While we’re all cooped up at home, you might be developing a greater appreciation for all the wonderful things there are to see and do in Pueblo under more normal circumstances. Like visiting the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, for example.
Actually, we didn’t need the coronavirus crisis to remind us about the center’s value to our community. It’s been a cultural treasure for the Southern Colorado region for many years.
The center hosts plays, classical music concerts and other performances throughout the year. It’s also a place where people can take classes in art or ballet. Or listen to some great music at one of its Festival Friday events.
Then, of course, there are the center’s art exhibits, which are impressive and ever changing.
Had the coronavirus not turned our lives upside down, the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. would have held its quarterly meeting at the center last month. And part of the scheduled program was a presentation on the economic impact the center has in our community.
No doubt that presentation would have included some interesting numbers about the center’s payroll, visitor spending and the like.The center’s financial impact on the Pueblo area is significant. But its true value can’t be reduced to mere statistics on a spreadsheet.
The center is one of those amenities that contributes to Pueblo’s overall quality of life. We may not use every one of those amenities regularly. There even may be some people in our community who never have set foot in the center or the attached Buell Children’s Museum. (Although we strongly recommend that you check them out when they reopen following this period of quarantining.)
But without the center and places like it, Pueblo would be a shell of the city it is now.
That’s why we were encouraged by the recent news that the American Association of Museums had decided to re-up the center’s accreditation for another 10 years.
Earning the 114-year-old association’s seal of approval isn’t necessarily an easy process. Not only is there paperwork involved, but the association sends representatives to conduct on-site inspections of each cultural facility that applies for the recognition.
Sangre de Cristo, first accredited in 2005, earned the distinction again through its most recent application.
“What this means for Southern Colorado is that the arts center has proven its ability to properly care for and exhibit any type of art-related exhibition,” said Alyssa Parga, a spokeswoman for the center. “Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, only 1,087 are currently accredited.”
Added Jim Richerson, the center’s chief executive officer: “Clearly, this is a gold standard to be in the top 3 percent of the museums in the country. We hope Pueblo recognizes how important and rare this credential is. It allows us to bring excellence in programs, exhibitions and performing arts.”
Specifically, being accredited may make it easier for the center to get grant funding or other support from government agencies and philanthropic organizations. Or to convince the owners of rare and valuable art to display their work there.
We’re happy about that. At a time like this, the importance of art and artistic expression in its many forms becomes more obvious. We congratulate the center on being re-accredited and look forward to its grand reopening.