Your Ah Haa Moment: New Year's Eve bash

Your Ah Haa Moment: New Year's Eve bash

[click “Play”, Josephine Fallenius talks with Susan about Ah Haa]


Gala_image Ring out the old, support the new.

On Friday, December 31,Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts hosts its second annual New Year’s Eve dinner, 6:30 – 10 p.m., an evening of fine food and wine, fine art, entertainment and friends. Proceeds from the event mean the nonprofit is one step closer towards covering operating expenses (which are not covered by tuition) and eliminating the remaining debt on the roof over its head, the historic train depot, and thereby deepening its undisputed position as the community’s cultural center.

After 17 years in an old brothel in Popcorn Alley, Ah Haa took a bold step in 2007 when it acquired the century-old depot, which once housed Harmon’s restaurant and the San Juan Brewing Company. The move allowed the school to expand its programming with stunning results.

In 2010, over 1,000 adults and children attended classes, and over 800 people attended Ah Haa’s exhibitions and performances. The school’s enhanced venue accommodated joint ventures with a long list of nonprofits. Family days – Spooktacular, Secret Santa Workshop & Eggstravaganza – were packed. Ah Haa also launched a program to partner with the Telluride Public Schools to provide an “art alternative” to the ski program, an initiative that is picking up a head of steam.

In 2011, Ah Haa plans to leverage its success in offering top-notch workshops through what it describes as “immersions.” The basic premise of “immersions” is this: if you enjoy painting over a long weekend, why not consider a month-long study with a favorite teacher?

If successful, “immersions” can attract new populations to town and keep them here over longer periods of time in a way very few other institutions, including major festivals, can. Immersions underscore the fact that Ah Haa is determined to function as an economic as well cultural engine in the greater Telluride community.

When Ah Haa acquired the building that has become a platform for the school’s growth with the aforementioned collateral regional goodies, it also took on debt with former owner James Loo. Over the past year, Ah Haa has worked tirelessly and successfully to retire those obligations and is now close to home free.

To learn more about the ways you can help push Ah Haa over the finish line and why the New Year’s Gala is well worth attending, click the “play” button and listen to board president Josephine Fallenius’s interview.

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