Restoration continues at Telluride’s historic Opera House

Restoration continues at Telluride’s historic Opera House

DSC06610 Telluride's historic Sheridan Opera House, constructed in 1913  by W. A. Segerberg, was a combination vaudeville and movie theatre. Floors connected to the luxe New Sheridan Hotel, facilitating the passage of prominent entertainers of the period, including Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Gish, and speakers such as Socialist Presidential Candidate Eugene Debs, directly from the stage to their rooms, with little fear of paparazzi dogging them.

However, beauty fades with neglect and this jewel box of a theatre fell into a serious state of neglect that only a major facelift could repair. Enter the Sheridan Arts Foundation.

Established in 1991, The Sheridan Arts Foundation was formed with the goal of restoring the lady to her former glory as a cultural hub for the Telluride community. With the aid of the Colorado State Historic Fund, the Sheridan Arts Foundation has spent approximately $1.3 Million to restore this local treasure.

The restoration project continues with stencil replication, which began in late September when artist Ken Scar and his team began painting stencils that once adorned the Opera House walls.

Through fundraising events and individual donations over the past year, the Sheridan Arts Foundation has raised $21,000 towards this project. To reach the fundraising goal, however, approxiamtely $8,000 is still needed. "We have faith that the Telluride community will assist us with the remaining fundraising for this project," said marketing director Amy Jorgensen. "We're already impressed with the generous donations we've received for this historic project to date."

The Historic Stencil Replication Project, the final element of Phase III of the Sheridan Opera House renovation project, marks the culmination of 10 years of research and planning. Old photos reveal that the Sheridan Opera House was originally stenciled throughout the auditorium. Working from the photos, the restoration team, Klinke & Lew uncovered some of the stencils beneath several layers of paint.

Why is the original decorative painting of the Opera House of such historic importance? The transitional style between the Art Nouveau of the late 1800s and the Craftsman of the 1920s is both rare and unusual, so the Sheridan Opera House represents a "missing link" along the continuum of architectural styles in the United States. Aesthetically, the stenciling unifies and harmonizes the interior.

For more information about this projet, call Ronnie Palamar at 970.728.6363, ext. 1, or visit the Sheridan Opera House office. Donations may be mailed to:
Sheridan Arts Foundation
P.O. Box 2680
Telluride, CO 81435

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