In 1985, a passionate group of local residents began raising money for a community arts center. Two years later they had raised $425,000 and the old county road maintenance garage was renovated into the current 6,000 square-foot Center for the Arts facility which houses a 215-seat auditorium with a stage, lobby, art gallery (exhibiting the work of local artists) set shop and two dressing rooms. The Center also has an attached outdoor stage. The facility is owned by the Town of Crested Butte and is leased to the Center for $1.00/year. The official grand opening gala was held on December 28, 1987.

The Center for the Arts was incorporated as a Colorado Non-Profit organization on December 26, 1986. IRS non-profit status was granted on May 1, 1987.

Governance is provided by a 18-member Board of Directors comprised of local residents and second home owners that reflect the demographic makeup of the Upper East River Valley. Three full-time and ten part-time staff members operate the facility, including managing, renting and booking cultural programs.