“An Artist’s Dream:” The Silverthorne Art Board is interested in the creation of a community art center in the former fire station

The old Silverthorne Fire Station is pictured on Sunday, November 21. The Silverthorne Art Board has expressed interest in potentially transforming the building into a community arts center.
Lindsey Toomer / Daily News Summit

Silverthorne City Council met with the city’s art council on November 10 to discuss the possibility of creating an art center as part of the revitalized downtown, and council members have expressed keen interest in the old fire station of the city.

Director of Recreation and Culture Joanna Cook said that as the city seeks to expand the presence of art downtown, community members of the Silverthorne Art Board have stepped up to ensure that let that happen.

“This group is so excited about the potential and the opportunities downtown, and we know the only way the arts will be authentic is to do it from scratch with the people who live here,” Cook said.

As Fourth Street Crossing and conversations around Fourth North continue, the fate of the old fire station at the corner of Blue River Parkway and Fourth Street remains in question, and the Art Council is interested.

Arts Council member Cody Mendoza said many artists living in Silverthorne struggle to find their own creative spaces, and a collective and community art space can make artists feel welcome. .

“We have a thriving community, but finding real space to display and create? It’s a bit missing, ”Mendoza said.

While living in Wyoming, Arts Council member Lisa Hueneke ran an art center similar to the one the Council hopes to create in Silverthorne, and she’s already gone through the process of finding a new space.

“This space that we are looking for is really a catalyst for so many other things to bring artists together, to create space… to bring our community into this developing city center,” said Hueneke.

Cook said she has visited other art centers across the state and most have some sort of anchor retail or catering business to help pay some bills as well as co-op spaces for rent. for artists. But she said a space like this can work in a number of ways.

Hueneke said the Art Board is also interested in getting a designation from the Colorado Creative Arts District in Silverthorne and that an arts center is an essential part of being able to do so. She also said the location of a space like this is important and that the fire hall being in the middle of all new commercial developments would provide more opportunities for artists.

City Manager Ryan Hyland noted that there will be new retail space with the development of Fourth North and asked if the Fire Hall building is what the Art Council is most interested in or if it ‘is the location.

Pamela Churman, art board member, said she thought the fire station was magical, describing it as “an artist’s dream.” She also said there wouldn’t be much for the building to do to turn it into a functioning art center.

Nina Waters, art board member, said odd ’70s architecture and exposed brickwork gives artists an opportunity to make the space their own rather than stepping into a “whole new and sterile” environment. which does not inspire artistically.

“You give the artists a space of their own, and they’re going to take it to the moon,” Waters said. “… You give them something old that they can choose and reuse in any way – that’s a victory in my book.”

Cook reiterated the city’s motivation to save other old aspects of the city – as it did with the Old Dillon Inn and The Mint at Fourth Street Crossing – and said the Art Council is is also interested in the aesthetics of the new city center.

“When you talk about authenticity and bringing an old city center to life, it’s not always about razing everything and building anew, but what is left of life and what can be returned special? Cook said. “And when we walked through (the fire station) it was pretty clear that it looked like all the other art co-ops you go to in all the other towns. … They take old buildings and reuse them.

Council member Mike Spry noted that the city bought the building because it wanted to have a say in what is a key part of the city’s core.

Waters said a retail space would help energize the downtown area, but educational classes and other community programs would allow the space to thrive day and night. She also pointed out that the city would have control over how artists use the space and could ask them to teach a number of courses or gallery opening work, for example.

Council members were all thrilled to see the enthusiasm of the Art Council and asked members to come back to the Council with concrete plans on how they see the concept work. They also asked about other cities in Colorado that have set up these centers so that they can go and visit them.

“With the ideas we already have, this space could really be something special,” said Hueneke.

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