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Arts Center grand opening this Friday

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Photo by Sandy Wilt The Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center officially opens for tours and art exhibits on Friday, June 15, and for musical concerts on the evenings of Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17.

A new era in Cedaredge will dawn when the Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center (GMAEC) officially opens its doors on Friday, June 15. The new center has been a community effort with many individuals working hard to renovate the GMAEC building at the intersection of SW 2nd and West Main streets in downtown Cedaredge.

Friday's events begin at 5 p.m. with the rolling out of a red carpet and ribbon cutting. State Representative Millie Hamner will be among those on hand to celebrate this momentous occasion. Tours of the building, cash bar and mingling with all who made the center a reality will be the background for 'Art on the Edge', a silent auction of original 5x7 paintings by students, amateur and professional artists.

Enjoy appetizers and light food offerings from local restaurants including J&S Bakeria; 4B's; Creekside Cafe; Hong Palace; Connie's Restaurant; Cedaredge Golf Course; Celebrations; Lost Mesa Grill; Iguana's; RJ's Steakhouse; Johannes' Chocolates; Aspen Trails; and Fresh Baked by Granma Cheryl.

Festivities continue all day Saturday with children's activities, a panel discussion on the history of the building and a meet-the-artists event for Barb Torke and Daphna Russell. They are the featured artists for the gallery's first installation, "Living the Life."

The 4,000 square foot historic building was built in 1906. Over the years it has housed a number of community enterprises including a bank, a movie theatre, an auto repair garage, Manna Health Foods and a Day Spa.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, David Starr and fellow musicians will take the performance stage for two concerts. The Saturday show is already sold out but tickets are available for the 7 p.m. Sunday concert. Tickets are $20 and that price includes a copy of Starr's newest CD: 'South and West.' Tickets can be purchased at info@starrsguitars.com or at Starr's Guitars, 250 West Main Street in downtown Cedaredge.

David Starr, who serves as vice president of the GMAEC board of director, said "So many artists and talented craftsmen and women have stepped up to make this facility a reality. Please join us on our opening weekend to see all the great contributions!"

A wide variety of workers and artists have contributed to making the center a reality. Mark Fairchild served as the project's builder. Lynn Grotrian and Dan Skelton painted the entire building interior. Diana (Dee) Brown of Delta and Cedaredge residents Teressa Carlton, Marc Hunsaker, Peggy Papon, and Cindy Starr teamed up to create the center's stained glass window; and Cedaredge residents Barbara and Jim Allen donated glass and the use of tools. Nancy Hovde also contributed glass.

A multitude of community organizations and individuals provided financial contributions and in-kind services and materials. These will be acknowledged and celebrated by signage in the building, on a Founders Tree and in the program.

John Story of WaterJets West donated the center's unique exterior signs. Scott Sullivan donated his efforts to adorn several interior doors with his wood burning skills. Local glass artist Lark Abel donated a beautiful etched glass piece and Mark Fair-child re-imagined it for a great lighted installation in the foyer area. Sandy Wilt and Dea Jacobson took photographs and wrote press releases. And executive director Deborah Shaffer worked tirelessly to promote the center along with the center's board of directors and advisory council.

In addition to Shaffer and David Starr, the other members of the board are: Cindy Starr, president; Trey Gronenthal, secretary; Jude Conn, treasurer; Perry Hotz, Dea Jacobson, Judy Fairchild, Linda Lichtendahl and Kacy Stillings. Advisory council members include: Joe Agne, Mitchell Gronenthal, Terry Hotz, Tonie Miller, Tracy Munson, Felicia Sabartinelli, Nancy Snowdon, Teresa Carlton, Dale Russell Smith and Dottie Whitlock. Jane Dupree and Mara Erwin were original board members and continue their support.

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