TANK organizers look to the future of sonic center

Local favorites Fiscus & Gravy performed in The TANK last year during Septemberfest festivities. This year open hours at The TANK will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 6-9 p.m. Saturday, and expanded hours from 5-7 p.m. Sunday.
Local favorites Fiscus & Gravy performed in The TANK last year during Septemberfest festivities. This year open hours at The TANK will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 6-9 p.m. Saturday, and expanded hours from 5-7 p.m. Sunday.
RANGELY I Two months after The TANK International Center for Sonic Arts opened to the public, organizers are reflecting on a summer of transitions and looking ahead to the reverberant sound space’s future.

A first step in June involved hiring Rich Harris as the non-profit organization’s executive director. A Denver native, Harris has been director of the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton and the Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver. Harris said The TANK will soon seek out local and regional board representation via an application process.
In late June, Solstice Week celebrations officially opened The TANK to the public, with open Saturday hours now through October.
Throughout the week, donors to “Open The TANK,” a Kickstarter project that raised more than $61,000 for the non-profit in February, gathered at the space for reward events, among them TANK concerts and a shared meal.
More than a dozen musicians and artists joined locals and visitors for gathering, while several more arrived earlier this month for a 40-year anniversary celebration of The Chautauqua Tour, the traveling arts festival that first acquainted sound artist Bruce Odland with The TANK.
Other visitors experienced The TANK for the first time or in new ways. Among them, Colorado State University archaeology students sang classic rock favorites in a late-night TANK experience; brothers practiced Tibetan chants en route to the West Coast; San Diego musician Adam Thompson drew an audience to a participatory evening concert; and locals organized an Open Saturday hymn sing.
Summer TANK events drew more media attention to the sound space and Northwest Colorado.
A feature piece by Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins, whose June 24 front-page article about The TANK was reprinted in publications across the state, preceded several regional blog posts, a Canadian Broadcast Co. story in July and an August feature by Denver’s 5280 Magazine. A September launch date is now expected for a CBS Sunday Morning piece outlining The TANK’s near-demise and evolving story as the first-ever Center For Sonic Arts.
For now, Harris looks to close out The TANK’s first official season strongly, even as his primary concern is its future.
Making the TANK sustainable over the long-term, he believes, will mean establishing its use as a private recording and performance space, not just a public one, and finding other fits for a space unlike anything else in existence.
So far, he said, initial efforts feel encouraging, from a recent $15,000 grant from the Boettcher Foundation for physical improvements to The TANK facility to a base of local volunteers offering their time and abilities to the project.
“We are all very appreciative of the ongoing support The TANK receives from the Rangely community,” Harris said in a recent letter to TANK supporters.
Open hours at The TANK during Septemberfest will include open Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. and expanded hours from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Those interested in The TANK programming and news may join a mailing list at www.tanksounds.org or like “Tanksounds” on Facebook (see “The TANK Rangely” page for local postings).