Steamboat Creates seeks land donation to build amphitheater
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Creates is in the process of doing what they do best — creating something new for the community. This time, it’s in the form of an outdoor performance space for concerts, plays and more.
The nonprofit is searching for a potential donor to give land that would provide the site for an amphitheater to be constructed.
The idea arose from a needs assessment conducted by Steamboat Creates in 2019, in which they found their current facilities were not meeting the needs of many of the arts organizations in town. They did not move forward with a feasibility study because, shortly after, COVID-19 hit.
“What COVID really drove home was the need for a permanent outdoor performance space, so that we can have arts and cultural programming every summer and fall, no matter what comes at us,” said Steamboat Creates Marketing Director Dagny McKinley.
Now Steamboat Creates is working closely with other performing arts nonprofits in town to determine needs based on size and use, among other things. They have also been communicating with the city for a place where this project might be possible.
The biggest goal for the amphitheater is to provide arts and cultural entertainment during the summer and fall. McKinley notes that while Steamboat does have several outdoor venues, such as the Yampa River Botanic Park, organizations like the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra need a large stage, shade for the instruments so that they don’t get warped in the sun and potential storage space for multi-day performances.
“It would be amazing to have a space where people walking by stop and hang out for a little while, read a book or bring a guitar and play,” McKinley said. “I really see an amphitheater as a huge community asset that lets people enjoy the unique natural landscape of Steamboat while engaging in arts and culture. We could have our own mini Red Rocks here, something that sets us apart from other communities.”
Steamboat Creates envisions other organizations such as Piknik Theater, Opera Steamboat and Steamboat Symphony Orchestra utilizing the space, as well as dance performances, individual musicians, comedians, poets and other performance artists who come to town.
Executive Director Kim Keith said the goal of building a permanent outdoor amphitheater is to create a place that has a strong sense of community and meets the needs of local creatives.
“Collaboration is key to a project like this, our partners provide invaluable support and insight into creating and achieving this vision,” Keith said. “Ultimately, we will enhance awareness of our vibrant performing arts scene and add to our rich cultural history.”
Steamboat Creates board member Tyler Gibbs has been an advisor for the project, after having spent a long career as an architect and city planner. He said the first step is to find the land and space for the amphitheater.
While the ultimate goal would be to create a permanent stage with technology such as lighting and amplification, the reality might be to create a temporary site for summer performances, preferably a space that could evolve over time.
“I envision this as a project that would start modestly and build over time, as it needs to,” Gibbs said. “It is much easier to seek funding when you can describe what you’re doing and what you can achieve over time.”
The organization plans to seek grants and private funding for building and maintenance costs.
“This is a once in a lifetime legacy someone could leave the community that will create connections within the community and let the seeds of dreams and possibilities be born through plays, operas, dance, music and spoken word,” McKinley said.
Anyone interested in supporting the project is asked to contact McKinley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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