When town officials joined Lake Dillon Theatre Company to cut the ribbon on the new Silverthorne Performing Arts Center in June, it was definitely a great day for the arts—but it was also a great day for the town of Silverthorne, which sees the facility as central to its future.
“Our vision is to have a more traditional downtown—with great pedestrian vibrancy, restaurants, and hotels,” explained the town’s manager, Ryan Hyland. “We spent many years trying to decide how to activate our downtown spaces and bring vibrancy to the area.”
Partnering with Lake Dillon Theatre Company (LDTC) on the new performing arts center turned out to be the perfect opportunity— the theater raised $2.7 million towards its new home at the intersection of 4th Street and Blue River Parkway, and the town put in the remaining $6.3 million.
While LDTC is the resident company, the center also accommodates local arts groups and community functions. In fact, its glass-enclosed lobby is designed to entice passersby into the building, where they will see a rotating visual art display on the walls. The spacious lobby includes architectural elements repurposed from the old theater’s beetle-kill-hewn box office and concessions counter into “window bars” in the new lobby, explained Joshua Blanchard, LDTC’s executive director.
“People can stop by if they’re on the trail or the lawn, and use the facilities or hang out inside,” said Joanne Cook, the town’s recreation and culture director. “Hopefully that will encourage people to come back—to come whenever they want, go whenever they want, and enjoy these spaces.”
“Giving people great spaces to have community gatherings and meet people” is key to the town’s vision, according to Hyland. “Silverthorne’s history is a little different,” he said. “We don’t’ have a 100-year-old Main Street. We have the opportunity to craft our downtown today, and this project is a huge part of that.”
The Silverthorne Performing Arts Center’s exterior pairs black, charred wood with contemporary lines, juxtaposed with the natural tones of stone and light-colored wood to create a space that is both inviting and elegant.
“We really wanted something iconic that could provide a strong landmark statement, with some mountain elements and some modern elements,” Hyland said. “The architecture helped make that a reality.”
At the same time, with high standards for new development, “Town Council thought we needed to set the tone for what we would like to see in other developments as well,” Cook said.
Confidence among Silverthorne’s business and restaurant community has grown since the facility was announced two years ago, according to Hyland, with the successful Sauce on the Blue restaurant opening last summer, the Angry James brewery under construction, and a city-block-sized development named Fourth Street Crossing coming out of the ground across the street in spring.
At nearly 16,000 square feet, the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center can accommodate multiple theater productions simultaneously in its three variously sized performance spaces, bolstered by a state-of-the-art back-of-house, classrooms, orchestra pit, prep kitchen, and administrative offices—making it the perfect space for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company to expand its professional productions and community offerings.
It will also be the starting point for First Friday, the town’s new monthly series of artful happenings.
“When you invest in the arts—now your community of neighbors and visitors have another whole opportunity for ways to interact with each other,” Cook said. “People come here from all over for outdoor activities. When you add arts to the mix, all of a sudden your appeal is much broader. To put it simply—there’s more to do in your town.”
Silverthorne, Colorado // silverthorne.org
Photo courtesy of Town of Silverthorne