Telluride Arts: One Of 89 Selected For "Our Town" Projects

Arts-based community development investment for Telluride, Colorado: Telluride Arts is one of 89 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” projects selected nationwide.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 89 awards totaling $6.89 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. Telluride Arts is one of the recommended organizations for a grant of $50,000 to help support the design phase of the Telluride Transfer Warehouse. The NEA received 274 eligible applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

Transfer Warehouse, Mlly Perrault of Telluride Arts.

Here is a link to the full story about the NEA grant winners – including Telluride and Telluride Arts.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Telluride Arts to cultivate vitality in their communities through the arts.”

“The Our Town Grant supports projects that contribute to the livability of communities and place the arts at their core,” Kate Jones, the executive director of Telluride Arts, said in a statement: “The Telluride Transfer Warehouse project does just that. It will be a spectacular space for the community to gather at the heart of our community. With this grant, we will commission an artist to capture the building’s memories and help us imagine its future and we will continue to engage the local community to help us hone the final designs for the space, to ensure it is right for Telluride.”

Built in 1906, the Telluride Transfer Company Warehouse is an imposing, two-story, sandstone structure that is the one of the most important buildings in the Telluride National Historic Landmark District. The building served as the livery barn, warehouse, and office for the Telluride Transfer Company until the 1950s. It remained in use as commercial storage and as a filling station until 1978. Its roof collapsed in the spring of 1979 and the structure was allowed to deteriorate since that time.

The Telluride Transfer Warehouse stands on a property that was, until recently, owned by the Zoline family, whose patriarch is the founder of Telluride Ski Resort. The building is located on one of the most iconic sites in Telluride, also one of the last infill development parcels in town. The restoration of this historical part of town will effectively activate a vibrant cultural corridor linking the ski resort and Mountain Village Gondola with Downtown Telluride.

Transfer Warehouse, back when. Courtesy, Telluride Arts.

The multi-stage and multi-faceted effort to secure the Warehouse for public use and the plan for adaptive reuse as a center for the arts, began in late 2014 when the new owner asked Telluride Arts to take the lead on the project. Working closely with the Town of Telluride and the property owner, Telluride Arts structured a deal that secured the site as a public space in perpetuity. The effort will culminate in the total restoration of the crumbling National Historic Landmark.

The vision for the Warehouse is to create inspired, elegant, flexible spaces that support programming designed to elevate the intellectual and cultural life of Telluride.

The building is a spectacular blank canvas, encased in a National Historic Landmark that is standing like a sentinel at the heart of our increasingly cosmopolitan mountain town. Occupying only a 6,000-square-footprint, the building is relatively small in scale, but will have a major impact on the future of Telluride. It will be a tangible expression of the Arts District: welcoming, inclusive, and world-class, hospitable to local artists and organizations and internationally acclaimed programming.

The restoration project will re-engage our local community in the final planning of the space to work with the architect on space and programming design, both mutually informed. The architect selection process has been completed ahead of schedule, with LTL out of New York selected as the winning firm.

Transfer Warehouse, a shell game filled with promise.

(See related story about the winner of Transfer Warehouse design competition here.)

In this phase of the project, Telluride Arts will commission an artist or artist team to produce digital media that captures the history of the Warehouse and sets the stage for its future. Full details will be released this month.

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. The NEA recently relaunched the creative placemaking web page which includes lots of resources.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17.

Telluride Arts is a non-profit arts agency founded in 1971 that elevates a culture of the arts in the Telluride Arts District.  Find the Telluride Arts offices across from the library at 135 West Pacific Avenue, or online at www.telluridearts.org, at Telluride Arts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or call at 970.728.3930.

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