Since its inception, WCA has gathered strong community support, which is consistently demonstrated through local business and foundation contributions, as well as incredible participation and personal membership numbers. Today, WCA offers classes in visual arts, fiber arts, photography, craftsman arts, creative writing, culinary arts, children’s arts classes, horticulture, cultural lectures, miscellaneous topics and finally, dance and performing arts. This summer alone, the organization is set to offer over 100 classes to area residents and visitors.
Since June 2004, there have been 2,575 enrollments in Weehawken Classes. Students have come from as far as Australia and Scotland to take classes, though many students are based in Ouray and nearby counties. Incredibly, Weehawken has offered over 364 classes since 2004 and 121 of those, 364 (33 percent) were offered over the past year alone.
Weehawken Creative Arts has always focused more on developing its programs than becoming a bricks and mortar, arts center facility. Classes have been offered in a multitude of public and private buildings, from church basements and bank conference rooms to people's living rooms. Administration for WCA has been based out of the acting director's home.
Just a year ago, in June of 2008, the organization took the major step of hiring its paid staff person, Executive Director Ashley King. King came to the organization with a significant background in non-profit and events management with an emphasis in arts administration. Just one year later, the organization is now taking another significant step by seeking to acquire physical locations to base its operations in both Ouray and Ridgway.
The significant growth in WCA programming and the expense and uncertainty of renting spaces has justified the need for more permanent spaces. In Ridgway, Weehawken Creative Arts will be moving to the upper floor of the Sunrise Building on Highway 550, next to the Galloping Goose Restaurant. There they will have two classroom spaces and an office space. One of the classrooms will operate primarily as the Ridgway Dance Studio, allowing for expansion of the dance program in Ridgway and the addition of another dance instructor for Ridgway come fall.
In Ouray, Weehawken will be taking over the management and rental of the Wright's Opera House on Main Street and where they will continue to conduct a great menu of classes. Their Ouray office will be based on the lower level of the opera house in the space that was most-recently known as Susan's Studio and Gallery (next to the Artisan Bakery). There, people will be able to stop in to find out about upcoming classes, register for classes, buy tickets and learn more about renting the Wright for events.
Weehawken expects to move into each of the spaces within the next week. Since there is only one full-time staff person at Weehawken, office hours will be limited, but posted and shared at each location. “I'd love to invite everyone to come check out what we are up to and see the spaces that we are now inhabiting. I love visitors,” said King. “It's going to be an incredible summer with tons of opportunities for kids and adults. There's never been a better time to dive into the arts in Ouray County and we're excited to be at the core of the action. Come check us out.”
For more information about Weehawken Creative Arts or their new locations, call King at Weehawken at 970/318-0150, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website at www.weehawkenarts.org or stop into the offices in the coming week and introduce yourself.