gymnastics in Rifle, owned by Kristin King. In 2010, the Churchills purchased the business from the Kings. They renamed it ArtillumA, which stands for art and illumination, and made “supporting, promoting, exhibiting, creating, and sharing art of all forms; providing education, enrichment and exposure to people of all ages and walks of life through the sharing of local arts and the introduction of outside arts” their mission, according to their website. Since 2010, the studio has expanded from 94 students to “right around 300 [students], including the fitness classes,” said Landon Churchill.
While the City of Rifle has incorporated the gymnastics side of the program, ArtillumA continues to add new programs for all ages and interests, offering 56 classes in August 2012, from classical ballet to Zumba.
“Right now we’re definitely mainly dance, but we hope to enhance and promote all forms of the arts,” Lynn Churchill said.
In addition to their ever-expanding menu at ArtillumA, the Churchills assist with the theater program at Rifle High School, orchestrate the Gracenotes Musical Therapy program at local hospitals and nursing homes, and bring their original “Little Man” shows to local events and fundraisers for organizations like the Pregnancy Resource Center, YouthZone, the Rifle Animal Shelter and more.
“It’s part of our service to the community,” said Michael Churchill.
Being raised in a close-knit family – all four kids and their parents still live within a few blocks of each other and are committed to shared family dinners – and interacting with their community in ways that a public school schedule would have hindered, the younger Churchills say they learned “how to give back to the community.”
“Everyone is seeking fulfillment,” said Michael Churchill. “It all comes down to relationship. We get fulfillment from our relationships, in family and in community.”
Youngest daughter Taylor Churchill finds that fulfillment through her students. She started teaching dance classes when she was 14.
“Having a chance to touch children’s lives every day is wonderful. I like to think I can be a bright spot in their lives, a chance to help mold the future of our community,” she said.
“In the performance arts, there’s a large misperception about the value of ‘making it big’ in New York or Los Angeles,” Landon Churchill said. “It’s a widely propagated myth that’s how you find fulfillment in performing arts. I feel like bringing the performing arts to our community is more fulfilling.”
The Churchills are excited about the increased interest in the arts in Rifle, including the proposed community recreation center, the theater department at Rifle High School, and plans for the New Ute Events Center downtown.
Meanwhile, they’ll continue to bring the performing arts to Rifle, including events like the Dance Expo on Thursday and Friday, May 9-10, and the Littles Festival on Saturday, May 11, all at Rifle High School. For performance details, or information about other programs ArtillumA offers, visit artilluma.com.
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