Pursuing patronage | SteamboatToday.com

Pursuing patronage

Steamboat Art Museum solicits support from the community

Steamboat Springs has cultivated a strong performing arts community and continues to produce talented artists, yet there is a gap in the town’s artistic package.

“We need to round out our cultural experience here,” said Shirley Stocks, secretary of the Steamboat Art Museum board of directors. “We have such great performing arts, it’s time to have the equivalent for visual arts.”

The board of directors has been working on establishing the Steamboat Art Museum since December 2005. The goal is to boost Steamboat’s tourism economy, establish an art research library to enhance the community’s resources, have a venue to exhibit world-class art, and collect, preserve and present fine art to the public with a focus on Northwest Colorado.

“There is a chain of little museums throughout the Rockies, and there is a big gap where Steamboat is,” Stocks said. “And we are hoping to have the premier art research library in the Rocky Mountains with big overstuffed chairs, Tiffany lamps and a gas fireplace in the corner like an old-fashioned library.”

The state-of-the-art computer system in the library will provide high-speed access to research any collection or art museum in the world. The board has already secured close ties with the Denver Art Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, the Springville Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.

Possible shows that have already been discussed include featuring Clyde Aspevig’s landscape paintings, Jerry Palen and Ace Reid’s western cartoons, traditional cowboy art, jewelry shows, traveling shows and possibly featuring Anschutz’s private collection.

“There is world-class art in the community in private homes, which would be available to the public if we had the venue,” said Robert Dieckhoff, president of the board.

“And the irony is that the national art scene in America has very strong ties to Steamboat Springs that have never been cultivated.”

The estimated economic impact to the community can be extensive.

“The impact of this museum is a tremendous opportunity for art to provide a broader economic base and increased spending on a tourism basis,” Dieckhoff said. “The ultimate impact to the economy of that, when you factor in the money people spend on a typical day on vacation, the turnover results in about $50 million.”

The board thinks the museum will offer tourists a fuller package that will attract more people and elicit them to return.

The museum also will function as a vehicle to expose Steamboat’s artists and cultural heritage to the rest of the world.

The Steamboat Art Museum will be holding its first charitable event to raise money for feasibility studies on its possible presence in the Rehder Building downtown and for various other start up costs.

The Art Event will take place on Oct. 14 with a gourmet dinner and entertainment by John Sant’Ambrogio and the Steamboat String Quartet. Peter Hassrick, the curator of the Denver Art’s Museum’s Western Collection will be the honorary speaker and the live and silent auctions will feature works by 20 local artists.

“The key is getting out the information, but the majority of people are really excited about the whole project,” said Bill Hamilton, vice president of the board. “So many artists in town have been just waiting for this.”

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