Glenwood Springs Arts Council hits 40th anniversary on the rebound
Terry Glasenapp and his granddaughter, Emily, peruse stacks of seemingly endless laminated posters, attaching velcro pads first to the cards, then to the white walls. Vinyl records sit neatly in a row beneath them on cabinets, at the time tucked behind even more pieces of content sitting in black binders.
Buried within one of these books is a 40-year-old sheet of paper, listing off about 20 names, addresses and phone numbers. On the next page is an orange flier titled, “Glenwood Springs Council on the Arts and Humanities??”
It is dated Feb. 12, omitting the year of 1982.
Glasenapp’s newest exhibit, “Recollectivity,” opened this weekend in the Glenwood Springs Arts Council’s newest space, a small gallery and office donated for rent by the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which sits just opposite the pedestrian bridge down Sixth Street.
These artifacts, plus adjacent newspaper clippings covering the launch of the council, sitting in this particular space at this particular time, bridge the four-decade history of the council and only further the story of where it’s been and where it’s going.
The Glenwood Center for the Arts — a local cultural staple — is on the mend, years after a financial scandal brought on the closure of its home.
“We worked tirelessly to bring the board back to solvency because we realized how important arts were to the community, and we were all really passionate about that,” current Arts Council board president Laurie Chase said.
Chase joined the board as a member at large following the resignation of the previous board. Tammy Girardot took the role of president.
The group began paying off a $60,000 debt and picking up the pieces of the shock. It reached out to the community on what kinds of programming it should prioritize and moved important assets like its piano, which was sold to the Ute Theater.
“It was sad for me because it was one person’s errors and misjudgments that affected hundreds, at least,” Glasenapp — who said he served on the council board in the ’90s — said. “That’s all I really want to say, because there’s a comeback happening.”
One by one, events began returning. It started with the 6×6 members art show, where artists created on 6-inch-by-6-inch canvases. Then the Culinary Arts Festival, featuring local restaurants, returned.
In January 2019, the board announced it was debt free and ready to begin again in earnest, but it still missed a physical location to call home. US Bank offered up space for board meetings but not much else, Chase said.
Then, along came the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort in 2021 — specifically CEO and president Kjell Mitchell — with a resort board-approved offering of an office space just down the block along Sixth Street, charging no rent.
“(Mitchell) is the one who came forward and offered this space to us,” Chase said. “It’s allowed us to again have a semi-permanent space. We are hoping to expand and take off from this. So many people have helped us, including overwhelming support from the community.”
Mitchell and the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.
Glasenapp’s show will be the fourth at the council’s new venue, Chase said. It will run through late February, covering the proper 40th anniversary of the council.
In that expansive history, many names have made an impact on the organization, from Chase to others like Girardot, Mary Steinbrecher, Maurine Taufer, Terry Muldoon, Gayle Mortell, Thomas Lawley and too many others for Glasenapp and Chase to name.
Back on its feet, the vision for the council is clear: bigger and better.
“I’d certainly like us to get into a larger space and go back to doing classes,” Chase said.
She added ideas like using the adjacent parking lot for outdoor events like music and community art projects, like drop-in finger painting. She also highlighted the return of events like the 6×6 — this year a 10×10 in conjunction with Advocate Safehouse — the Culinary Arts Festival and, next year, the Wild Women exhibit with local artist Wewer Keohane.
The council is also planning a “big bash” this summer to celebrate the anniversary.
Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The art fair will return for a second in-person edition at the Aspen Ice Garden from July 31-Aug. 4 with exhibiting modern and contemporary artwork from 31 galleries.