Telluride Arts

A nonprofit organization

4 donors

Telluride Arts vitalizes the region by advancing the appreciation and participation in the arts through three main program areas: Supporting Art at its Source: Providing resources for regional artists, Connecting Audiences with the Arts and Advocacy and Planning: Ensuring the arts inform local decision making. 

To this end Telluride Arts has recently completed the Telluride Cultural master Plan update on behalf of the town and adopted in October.

2012 Telluride Cultural master plan update | synopsis


March 22, 2011 Governor Hickenlooper signed Colorado House Bill HB11-1031.  In brief, it encourages the formation of Creative Districts in communities, neighborhoods, or contiguous geographic areas, for the purposes of:


  • Attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists to a community, infusing new energy and innovation, which in turn will enhance the economic and civic capital of the community
  • Creating hubs of economic activity, thereby enhancing the area as an appealing place to live, visit and conduct business, as well as create new economic activity
  • Attracting visitors
  • Revitalizing and beautifying communities
  • Providing a focal point for celebrating and strengthening a community’s unique identity
  • Showcasing cultural and artistic organizations, events, and amenities


On January 25 2012, the Town of Telluride established the Telluride Creative District, which follows the geographic boundaries of the town and encompasses a potent zone of arts activity. 

In March of 2012, the Telluride Creative District was designated one of 5 ‘Prospective Creative Districts’ by Colorado Creative Industries. Telluride roundly met much of the criteria used to measure the health of a creative district. The main area of improvement identified was the lack of affordability for artists living and working in Telluride.

Funding and support that came with the designation helped support a community wide visioning process that culminated in the production of this 2012 Cultural Master Plan update. The Colorado Creative District legislation provided important context to this work, supporting the concept that if we get organized locally, we can strengthen the arts to enhance cultural and economic vitality into the future. With a few thoughtful steps, we will further creative excellence in Telluride and be positioned to receive a prestigious Creative District certification from the state.

Sixty-nine people contributed over 300 hours of focused meeting time to develop the strategies contained in this update. Included were representatives of the Ah Haa School, the Sheridan Opera House, the Palm Theatre, MountainFilm, Telluride Aids Benefit, Telluride Theatre, the Telluride Institute, the Choral Society, the Chamber Music Festival, Playwrights Festival, the Dance Academy, Telluride TV, the Historical Museum, Wilkinson Public Library, CCAASE, the Telluride Tourism Board, the Telluride School District, the Town of Telluride, The Telluride Gallery, Telluride Arts, local business representatives, and artists of all kinds. The meetings were productive and positive having been facilitated by Jim Lindheim, a retired professional.


The consensus that was seen throughout the planning process was significant, and reflected many of the concerns identified in the 1996 plan that were never fully implemented or were not sustained. Among those include branding and marketing for the arts, communication about events through a central calendar, shared services that strengthen arts organizations, addressing temporary housing needs for visiting artists, advocacy for the arts locally, and funding.


A key concern among participants throughout the planning process was organization, and three existing entities were called out time and again to step-up their roles in implementation. Those organizations were The Telluride Foundation, to address funding, the Telluride Tourism Board, to address marketing, and Telluride Arts, to address leadership and ultimately, ensure implementation of this plan.


Telluride Arts facilitated the update of the Telluride Cultural Master Plan, in collaboration with the Town of Telluride and CCAASE. The plan and development of the Telluride Creative District is overseen by the Creative District Management Team, and was supported by a grant from Colorado Creative Industries and FY2012 funding from CCAASE. The Telluride Cultural Master Plan Update was adopted by the Town of Telluride by unanimous vote on October 30, 2012.


Organization Data


Organization name

Telluride Arts

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Economic Development


PO BOX 152


(970) 728-3930