Support the Wright!
Purchased in 2011, the Friends have made a first push in 2013 to initiate restoration of the facility, expected to cost $2 million over a 5 - 7 year time frame. The current raise will include installation of an elevator, a much needed feature at the Wright. "Easily, 1 in 5 individuals mention an elevator," says Josh Gowans, Executive Director. "It's not something you think about until you're looking at the flight and half of stairs required to get to the theater... needless to say, the elevator is going to be a great addition to the Wright." Community support for the Wright has been strong since purchase, with the majority of the funding for the current raise coming from locals. "It's just amazing to see the community respond" says Williams. In addition to private donations, the Wright has benefited from grant funding from the Gates Family Foundation and El Pomar Foundation.
Built in 1888 by the Wright brothers, the Wright Opera House quickly became a focal point for culture and entertainment in Ouray, contrasting with the saloons and brothels offered at the time. Housing everything from theater, to movies, to an auto mechanic shop, the Wright evolved over many decades and has served the town in a variety of capacities. Now in its 125 year, the Wright is once again a cultural and entertainment venue, and is undergoing a restoration such that it can support the performing arts for generations to come. "This is a great project with wide appeal" commented Gowans. "Like all arts organizations in Ouray County, the Wright provides a great deal of intangible benefit that is being recognized more and more by foundations and private individuals. In fact, the purchase and restoration of the Wright was initiated as an important part of the Ouray 2020 plan."
"Our goal is to complete the capital raise by December 31st and to be closed for construction from February to May" stated Williams. "We are 95% of the way there and ready to break ground the first of February. We just need a final push to make it happen. All donations during December will be matched, up to $40,000. About half of the match has been met."