Telluride Arts: Announcing 2023 Small Grants & Augment Grants!

Telluride Arts is excited to announce the 2023 Small Grants for Artists recipients. 

Go here for more about Telluride Arts (going back to 2009).

This year, the Augment Music Project, a local nonprofit and umbrella program of Telluride Arts that exists to foster and support the music culture of the greater Telluride region, teamed up with Telluride Arts to offer additional funding earmarked for local musicians.

As a result Telluride Arts’ 2023 Small Grants winners include 7 musical artists and 7 additional artists, whose disciplines span literature, public art, community projects, and fine art. Those artists represent a microcosm of the diversity of creative talent that thrives in the Telluride Arts District. The designated funds will support their professional development and various creative processes.

Every year, a peer-selected panel of artists and arts professionals from diverse disciplines and creative industries gather to review and evaluate the proposals and mindfully award the funds. If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of this committee in the future, please send a note to Austin Halpern:

Proposals are selected based on the outstanding quality and composition of the artists’ works, as well as their outlined contribution to and enrichment for the greater Telluride community. Grant recipients share their work publicly through performances, exhibitions, workshops and other forms of reveal.

The Small Grants for Artists program is a long-standing collaboration between the Town of Telluride and Telluride Arts. Over the last 20 years, the initiative has served to sponsor and support local artists, investing in creative endeavors and advancing expertise.

Since its inception in 1999, the Small Grants program has proudly supported over 300 artists. And it continues to grow!

2023 Small Grant Recipients

Ian McMullen
Telluride Zine

Telluride is a unique and special place, but a lot is changing. Many locals and old-timers wish for the good ol’ days— the weirdness, a plethora of housing opportunities, more eccentric characters walking down Main Street, and endless spontaneous run-ins.

Ian doesn’t disagree, but having been in Telluride for only four years gives him a different perspective. What if we didn’t just focus on what Telluride was, but instead turned to what still could be? As a young creative and active community member, Ian wants to celebrate, share, and highlight the current and next generation of people in Telluride, as custodians working to keep culture alive and well.

The result will be a short-form zine built on a collection of environmental, creative, community, and culture-based content. It will be a multimedia, photo essay inspired by mountain culture and its inhabitants, incorporating words and ideas from contributors and friends in a fresh and unrestricted manner.

Jacqui McCormick
Tunnel Through Time

Jacqui McCormick is an art and ancient history teacher at the Telluride Mountain School. In collaboration with her students and fellow teachers, Jacqui intends to spearhead a community art project inside the Lawson Hill bus stop tunnel. A part of Jacqui’s personal mission as a teacher is to focus on cultural diversity, personal expression, and the context of people and places.

With that attention, each art panel in the tunnel will focus on a different time in Telluride history, beginning with the indigenous wanderings of the Ute tribes and culminating with the modern and bustling ski town culture of Telluride today.

Jade Rose
Five Element Tarot

Jade Rose has been reading Tarot for nearly 20 years. With this grant, Jade plans to illustrate and create the first draft of a new Tarot deck.

Current Tarot decks correlate with four of the five elements. This new deck will add a suit to include the omitted element—wood.

Jade plans to share the new Tarot deck through weekly tea and tarot readings at the Mountain Gate Teahouse and a grand revelation session within the community.

Her goal is to use the new deck in her practice, to help clients understand themselves and the people in their lives with more clarity and empathy.

John Kirk Drogsvold
3D Mandalas for Community Creative Empowerment

With this grant, Kirk plans to design and build a series of 6-12 elegant mandala-like 3D sculptures.

Kirk hopes to lead a community “Build Your Own Sculpture” workshop, as well as auction off the sculptures to raise money for future arts grants in the Telluride community. Each sculpture will be created with laser-cut materials, beads, and wire and will come with digital cut files.

Kirk’s ultimate goal is to use his artwork as a tool to help build communities, like Telluride, through creative empowerment.

Justin Criado
Lies I Tell My Cat

Rev. Justin Criado is an award-winning journalist, editor, author, and ordained minister, known for his anti-Amazon ethos and engaging writing style. In his debut book,”Chronicles of Chaos” (supported by a 2022 Telluride Arts Small Grant), Justin shared a collection of creative nonfiction writings, including expanded and edited versions of previously published Daily Planet columns.

In his follow-up book, “Lies I Tell My Cat,”  Justin will take readers through a series of original content, that’s yet to be unveiled to the public. With 10 pieces already outlined, Justin’s vision for the second installment of the collection is a deeper dive into his own abilities as a writer, as he descends into the general madness and strange happenings of everyday life.

Justin’s work has been featured in the Denver Post, Westword, Salt Lake City Weekly, Phoenix New Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, as well as the Telluride Daily Planet, where he currently serves as editor.

Meghan Pittenger
The Wheels on the Goose

Meghan Pittenger is writing and illustrating a book about everyone’s favorite way to travel in Telluride – the beloved Galloping Goose bus!

The 21-page work is meant to be a fun and interactive experience, emphasizing the importance of making green choices, as well as choices that benefit personal well-being.

Meghan plans to introduce the project to the community through a book reading, with hopes to continue sharing the story through local retailers and the public library. After the publication of “The Wheels on the Goose,” which will be Meghan’s first published effort, she intends to further her journey as a children’s author while her own children continue to grow.

Trang Pham
Thankful for the People of Telluride (or POT)

For the last decade, Trang Pham has been exploring a common, yet unconventional art form—latte art.

Trang has taken her latte art to another level, drawing portraits of people in their coffee. The end goal of Trang’s project is a photo exhibition at a local coffee shop.

Trang is planning a series of diptychs. On one side of each piece, there will be a photographed portrait of a community member in Telluride; next to that will be a photograph of that portrait drawn into a coffee cup as latte art.

With this grant, Trang is planning an inherently community-based project, which she describes as a thank-you to the people of town who have supported and shaped her experience.

2023 Augment Music Grant Recipients


Aubrey Mable
The Open Sea, Instrumental Project

Aubrey Mable, one-half of LVDY Music, is developing her second solo, instrumental EP titled “The Open Sea,” a play on the fact that all the songs will be performed on guitar, in the alternate tuning of Open C.

Grant funds will be the catalyst for the up-leveling of Aubrey’s home studio. Through the recording of this 4-6 song EP, her aim is to support listeners in feeling lighter and more connected to the world around them. At the conclusion of this project, Aubrey plans to perform an EP release show for the community, where she will build these loops on stage and answer questions about the process.

Once recorded and released, Aubrey’s vision for this EP is to collaborate with a filmmaker, using these tracks as the soundscape to a film that will be shared with the Telluride community. Until then, Aubrey will continue to play live music yoga at Practice and is excited to add these songs into the rotation.

Claire Beard
Amplifier and Mic for Outdoor Classical Performances

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Claire Beard is a talented flute player. When she’s not organizing Chamber Music Events or teaching local flute players, Claire lends her experience and extensive repertoire to customizing live music sets and bespoke arrangements for weddings and special events.

With this grant, Claire will purchase a high-quality microphone and amplifier that will allow her to expand her performance range to accommodate outdoor classical music concerts and larger indoor spaces.

She intends to use the new equipment for solo performances and to share it during Chamber Music Happy Hour concerts and MusicFest Local Artist Nights.

Edgar Quiroz

“NEW VINTAGE” is a Hip-Hop/Dance project by EQ, Edgar Quiroz. The project consists of a unique combination of Spanish rap and raw lyricism, with a versatile sound to get you dancing or relaxing.

Production for the project has already begun, with some songs in the mixing stages. Working with a great team of engineers and producers, Edgar is excited to reveal the fruits of his labor with the project release in Spring of 2023. With a strategic release plan and a professional sound, Edgar’s goal is is for this project to take him to the next level in his music career and help bring attention to the talent in Western Colorado.

Once complete, Edgar intends to put together a listening party to share “NEW VINTAGE” with the Telluride Community. In addition, Edgar aims to share his experience with others by starting a music production class to teach others how to create their own music.

Jacquelyn Garcia
The Queens of King Street EP

Born of the desert and created in the mountains, “The Queens of King Street” EP is a collaborative music project featuring the work of Jacque Garcia, Emily Arendt, Jenna Talbott, and Chad Biddle. In a style penned “Folkal Harmony,” the group blends stories inspired by landscapes and lore with three vocal parts and string instrumentation.

Though “The Queens of King Street” has been performing original music for a few years now, they have yet to record anything intentionally. In this project, they will record four original songs in an EP. Producing an EP will allow the group to distribute their music to family, friends, fans, and venues so that their art can reach a wider audience.

With this grant, Jacque and the band are hoping to purchase a condenser microphone, along with studio and mixing time. After the EP is recorded, Jacque plans to use the equipment, skillset, and knowledge gained to further enhance “The Fig,” a space for emerging artists in Telluride.

John Kirk Drogsvold
Treasures from Porto – A Fresh Album

With this grant, Kirk plans to continue writing and record a new album with a live debut in Telluride.

Over the past year, Kirk became inspired by the music, art, and culture he experienced while living in Portugal. The city of Porto introduced him to a beautiful mix of artistic flavors from Europe, Africa, and South America. Since then, Kirk has curated new material by incorporating those cultures into his craft. His goal is to capture the work in a professional studio and share it with the Telluride community.

This grant will afford Kirk an opportunity to articulate a fresh sound and record it professionally. It will help him refine his craft and allow him to share new music that reflects his growth as an artist.

John Sullivan
Lavalanche Album

With support from these grant funds, John “Sully” Sullivan and Lavalanche, the band intends to record and engineer 45 minutes of original music. After mixing and mastering, they aim to have the album finished for a Telluride album release show by June 2023. This project will be a stepping-stone for the group. While successful in booking performances in Telluride, the band has struggled to showcase its sound to venues, festivals, and production companies outside the region.

This album will solidify Lavalanche’s electronic press kit and help make them more attractive for booking bigger performances. Overall, this is the next step toward advancing their professional music careers.

Lavalanche rocks a fiery, but smooth 1960’s rhythm and blues sound, with Mike Enriquez on the Hammond B3 organ, John “Sully” Sullivan on the drum set, Danny Dalessandro on the saxophone, and Tyler Simmons on the electric guitar.

Warren Gilbreath
Earth Home Recordings

Earth Home Recordings will be Warren’s first proper attempt at recording, collecting, and sharing original musical ideas in digital and physical formats. Through streaming platforms, Warren’s vision for Earth Home Recordings is the freedom to release ideas, demos, jams, alternate versions and sketches of songs, soundscapes, EPs and full-length albums as they are completed.

Funding from this grant will go towards acquiring the equipment necessary to record at a higher level, manipulate, and share original music from Warren’s home studio in Sawpit.

In addition to personal impact and inspiration, this funding also provides Warren with the equipment needed to be able to serve as a resource for local artists looking to record their ideas.

Comments are closed.