It comes as no surprise to hear Telluride described as an arts community. On any given day in Telluride, you might see Roger Mason painting, flyers announcing Telluride Theater, Steaming Bean, and Sheridan Opera House performances, or hear live music strumming out of Town Park. But now it’s official: Telluride was recently designated as one of five Colorado communities to be a prospective Creative District.
In 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper signed legislation to encourage the development of arts communities throughout Colorado. “Colorado is filled with vibrant centers of commerce, culture and creativity, and is a magnet for creative workers,” Hickenlooper said. “The formation of Creative Districts provides visitors and residents with an opportunity to participate and invest in the arts, while contributing to the economic vitality of the region and attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists.”
Telluride faced steep competition in its bid for recognition as a creative district. Forty-four communities from twenty-five counties applied for the designation. Two areas of Colorado, Salida and Denver’s art district on Santa Fe, received official recognition as a creative district. By being selected as a prospective Creative District, Telluride will receive $8000 and consulting and technical assistance to enhance economic and cultural vitality through the arts.
Telluride plans to use the money to revise the cultural master plan that was first developed in 1996. The revision will include examining which arts can be used as a year-round economic drivers. Telluride will also investigate the space needs for art activities and artists, access to the arts, public art policy, and the need for increasing funding for local artists.
Says Kate Jones, Executive Director of Telluride Arts, to win official recognition during the next round of votes, “would mean that we have everything in place locally to support the arts and artists here.” A win for Telluride’s arts. And a win for Telluride. Our beautiful town is about to become even better.