As it is Thanksgiving week, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude. Although only in my position since August, I have already seen how much community means to Crested Butte.
I want to assure everyone that The Center is creatively working to meet the needs of our community while surviving as an organization in these tough times.
When The Center opened the doors to our brand new facility we had no idea COVID-19 would change everything just a few months later. The pandemic required us to close for three months last spring, and Public Health Orders limiting gathering sizes forced the cancellation of most of our 2020 events, which, in turn, caused a major staff reduction.
We quickly realized that The Center cannot operate as it has in the past. However, as the largest community building in the Town of Crested Butte, we were able to shift gears to meet the incredible demand by local groups for large spaces to gather and maintain safe distance protocols.
From its reopening on June 9 through October 31, The Center hosted 679 rental events (up from 234 rentals in the same period in 2019), including free and low-cost dance, fitness, and yoga classes; Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; small concerts and film screenings; intimate wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners; and youth art, music, and dance summer camps. While rental revenue does not begin to make up for lost ticket revenue from typical offerings like large concerts and festivals, The Center is stepping into the role we envisioned as a hub for the community.
The Center is very much open! Just in the last few months we have held classes, family films, screenings of the presidential debates, and an Audio/Visual Club for middle school students at the Crested Butte Community School. A world-class theater, new dance studios, a beautiful visual arts gallery, and ski boots? In addition to continuing our arts programming, The Center recently hosted the annual ski swap for the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation.
Dara MacDonald, Crested Butte Town Manager, recently expressed, “Given COVID-19, The Center has been very creative, and has adjusted their programming and involved more organizations in using the space. When we had to close our doors to the public because of the pandemic, The Center stepped up. The Center is still there for the community despite their own financial hardships.”
I am grateful to so many. We would not be open if not for the generous donors who sustain The Center. Their support, especially in this current economy, is essential.
I also want to acknowledge our community partners, including, but not limited to, the Crested Butte School of Dance, The Trailhead Children’s Museum, Crested Butte Community Yoga Co-op, Crested Butte Mountain Theatre, Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley, and the Crested Butte Community School Enrichment Program.
Special thanks to the Town of Crested Butte, specifically the town staff and town council members who have provided long-standing support for local arts and culture – both for The Center and the Creative District.
By working together, The Center is surviving; we are serving our community; and we are positioned to thrive in the future.
The Center For The Arts