Vilar Center for the Arts
The founders of Beaver Creek had imagined a central performing arts theater since the town was first projected as a resort community. In February of 1998, that vision was realized. With the opening of the Vilar Center for the Arts, Beaver Creek became one of the first mountain resort communities in the world to include its own performing arts facility presenting a year-round series of diverse cultural events.
A non-profit theater managed by the Vail Valley Foundation, the construction of the Vilar Center was financed by donors who are both full and part-time residents of the Vail Valley. The majority of today’s operating expenses still come from private and corporate donations.
A state-of-the-art facility, the Vilar Center for the Arts boasts a 530-seat theater, two 2,200 square-foot lobbies and the 2,000 square-foot May Gallery Patrons Lounge that displays 17th and 18th century architectural watercolors. The intimate performance space was designed to exacting specifications in order to create ideal acoustics and unobstructed views for each and every seat. (Littman’s Künstler theater in Munich provided inspiration for the wood-paneled columns, walls and ceilings that are combined with the curved horseshoe-seating layout also found in many traditional European halls.)
The Vilar Center for the Arts, while perched atop the mountain in the heart of Beaver Creek, is the epicenter of the Vail Valley’s performing-arts cultural life. The facility features about 60 performances annually, most of which are booked by a nationally recognized agency, Professional Facilities Management out of Providence, RI. These shows are as varied as show-tunes are cheery, from the straight theater production of “The Miracle Worker” to the sensationalized “Copacabana,” from legendary Woodstock performer Richie Havens, to Dave Matthews’ collaborator, Tim Reynolds.
Now in its fifth year of operation, the Vilar Center for the Arts has not only added a new dimension to its existence, but it has evolved into a community theater for the entire Eagle Valley. A portion of the Vilar Center’s repertoire is its off-season offerings of community events and its mid-winter offerings of free performances and a film series.
Each spring and fall, the Vilar Center plays host to numerous Vail Valley performing arts groups, such as the Vail Performing Arts Academy, Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale, the Vail Valley Academy of Dance and the Eagle Dance Academy, to name but a few. Each of these groups caters specifically to Eagle County youths whose interests lie in the performing arts, a demographic in which the Vilar Center takes a special interest.
The theater also teams up with the Vail International Dance Festival, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Vail Jazz Foundation and the Vail Symposium to present renowned musicians, dancers and personalities throughout the year. This season’s Mystic West Film Series, in collaboration with the Vail Symposium, will take place on Wednesday nights in January and February. The Center has become a stopover for several military choirs and bands such as the Air Force and Coast Guard, who perform free concerts as part of the military’s public outreach campaign.
For more information on the theater, visit http://www.vilarcenter.org, or call 970-845-TIXS
Melina Valsecia said her experience as an immigrant in Eagle County helped her understand the need for a new way of looking at how service providers engage with the growing Latino population, many of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants.