Painting Summer Songbirds, an online three-part watercolor intensive with award-winning artist Sarah B. Hansen of Portland, Oregon, at Ah Haa School for the Arts, starts in June. (Courtesy image)

Summer 2020 in Telluride is likely to be unusually quiet as the town adheres to COVID-19 guidelines. Without the annual Fourth of July celebration or most music festivals, it may seem like there’s not much to do in town, but there is, as local nonprofits and organizations have gotten creative in offering alternatives. So why not embrace the pause and cross something off your bucket list? The Ah Haa School for the Arts is offering paired down programming, both online and in person, this summer, according to a news release.

“From local artists who have volunteered to film free art lessons in our Maker Moments series to our students who are willing to try a new format with Zoom classes, we are so grateful to have a creative community that has embraced all of these changes,” Ah Ha instructor Tara Carter said. “For summer, we are very excited to offer private art lessons and roll out a brand new program, Ah Haa to-go. Both will allow those who are craving more of a hands-on experience the chance to discover their own Ah Haa moments.”

Have you always wanted to experience throwing a pot on the wheel or learning the skills to capture the complexity of the evening sky with paint and brush? Now may be the perfect time to explore and embrace your creativity, and Ah Haa has both online and in-person options to help you do just that.

To ensure its instructors, staff and community remain safe this summer, Ah Haa has shifted its focus to programs that promote social distancing, in adherence to local public health orders and guidelines. While there may not be youth summer campers pouring in and out of the Depot, there are still options for both kids and adults to engage creatively on a smaller scale.

Along with its weekly online classes with local chef Bud Thomas, starting in June, Ah Haa is offering a number of virtual art classes for all ages, from Youth Plein-Air with Angela Pashayan to Painting Summer Songbirds, a three-part watercolor intensive with award-winning artist Sarah B. Hansen of Portland, Oregon. There are currently six online classes on the roster for June, with more being added in the coming weeks.

Families in particular will appreciate the new Ah Haa to-go options, featuring art-making kits that include a tutorial video link and all the materials needed to complete a project in the comfort of your own home. Ranging from $25 to $100, options include acrylic painting, beaded jewelry, pinch pots, clay sculpting and ukulele building. Simply place your order before noon, Monday-Friday, and kits can be picked up anytime after 1 p.m. on the same day.

Finally, Ah Haa will begin offering private one-on-one and small family group, also starting in June, either in person at the Depot or online. Options run the gamut from silver jewelry making to fabric dyeing to wheel throwing. Families can even hire Chef Thomas to teach a personalized cooking class in their home.

For all in-person lessons, Ah Haa will be following strict health protocols to ensure the safety of all participants. Private classes are available to individuals and families of up to four people who have been quarantining together in Telluride for no less than 14 days. Youth must be age 8 or older and must be accompanied by a related family member who is age 18 or older, unless prior arrangements are made. All participants will be screened upon arrival at the Depot, and hand washing/sanitation, physical distancing and wearing a facemask will be required.

“As restrictions ease and it becomes clear we are able to safely open up to the public, we will phase in additional options for group art classes and events,” Ah Haa’s assistant director Jess Newens said. “Once we're on the other side, we know there are some really cool, creative things that will come out this crazy time.”

To see Ah Haa’s full June offerings, purchase a to-go kit or register for a class, visit The Depot building remains closed to the public; email or call 970-728-3886 for more information.