‘Pagosa Arts & Culture Project’ Folds Up Its Tent

Archuleta County arts journalist Leanne Goebel sent out the following email announcement this past Sunday, entitled “Saying Goodbye” — regarding the local arts non-profit known as the Pagosa Arts & Culture Project:

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project Board made a difficult, but necessary decision to cease operation and donate all remaining monies to the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and Thingamajig Theatre Company.

Our 501c3 has been suspended and we will not move forward with any future projects. We encourage anyone who wants to create something, be it a work of public art, or a creative district, or a collaboration and brainstorming to pursue your ideas and, as individuals, we will support your endeavors.

Thank you to all who supported our organization over the years. Together, we accomplished great things. And, as professionals, we realize there is power in knowing when to close one door in order for something new to take seed.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project was perhaps best known in the Pagosa community as the sponsors of the annual “Pagosa MAKERS” events, which pulled together creative artists working in a wide range of media.

PACP was one of the few remaining arts-oriented non-profits in a community that once supported a number of similar arts organizations. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council, founded in 1988, closed its doors in 2012 following the loss of its small “gallery” building in Town Park, when the building was found to have structural issues. The Pagosa Arts Alliance was active for several years, promoting a cultural and performing arts facility; the group ceased to be active about seven years ago. Artstream Cultural Resources hosted the Whistlepig Concert series and several theatrical events, over the space of about six years, before closing up shop in 2009. Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre was active between 1995 and 2005, and then lowered the curtain.

Currently, the most active arts group in Pagosa is the non-profit Thingamajig Theatre Company, which is now entering their sixth full summer season of repertory musical productions.

Approximately forty artists gathered in the Senior Center dining room on Tuesday January 17, at the invitation of the Town of Pagosa Springs Planning Department, to participate in a casual discussion about the future. More specifically, the planning officials — Town Planning Manager James Dickhoff and Assistant Planner Rachel Novak — were looking for input from the arts community that might be useful during the updating of the Town Comprehensive Plan, currently underway.

Artists and arts lovers gathered at the Ross Aragon Community Center on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 to discuss ways to encourage a more vibrant arts ‘economy.’

The participants that night debated the future of “the arts” in Archuleta County — kicking around ideas like “arts districts” and “public art” and “bringing the art community together” — and some might have walked away from the meeting feeling like the beginning of something new and exciting. So far, however, we’ve witnessed only the demise of yet another well-intentioned arts organization.

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Bill Hudson

Bill Hudson founded the Pagosa Daily Post in 2004 in hopes of making a decent living writing about local politics. The hope remains.