Steamboat Art Museum announces $500,000 capital campaign

Lisa Schlichtman

— The Steamboat Art Museum has launched a capital campaign to raise an estimated $500,000 to renovate the museum’s home in the historic Rehder building at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Since 2006, the local museum has occupied the building and now operates the facility under a 99-year lease with the city of Steamboat, which was negotiated in 2010.

Rod Hanna, president of the museum board, said the campaign was announced last week, and appeal letters and brochures detailing the renovation projection were mailed to museum members and local arts patrons.

According to Hanna, the project will allow the museum to expand into the former Antares Restaurant area located in the rear portion of the building. Renovations are expected to cost approximately $500,000 and will bring the structure up to code and museum standards.

The museum hopes to have the money raised and the renovations completed by winter 2017.

The city has kick-started the campaign with a two-year matching grant of $187,500. Hanna said a core group of supporters and a family foundation have also stepped up to raise more than half the money needed for the match. The museum is also expecting to receive an additional $125,000 in grants from the Colorado Historical Fund, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and other entities.

When the project is completed, it will double the museum’s exhibition space, create an art research library and an artist workspace and add a shipping and receiving area. Work will include restoring masonry in the building’s stone walls, exposing and refurbishing original wood beams, bringing the floors in the back of the building down to grade so they are ADA accessible and installing a new HVAC system.

“This transformation will raise the level of visual arts in Steamboat to round out and complement the available cultural opportunities of our community, including music, dance, theater, opera, crafts and communication arts,” Hanna said in a news release.

The work will also preserve a historic building located in the middle of the city’s newly designated Downtown Historical District, Hanna added.

Constructed in 1905, the first-story walls of the building are made of blocks of native rock-face sandstone, and the second story is made of hand-pressed local red-clay brick. It was designed in the Romanesque Revival style with a signature sandstone arch as its entryway.

The Rehder building, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, has been home to the First National Bank, the Ford Garage offices, an ice cream shop, a creamery and three restaurants to name just a few of the businesses that have set up shop there over the past 110 years.

The late Helen Rehder, a local artist, bequeathed the building to the city in 2004 with the stipulation it be used as a museum.

The Steamboat Art Museum was founded shortly after, and in 2006, the museum hosted its first exhibit in the historic building. Since then, 22 different exhibits have been showcased, and more than 80,000 people have visited the museum.

“The museum has made great strides since its founding in 2005, relying primarily on volunteer effort,” Hanna said.

In addition to hosting art exhibits, the museum holds several educational programs each year, sponsors artists workshops and hosts the annual Plein Art Paint Out in the fall. The facility is also available to be rented out for private parties or community events.

Anyone interested in supporting the museum’s new capital campaign may contact the museum at 970-870-1755 or

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email or follow her on Twitter @LSchlichtman

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