Lake Dillon Art Center set to close doors today
DILLON – Without much-needed funding for operating expenses, the Lake Dillon Art Center must close its doors today.
Located at 115 Village Place in Dillon, founder and local photographer Matt Lit had been funding the center out-of-pocket since opening its doors in March 2009. He originally housed the center at La Riva del Lago building.
“We want to hold on to the trade name ‘Lake Dillon Art Center,'” Lit said. “We’re going to continue to explore possibilities, and go into hibernation.”
According to the the local photographer, an inability to secure adequate capital funding, combined with national economic trends, forced him to make the hardest decision – to cease operations.
Lit additionally said he plans to keep the center’s nonprofit 501(c)(3) status received in March. Though the overhead costs of operating a building proved difficult, he noted he’d like his vision to re-emerge as a different flower.
“We’ll absolutely try to revisit the vision if we get enough funding, but we’re not expecting anyone to show up at the door with a check,” Lit said.
The Dillon artist also said that if and when the center reopens, he would take more time to build a solid board, create an advisory council, and then slowly look at offering programs using available spaces throughout the community. And it wouldn’t just be in Dillon. He’d like to include Summit County and its other towns.
Not willing to close down without a fight, Lit – along with the interim board chairwoman Kris Lee – even considered moving their vision to Frisco. But in the end, they decided it was best just to shut down, for now.
“Frisco’s vision and enthusiasm for the potentials LDAC represented was exciting to us,” Lit said, who noted that town officials gave the center a tempting offer. “However, when we looked at the numbers, we saw a substantial increase in overhead. We realized we were putting ourselves in the position of not being able to meet the financial obligations which would have been required of us.”
“”Hopefully it’s not done,” he added. “I knew the risk I was taking and I’m thankful for all the considerations we’ve received along the way.
I still think the vision is viable. This just may not be the time for it.”
In the meantime, Lit said he’ll pursue other employment while hopefully recreating his idea down the line.
“The economy is going to dictate everything, as to whether or not there’s a future for this,” Lit said.
Dillon Mayor Ron Holland and Sandy Greenhut of Arts for the Summit both hope the Lake Dillon Art Center will be reborn when the economy improves.
“Of course, I’m very disappointed,” Holland said. “I was hoping it would be something that would develop in Dillon. With the down economy, it was just the wrong time and the wrong place. I would be very much on board with the art center coming back.”
Greenhut agreed, saying she’d like to see the Town of Dillon and the Dillon Business Association join up with the Lake Dillon Art Center to recreate a new community art center.
“It is so important,” she said. “It would bring visitors into the town for art viewings and classes. It was almost there.”
Holland also said he hasn’t given up on the idea for an art center in Dillon.
“I still think the arts can be a big part of Dillon’s redevelopment,” he said. “I think it will come together down the road when the economy straightens out. It’s definitely a loss for Dillon, but it’s not a permanent loss hopefully.”
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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