Silverthorne’s future is not just about new businesses and construction. Moving forward, the town is betting big on public art.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, town council voted to adopt an arts and culture strategic plan that will set a foundation for future projects in the town.
From the grand flourishes, such as a large mural on the side of the planned Lake Dillon Theatre Company, to tiny details, such as artfully made bike racks, the plan encourages Silverthorne to incorporate art into all of their developments.
“If you install art without talking to community and seeing what art means to them, your success is going to be very limited,” recreation and culture director Joanne Cook said. “We want to make sure we do something that makes sense for us.”
The town approached 23.4-Degrees, a policy facilitation and mediation company, to survey the town on their concept of art and a fresh downtown for Silverthorne. Several themes stemmed from those conversations, including multicultural art and pieces that are both accessible and interactive.
For example, the town installed an exhibit in October, with residents writing responses to the phrase “Before I die, I want to …” on a large chalkboard outside of the pavilion.
“That’s what makes people excited, when it feels accessible, like something they can participate in,” Cook said. “We’re brainstorming how we can add components that are very authentic to our community.”
The plan has spurred several new ideas, from ways to incorporate the Lake Dillon Theatre into the plan to smaller, monthly concerts hosted at the pavilion. However, it is also intended to encourage the addition of art to events that have already been established, such as the town’s annual Twilight Family Skate at the end of January.
“It became very clear, very quickly that art on display in a municipality is only one piece of what art means,” she added.
The plan was met with enthusiasm from both councilmembers and residents during the Jan. 13 town council meeting.
“You have a community who is hungry for this; who is ready to participate in this,” Terry Craig, a board member with Summit School district commented during the meeting. “You should be very proud of that.”
Now that the plan has passed, the town will be able to move forward toward a series of 15 goals, as well as working out the logistics of establishing an arts and culture advisory committee.
Some of the more concrete goals include hosting a grand opening of the new Lake Dillon Theatre Company downtown and partnering with the company on future projects. While the discussion about art began in 2012, before the partnership with the theater was formed, it has grown to be an integral piece of the art initiative and Silverthorne’s downtown plan.
“The theatre is a pretty significant investment,” Silverthorne Pavillion and marketing coordinator Blair McGary said. “We’re making sure we get that right and that it is tied into the art plan.”
Another key focus of the plan is to recognize and celebrate the many cultures housed within the town. While the town already hosts its annual “Celebrations Around the World” event at the pavilion, the plan would seek to expand upon those resources.
“I think the impression is we need to do that more,” Janesse Brewer, a principal with 23.4-Degrees said. “Some of that is just building off the success or identity of Silverthorne. …They wanted anything moving forward to enhance or honor the multiculturalism and diversity of the Silverthorne community.”
The plan will also be reflected in the construction of the community itself, as the town core sees new development between the theatre, a new condominium complex and a brewery — all within blocks of each other. Art will be emphasized within this downtown area, with the hope of it blossoming out to the edges of town.
“It’s thinking about how to be intentional about art and culture in all the things they regularly do,” she said. “Crosswalks, signage — thinking about all of those things with an intentional art focus.”
In the long-term, she hoped the town would be able to receive designation as a Colorado Creative District, both giving Silverthorne recognition and access to state resources for maintaining arts programs.
For now, Brewers’ work is done, with the plan approved by the town. One of the next steps will be to form an arts and culture advisory committee comprised of Silverthorne residents.
“I’m really proud of the fact that all of the plans we’re working on aren’t in silence. They’re really starting to fit together — hand and glove,” Silverthorne Mayor Bruce Butler said. “I think it’s just great to see that come together.”