People began arriving early last Friday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center (GMAEC). Soon a growing crowd of arts enthusiasts lined the sidewalk at the corner of West Main and SW 2nd streets in downtown Cedaredge to await the official ribbon cutting.
Caught up in the community spirit, three local girls opened an impromptu lemonade and popcorn stand. Accepting donations, Izzy and Maya Cerise along with Claire Kerrigan earned $80 for the center.
State Representative Millie Hamner, Cedaredge Mayor Gene Welch, and town administrator Greg Brinck were among those on hand to address the crowd. The Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce was represented by Mitchell Gronenthal, president, and Alisha Komives, executive director. Representing the center and cutting the ribbon were Cindy and David Starr, board president and vice president, respectively. And Deborah Shaffer, GMAEC executive director, in an emotional speech welcomed the visitors.
After the official ribbon cutting at 5 p.m., visitors flowed inside to view an exhibit by local artists Barbara Torke and Daphna Russell. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments provided by local merchants and they took part in a silent auction featuring artwork by children, amateur, and professional artists. The silent auction earned over $3,000 in donations to the center.
An estimated three to four hundred citizens attended the opening. During the three-hour event the center's Bank of Colorado theatre was constantly filled to overflowing as new visitors arrived with each passing minute. Crowds returned again last Saturday and Sunday to fill the 175-seat theatre for two sold-out inaugural performances by David Starr, Erik Stucky and Ben Harris.
In the coming months, the center will host a wide variety of events and activities including art and movement classes as well as community celebrations and live performances. For current events, visit the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center's Facebook page.