A Year in Review: A word from the Chairman
What a year this was for the Friends of the Wright Opera House! After two years of work behind the walls and in the basement, installing new electrical wiring, sprinkler system, plumbing and HVAC, we have arrived at the fun part - making the new Tavern at the Wright a beautiful space that will be open for our New Year’s Eve Bash (more on that later!). In November 2018 we purchased the Wright Building at 480 Main St which we refer to as the Wright Next Door (WND). A lot of cleaning and upgrading went into getting the spaces in rentable condition. I’m pleased to report the entire building is now rented out.
In June, Alyssa Preston stepped into a full time position as our executive director. I don’t know how we functioned without her for as long as we did. Alyssa reached out to Ouray School and added Tristyn Guzman as a part-time intern. Under Alyssa’s direction and with the help of Tristyn, the Wright managed to offer a wide variety of programming while Mark Orgren and his crew, Julio Nieto & Ruben Mendoza, had the rear lobby under construction. Construction and hosting events generally don’t mix well, however Alyssa and Mark made it work.
From left to right: Kit Meckel, Kate Jones, Brayden Mehnert, Stuart Gillespie, Eliza Wister, Scott Pankow, Marc Hitchcox.
In addition to hiring a full-time Executive Director, the Friends of the Wright Board of Directors added eight enthusiastic, energetic and experienced new members to our team: Kit Meckel, Brayden Mehnert, Kate Jones, Marc Hitchcox, Scott Pankow, Stuart Gillespie, Eliza Wister and Chuck Anderson. In Jan 2020 Scott Pankow will be assuming the role of FWOH Board Chairman, Kate Jones will step up as Vice Chairman, Marc Hitchcox as Secretary and Chuck Anderson as Treasurer.
Along with a hardworking Board of Directors, the Wright enlisted the help of many volunteers for projects from brick sanding to envelope stuffing to floor mopping to popcorn popping. Volunteer hours at the Wright number in the thousands. We wouldn’t be where we are if not for our Volunteer Force.
Of course none of this would have happened if it weren’t for the financial support we received from residents, second home owners, visitors and local and state foundations. We want to extend a big Thank You to the Ouray County Community Fund and Woman’s Club of Ouray County for the grants we received this fall. We are grateful for the support from these local organizations. We are near the end of our 2016-2019 Capital Campaign pledge drive. Thank you to all who made the unglamorous, but necessary improvements – electrical upgrade, fire suppression, foundation repair, masonry repair, new structural supports, radon remediation, as well as the more exciting renovations – new ADA bathrooms, lobby expansion, i.e. The Tavern at the Wright, possible.
As I said, this past year has had many twists and turns that we didn’t anticipate, but in the long run, The Tavern at the Wright and the purchase of the Wright Next Door are wise moves that will pay dividends in the future. Thank you for being part of this adventure and here’s wishing you a happy, healthy 2020.
Board of Directors, Chairman
Changing of the Guard
At the end of December, Dee Williams, Board Chairman, and Mark Orgren, Board Member and volunteer General Contractor, will rotate off the Board. They will join the ranks of past board members: Ralph Huesing, Jim Opdahl, Joyce Linn, Pam Ferman, Jackie Lauderdale, Charlie Berger, Degrey Phillips, Steve Gallion, Josh Gowans, and Nancy Nixon. We are so grateful to these dedicated Board members whose vision of the Wright Opera House as a premiere venue for the arts, education and community events is becoming a reality.
The Wright opened its doors for a one-night engagement where it held the Premier Screening of a pair of short films for the folks in Ouray County. These two films, The Burial of John McBride and Speak Again are the works of Lynx Road Productions. LRP is comprised of Ouray High School alumnus Jacob Abell and his creative partner Jared LaCroix. Wright Board member, Terry Kiser, has been the muse and actor at the center of these two short films. After the Premier Screening at the Wright, Lynx Road took Speak Again to the Go West Film Festival where it won Best of Fest and Audience Favorite in the short film category. Congratulations to these fine filmmakers! And keep your eyes and ears open for what’s coming up next.
Grand Opening of The Tavern at the Wright / NYE Bash
We are excited to announce our Grand Opening of The Tavern at the Wright on December 31st. Ring in 2020 the Wright Way at our New Year’s Eve Bash. We have packages available for purchase on our website that will allow you to plan your whole evening, from 7pm until 2am! We will be remembering the 100 year anniversary of Prohibition - the 18th Amendment - in a fun and decadent fashion. In the spirit of Community, The Wright is partnering with several local businesses to make sure you have an enjoyable and memorable evening. Please make plans to join us.
The Tavern at the Wright, as well as the rental income from the WND and WOH Commercial spaces, will substantially add to the FWOH income in 2020. However, we will continue to need financial support from you to complete the basement, improve the theater level of the building, reinforce the WOH structure and restore the historic Meskar Façade. And, like every other Performing Arts Center, the Wright needs your financial support to bring quality entertainment to Ouray, as ticket sales don’t cover the cost of performances. Enclosed you will find a donation card that you may fill out and mail back to us. Thank you, again, for investing your time, talent and treasure in the Wright Opera House.