OURAY – Last week, the Campaign to Save the Opera House – It’s the Wright Thing to Do made another step toward reaching its final goal – to raise enough funds to purchase Ouray’s Historic Wright Opera House – when it received a $75,000 grant from the Gates Family Foundation of Denver.
With other recent donations, this grant brings the total raised to purchase, preserve and upgrade the building to almost $550,000 and even closer to the $1 million goal.
“We applied for $100,000, but several months ago they had warned us that because of the financial situation it was possible that we might receive only about $25,000,” Dee Williams, chair of the Friends of the Wright Opera House said. “However, when they toured the building and considered all details of the vision and our plans, they were enthusiastic about the project – though it was still unclear how much they would be able to provide in the grant.
Of the $75,000 grant, she said: “This was a welcome surprise.”
To keep that momentum going forward the Friends of the Wright Opera House will be hosting an Open House at the Opera House event on the Fourth of July with free lemonade and tours of the historic facility from 3:30-6 p.m. Tours will be led by the nonprofit’s boardmembers, who will also explain the vision for the future use of the Wright Opera House.
The vision to purchase the Wright and convert the historic structure into a vibrant, active and happening center for culture and arts while maintaining its historic heritage and charm. If successful, current plans are complete a historic preservation of the building including upgrading the auditorium to become one of the finest small performance facilities in the area. And in addition to some retail spaces, the Opera House will also house the Ouray County Arts Center to include offices and classrooms for local nonprofit organizations.
More fundraisers are scheduled later in the summer, including a July 26 benefit performance by Kort McCumber as well as a performance by the Timshel Theater Company of Tuesday’s With Morrie, sometime in late August. And finally, the popular country band, the Diamond W Wranglers benefit concert will be held on Sept. 17. More fundraising events will be scheduled.
Information about the history and the vision for the Wright Opera House, along with the progress of the Campaign to Save the Opera House and current schedule of events, is available at www. SaveTheWright.org. It is the intent of the nonprofit to finalize the purchase of the Opera House before Dec. 31, 2010. For a lineup of summer Weehawken classes and events check out weehawkenarts.org.