Steamboat Creates – Our History

“I had not reached bottom
It was only a plateau that I had been bouncing
My head against
Over and over and over again
Until the days grew long enough
And I wove my rope back together
Just long enough to pull myself up for a breath of air.”
-Katie Kiefer, architect poet and visual artist.

Creativity changes lives. Creativity makes us think. Creativity can even change the way we see the world. 

The Steamboat Springs Arts Council (SSAC) was founded by a group of passionate community members who understood the need to let creativity flourish. Eleanor Bliss, Carol Finnoff, George Tolles and friends founded the Steamboat Springs Arts Council in 1972 to give rise to creativity, performance and celebrations of the arts in rural Colorado. Since the inception of the SSAC, classes and events held at the historic Depot Art Center have reached thousands of art lovers of all ages.

Through the years, the SSAC brought unique events to town reflecting our isolated community’s need to gather and express ourselves through creativity. Just a few signature events include Art in the Park, Cabaret, Young At Art Creativity Camps, and Holidays in the Rockies and most recently, the Snow Sculptures at the annual Winter Carnival festival. All of these community traditions give artisans opportunities to share their work and bolster community pride.

The Depot Art Center (circa 1908) and home of the SSAC, has been transformed to include two fine art galleries, a large multi-use space in the Baggage Room, and a facility that remains an iconic place for events, classes, private parties, meetings and collaborations.

As the town of Steamboat Springs evolved, so has the role of the SSAC. In 2017, Steamboat became a certified Colorado Creative District. At that time Steamboat Creates became a program of the SSAC with the SSAC as the governing board and Executive Director, Kim Keith, as the point person. Because of the energy and vitality generated with the Creative District designation, and to better serve all creatives, in January 2019, the SSAC officially became Steamboat Creates.

With a growing number of fine art galleries and performance spaces, we recently asked ourselves how Steamboat Creates might remain relevant and pursue even more positive impacts for the town. The answer was advocacy. The arts have been a part of Steamboat’s history and development since the town was settled, but a stronger, more unified voice was needed at the city and state levels. We became that voice, and Steamboat Creates became the bold vehicle for our advocacy.

As we continue to evolve, we will identify and address the needs of our community and serve as a home for all creatives. While the Depot Art Center remains a congregation place for Steamboat’s flourishing creative community, our efforts today have been broadened to advocate vigorously for acknowledgement of the vibrancy of the arts in Northwest Colorado.

Steamboat Creates is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported in large part from membership, private donations, and grants.