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More art for old school, some say

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyA work session will be held Monday to discuss the future of the Red Cliff School building that how houses town offices and art studios.
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ED CLIFF ” Michelle Many wants music, whether that includes piano playing inside Red Cliff’s old school building or concerts in the adjacent field.

Jewelry-making or more painting would improve the former Red Cliff Union School that now houses a community center, town offices and art studios, she said.

“I don’t want to lose the art because the artists are important to the town,” said Many, who makes aromatherapy products and jewelry. “We’re an artists’ community.”



Residents talked about uses for the Red Cliff Union School building as town staffers continue their negotiations with Eagle County School District about the building’s future. Built in 1937, students attended school there until 1992. Gore Range Natural Science occupied the building for some time.

David Many, Michelle’s husband, lives next door to the building. Concerts would create noise and traffic in the residential area, he said.



Still the town should do something to lower his $125 water bill, he said.

“Somehow the town needs to start generating revenue,” David Many said. “If that’s the only way for the town to generate revenue, then I’m OK with that.”

Artists who rent the studio help pay for roads and sidewalk maintenance, not water bills, said Mayor Ramon Montoya.



Money made from business done in the building cannot be used for what he called badly needed repairs to a wastewater treatment plant either, he said.

In November 2004, Red Cliff had a chance to buy the school house for $1 if it agreed to give the building back to the school district if it was needed for a school. The town never took action, said Brooke Skjonsby, spokeswoman for the school district.

Montoya and others want to keep the historic building standing. The building should serve the community, whether that means employee housing or something else, he said.

More of the building could be used for art shows, said Stanton Morris, who blows glass in his Red Cliff home and in his Eagle gallery.

“For the most part, all we really have going for us is the Red Cliff Studio Tour,” Morris said.

For nine years, artists have opened up their Red Cliff homes and studios to sell their artwork. In the past, artists have shown everything from oil to pottery to glass to mixed media. This year’s show takes place Aug. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Red Cliff always lets artists use the building for art shows, said Barb Bomier, painter and Red Cliff resident for 19 years. Artists need to organize the events themselves, she said.

The stage in the building could be used for plays and puppet shows for kids, she said.

“It’s not going to happen unless somebody makes it happen,” Bomier said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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