Panel: Gunnison and the Art of Community



Beth Flowers 
Executive Director, Arts Incubator of the Rockies



Creativity is the engine behind every pursuit that has changed the world. Beth Flowers, Executive Director of AIR, will challenge our mental models about art, business, money, value, and community. AIR is an empowering ecosystem of programs and tools that elevate creatives and the power of creativity for communities who want to build economic sustainability into their communities in a whole new way.




Sammye Meadows 
Senior Advisor, Public Lands Partnerships,
AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association) 



Grand Canyon National Park and its Inter-tribal Advisory Council are permanently repurposing the Desert View Visitor Area and historic Watchtower into an inter-tribal cultural heritage center, celebrating the Canyon's eleven traditionally associated tribes and bands. Native artists’ cultural knowledge, demonstrations, and sharing of place will anchor a new kind of national park community. Desert View will be a gathering place for the people who have lived inter-dependently with the Canyon for millennia, along with 4.6 million annual visitors, hundreds of park employees, tourism businesses, the legendary scenery and the Canyon’s non-human residents (like those vocal, aerobatic ravens!). Visitors arriving through the park’s eastern entrance will now be introduced to the Canyon by descendants of its original residents: artists, elders, teachers, families, their arts, dances, languages and foods. Desert View will again be a window to Grand Canyon through Indian eyes. This project was recently awarded a national $500,000 grant by ArtPlace America for Creative Placemaking.




Marten Pinnecoose
Alumnus, Western State Colorado University


Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this opportunity of being a participant of the Headwaters Conference panel speakers, fall 2015. Being an alumnus of Western State Colorado University, being a student from 2011-2013, I feel a great honor to be recognized as part of the community! My time at Western has been most enjoyable, explorative, terrifying and very rewarding, thanks to some very supportive people in the community and school!

I transferred from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO basically to get away from my hometown and create a new life for myself in the world of art and education. Coincidentally it is my ancestral people's homeland, the Utes of SW Colorado and Utah! Family and relatives have visited, but none have lived here since the Utes were removed to live on reservations in Utah and SW Colorado in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It began to be an intimidating factor into my decision to continue with my art/education career being one of the only full-blooded Natives and a non-traditional student to attend Western, but I was determined and built a supportive community around myself that has been very instrumental to my success as an artist and a man, that has propelled me to pursue my master's degree in California at the San Francisco Art Institute!  


Maryo Gard Ewell, Community/Arts Development

Gunnison, Colorado

The Arts and Social Capital-Building

While there's a buzz around the notion of the arts and community-building, it is not a new idea.  We'll hear about how pageantry was used in the social reform movement in the early 20th century, how elements of the WPA arts programs went beyond mere employment programs, how people in the 1950's were using theater to re-design public meetings, and how a recent program in Lariment County, Colorado, may have moved democracy forward a bit. Perhaps these stories will stimulate participants to think about how the arts could be used to build social capital in their communities.



Heather S. Orr
Professor of Art History, Department Chair, Acting Director MGES: Master in Gallery Management and Exhibits Specialization,
Department of Art, Western State Colorado University,




A journey through the creation of the M.A. in Gallery Management and Exhibits Specialization.