Ah Haa: Groundbreaking Event For New Building, 6/14

Ah Haa: Groundbreaking Event For New Building, 6/14

Everyone in the Telluride community is welcome to come celebrate the groundbreaking of the new building on the corner of Fir and Pacific Streets. The event, hosted by Telluride Arts, takes place Thursday, June 14, at Telluride Arts’ Telluride Transfer Warehouse on the SW corner of Fir & Pacific Streets, 4-7 p.m. FREE and open to all ages.

The multi-purpose project, spearheaded by the Town of Telluride, will provide a new home for the Ah Haa School for the Arts, including 70+ public underground parking spaces and 10 units of affordable housing. For more information contact Ah Haa at 728-3886.

Future home of the Ah Haa School.

The project broke on the corner of Fir and Pacific broke ground on April 9th, smack dab in the middle of off-season, so no one around to join in the celebration. Now is the right time to gather and enjoy food, live music, beverages and art-making to kick off the construction of Ah Haa’s new home and rejoice in the future home of Telluride’s long-standing arts education center.

This wonderful community project, on the historic “four corners parcel” will bring cultural vibrancy to the heart of Telluride – with an emphasis on the “art” part of “heart.” With the Telluride Arts Transfer Warehouse, which is caddy corner, and the Wilkinson Public Library just down the street, on one corner the Telluride region contains the three institutions that define Telluride’s new “Cultural Core.”

Ah Haa hopes the entire Telluride community and guests will come out for the event.

“Let’s celebrate this community project,” says executive director, Judy Kohin. “A new, larger home for Ah Haa, located in the very center of town, will increase Ah Haa’s visibility and the public’s access to art-making and all of our creative offerings. Coupled with centrally located affordable housing and parking, this multi-purpose project emphasizes the town’s commitment to improving and meeting the needs of a growing, more culturally committed Telluride community.”

Ah Haa’s New Home, the backstory:

View of the hole to filled with the future home of the Ah Haa School, taken from the porch of BIT.

The Ah Haa School has secured a 10,000-square-foot space in the heart of Telluride. The space, part of a large, multi-use development in downtown Telluride, is a project spearheaded by the Town of Telluride. The new building features 10 units of affordable housing, 75 underground parking spaces – and a new home for the Ah Haa School.

After occupying four different buildings over 27 years, Ah Haa looks forward to relocating to a new, purpose-built, long-term home. The current location, a renovated and retrofitted 6,700-square-foot train depot, became too small.

Ah Haa moved into the Depot in 2007, and paid off the building in 2014. Over those years, the Depot has been a great home, allowing the school more space than its previous location in the Silver Bell, which was just 4,000 square feet. The Depot enabled Ah Haa to increase studio spaces, establish adequate office spaces, and gave direct outdoor access with decks and a large patio.

Thanks to the Depot, nine years later, Ah Haa is flourishing.

Over the past five years, Ah Haa programming has grown over 55% (youth programming has doubled!). Unfortunately, the good news meant that once again the school found itself restricted in the current space as programs burst at the seams. That may be a good problem in terms of business success, it is impactful and complicated in terms of logistics and the school’s long-tern viability.

Ah Haa’s studios at the Depot were never properly renovated to accommodate an art school: they lack natural light, ventilation, spaciousness, storage, and proper clean-up areas. The ceramics room, the school’s busiest studio, is so cramped that works-in-progress have to be moved into an adjacent hallway. Moreover, with only nine potter’s wheels, ceramics classes often fill to capacity. Waiting lists are common.

Ah Haa would like to diversify and expand its programming to meet the needs of an ever-changing community.

For example, there is a growing interest in culinary arts, but the school is forced to use kitchens in private homes to accommodate cooking classes. On the other hand, the new facility will contain a teaching kitchen, ideal for small cooking classes for both youth and adults.

With a larger ceramics studio, Ah Haa can increase the number of classes and participants in its burgeoning ceramics program.

Further, with a new, designated gallery space that does not double as a classroom, visitors will be able to view and purchase works of art anytime. Ah Haa will be able to maintain the integrity of each exhibit through the duration of the show, without disassembling or hiding artwork to accommodate classes.

Ah Haa’s new facility will be in a more prominent, centralized location in the heart of Telluride, allowing more visibility for the school.

By attracting new students and attendees to its programs, the school will have more opportunities to can expand beyond its current offerings.

With additional revenue through tuition income, gallery sales and drop-in visitors, Ah Haa will become a more financially sustainable organization.

In other words, it is Ah Haa’s goal to preserve the future of the school, and a larger, better-equipped facility offers the most successful path.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.