I'm frequently reminded of how great it is to live in a community that supports the arts. Though these are only some of the most obvious examples, I see it around town in the painted utility boxes and pianos:
I hear it in the many free concerts:
And nowhere was this support more apparent than at last week’s holiday open house for AIR, the Arts Incubator of the Rockies. To explain what they do, I’ll let their website speak for itself:
“The Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR) is a revolutionary partnership between Beet Street, the City of Fort Collins Cultural Services Department, and the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Arts Advocacy, and the Public Institute for the Arts (LEAP) at Colorado State University (CSU). AIR serves the Intermountain West and provides programs for visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, designers, arts administrators, and other creatives. AIR’s mission is to help develop, support, and advance artists and the power of creativity throughout communities in our member states.“
The open house brought together musicians, dancers, opera singer, actors, and writers for short programs and readings in a casual, grab-a-bite-and-a-drink atmosphere. (Feast your eyes on my awesomely bad cell phone photos. Yeah, those blurs are dancers.)
AIR’s new home is the Carnegie Building, which opened (in what is now Old Town) in 1903. Financed by Andrew Carnegie and built of red sandstone, it was the sixth public library in Colorado. It served that purpose until 1974. (I was young then but still remember the row of dour-looking presidential portraits lining the walls.) Two years later, it became home to the Fort Collins Museum, which remained there until last year.
Planned renovations include galleries, classrooms (wet, dry, and distance-learning), a theater, and a café. I’m so excited to see the changes that the coming year will bring to this venerable old building. (This picture, from the Fort Collins History Connection, is of the building shortly after construction.)