Letter From The Executive Director

Letter From The Executive Director

Holly Arnold Kinney

Dear Tesoro Community,

Our sincere thanks to each of you for participating in our annual Indian Market & Powwow and Spanish Colonial Market throughout the years.  We are proud to have presented award-winning artists, of the highest caliber, to the community, to sell and demonstrating traditional methods and techniques. Our events have been enriched by traditional music, dancing, cuisine, workshops and demonstrations – all wrapped in a deep appreciation for the cultural and artistic contributions to Colorado’s past, present and future.

As the new year is upon us, I would like to inform you of exciting changes we are making to Tesoro Cultural Center’s future of educational programming and events:

First, we will be expanding our educational programming by creating a Tesoro Cultural Center Living History Experience. Using The Fort’s historic adobe building, courtyard, tipi, and other designated areas, we’ll be opening the front doors to provide 60 days of educational programming from June 2, 2017 through October 15, 2017. Please click on the Living History Experience link for information.)

  • Each of these weekends, we will arrange for two-to-four artists to display, sell and demonstrate their work. The same criteria for cultural authenticity and quality of work in representing excellence in fine and visual arts will be upheld as in the past. Artists will set-up in the Fort Trade Lodge, located in the courtyard. This 20’ x 20’ building will provide a gallery-like room protected from Colorado’s ever-changing weather.

Second, we will be discontinuing the Indian Market (May), and the Spanish Colonial Art Market (September).  These market events offered two days of public programming each, but with the creation of 20 weeks of summer weekend programming, we are broadening our reach to educate the public about Colorado’s cultural heritage and history. Please note, the Powwow will continue as a one-day event in June and the 1830s Rendezvous will continue in mid-September as Special Engagement events within the Living History Experience.

  • This was an extremely difficult decision to make, and it is with Tesoro’s best interest at heart that our Board of Directors has approved these plans for Tesoro. To continue our mission of creating community-based events and educational programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage, Tesoro must evolve into a more self-sustaining organization.
  • The combined expenses for both market events has continued to increase each year. Expenses include equipment rental of tents, tables, electrical, portapotties, golf carts and parking attendants, juried art prize money, supplies, advertising, and other costs. Inclement weather during any part of these event weekends significantly affects attendance and Tesoro was vulnerable to suffer major revenue losses and did so several times over the years.

In summary, as a result of contributions from individual donors, family foundations, corporate sponsors and SCFD, our K-12 education and adult programs are strong. Almost 30 schools participate in our programs each year. Our Historic Lecture Series is selling out, and a growing audience is attending the free lectures through our partnership with the South Suburban Parks and Recreation, and the Denver Public Library. And our annual Holiday events (Farolito & Las Posadas) continue to draw new participants as we come together in thanks for the passing year and a hope for what’s to come.

While there is a sadness to see an end of this chapter with our big markets, I am excited to enhance and expand Tesoro’s community reach to 60 days instead of four, and to not have the challenge of affording the ever-growing expenses for third party vendors. I trust that with you by our side as we move forward, Tesoro’s Living History Experience and all of our programming will be a great success and ensure sustainability for Tesoro and its mission.

Thank you again for your contributions to Tesoro. I look forward to seeing you this summer!


Holly Arnold Kinney, Executive Director, Tesoro Cultural Center

Photo: Denver Business Journal

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