Letter: Supporting local performing arts venues

In 2020, Steamboat Creates undertook a needs assessment for additional performance space in Steamboat Springs. The result of the study was conclusive: Steamboat needs additional space to accommodate performing arts nonprofits and attract national talent to Steamboat for opera, dance, theater, music and more. Then COVID-19 hit, and further explorations were put on hold. Webb Management, the company who conducted the study, recommended focusing on local facilities and nonprofit organizations.

Since that time, two developments have occurred that are meeting the needs for many of the local performing arts groups. Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp is fundraising to stabilize and winterize the Julie Harris Theater, so the facility can serve performing arts groups year-round. And the building owners of the Chief Theater are undertaking a renovation to expand seating to over 300, install an orchestra pit and a backstage and create a convertible space that can be used for both performance and meetings. This not only helps the local performing arts, it also helps attract conferences and larger in-person events to our downtown area. This, in turn, supports downtown retail establishments and restaurants.

Having two historic venues available for performing arts as well as the Strings Music Pavilion is a boon for Steamboat Springs locals and will increase visitation from arts and culture tourists who spend more and stay longer than other types of visitors. In addition, the preservation and creative use of these unique landmark buildings allows them to continue to contribute to our cultural and economic vitality. Steamboat Creates strongly supports both of these projects, and we hope the community will as well.

As we move forward, Steamboat Creates will continue to assess the needs of our creative community and help identify and address gaps for performance needs within the creative sector. Investment in the historic Chief Theater and world-renowned Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp ensures the legacy of arts and culture that has defined this community for over 100 years.

Matt Eidt, president

Lauren Yeates, vice president

Jim Kissane, treasurer

Kirk Aigner, secretary

Tyler Gibbs

Tom Atwood

Jim DeFrancia

Jack Dysart

Norma Ruth Ryan

Carrie Requist

Candice Bannister, community advisor

John Bristol, community advisor

Steamboat Creates board of directors

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