The Telluride Transfer Warehouse, located at the corner of Fir Street and Pacific Avenue, wouldn’t be able to contain the excitement of the programming slated for the next few weeks, even if it did have a roof. The historic stone structure has played host to countless events since being purchased by Telluride Arts in 2019 and is far from slowing down as this pandemic-overlaid year heads into autumn.
“The warehouse has been bustling all summer,” said executive director Kate Jones. “It has been truly gratifying to be able to meet this moment, and give back to this community in a time of need. We have been busier than ever, but the response from the numerous guests using the space keeps us going.”
When COVID-19 bullied its way into the very fabric of the community’s life — and many of our livelihoods — Jones said the Telluride Arts board did some out of the box thinking.
“The board of Telluride Arts invested $50,000 in improvements this spring, with the vision of being able to host the community in a big way during COVID, and it has absolutely happened,” she said. “I cannot thank them enough for their foresight and generosity at a time when we have virtually no income. It's been a remarkable gift, and I am deeply grateful to be a part of it. We hit pause on our capital campaign this year, and turned our energy and focus 100 percent towards meeting the moment for our community.”
Though summer is in the rear view mirror, the programming is as vibrant as ever heading into fall.
The Tiny Film series, a collaboration between Wilkinson Public Library, Mountainfilm, Original Thinkers and Telluride Arts, kicked off Tuesday night with films curated by Mountainfilm. The series, which will occur each Tuesday through Oct. 13, starts at 7:30 p.m. with doors at 6:30 p.m. Next Tuesday, the library presents a family night. On Oct. 6, Mountainfilm takes the reins again, and on Oct. 13, Original Thinkers will be the presenters. And, Jones said, the library has added a family movie night Oct. 9, featuring “SCOOB!,” the origin story of the famous Great Dane sleuth, Scooby-Doo. Bring your own popcorn. Admission is free.
Weekends are prime for partying and there will be a doozy at the Transfer Warehouse Saturday from 3-10 p.m. KIKI 2.0 bills itself as a “Contemporary Art Party Like No Other.” A group of local and Colorado-based visual artists will be installing a pop-up contemporary art exhibition, curated and coordinated by Jared Anderson and friends. The artwork will be available for purchase. See it, buy it and take it home. DJ Japadapta will keep bodies moving. Admission is provided on a sliding scale donation at the door, and a bar will be available.
On Monday, the popular series Twenty(by)Telluride’s theme will be Women In Lead, with representatives from Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County. The fast-paced format for Twenty(by)Telluride aims to showcase the inner workings of creative and inspiring people. Each presenter gets exactly 20 slides that are shown for exactly 20 seconds each. Doors are at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.
How the Transfer Warehouse is being used is hewing to the vision the arts organization has for the historic structure’s eventual completion, Jones said.
“In some ways, we have been able to activate the warehouse as it is envisioned when it's built — a true community center where everyone feels welcome, a place of radical inclusion, and a place for the transfer of art, information and ideas for everyone,” she said.
Being able to connect as a community while taking in music, spoken word, dance or film has gone far to sooth the souls of many who have walked through the warehouse’s doors.
“It truly has been a balm for weary souls to be able to connect and be uplifted, through safe, in-person events when so many of us are feeling isolated,” Jones said.
The 6,000-square-foot roofless building is well under the Colorado State virus capacity recommendations and approved by the San Miguel County Health Department, according to a news release. There is properly distanced comfortable seating, sanitization, and masks are required to be worn for everyone standing or moving about the space. Guests are welcome to remove masks (and have a drink) when seated. At the entry, staff takes temperatures and gathers information for contact tracing.
Telluride Arts is part of the Economic Recovery Committee, which is led by county officials, and has given the look and feel of downtown Telluride it unique stamp by bringing artists into the design of the virus safety campaign. Those artists produced the Main Street banner, dining menus, posters and signs for the Spur. In addition, Telluride Arts provides stages, books musicians, while also raising funding for live music and artists, as well as other outreach and granting programs.
For more information, go to telluridearts.org. To support Telluride Arts, visit charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/Telluride-Arts-14496 and join the online auction of Telluride experiences.