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MEEKER I In the interest of collaboration and for the benefit of Meeker’s kids, Gary Zellers and Bob Amick, representing the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council, asked the board of the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation District to consider a proposal “to provide comprehensive performing arts programs for the Meeker School District Re-1 schools” through an agreement between the school district and a coalition of the recreation district and the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council.
Zellers, who served as drama director at Meeker High School last year, said, “I think it’s kind of helping the school district out while still providing those theatrical arts for the kids, without the school district having to incur a lot of expense,” Zellers said.
The recreation district is no stranger to community theater. Last year’s production of “Cinderella Kids” was sponsored by ERBM. The draft proposal would absorb the drama productions at the high school level first and eventually expand them to the middle school and the elementary school as well.
“What we would like to see is just a dialogue open up,” Zellers said. “We’re always hearing that the schools don’t have two quarters to rub together and somebody’s trying to take away one of their dimes and it’s the kids who suffer.”
According to Amick, the high school drama club is the largest student club at Meeker High School, with more than 50 students involved. In addition, the Colorado Board of Education has encouraged school districts to require performing arts participation as part of their high school graduation requirements.
“Other students have expressed great interest and should be given opportunities to learn and be a part of this excellent program.”
The school district is scheduled to discuss the high school’s drama program in an upcoming workshop to make a determination on the annual spring musical and a drama program director for this year.
The second part of the draft proposal, Amick explained, has to do with the State of Colorado’s recent legislation that encourages communities with creative and fine arts activities and groups to form creative arts districts. Grants will be available for those districts that are approved by the state.
“I think Meeker is the perfect place for a creative district,” Amick said. “Creative industries are the fifth largest economic engine in the state.”
The community of Creede, Colo., population 377, revitalized their economy through the the development of a theatre district. Today, the Creede Repertory Theatre brings $2,749,000 into the local economy and $4,114,000 to the state’s coffers.
According to a study by Colorado Creative Industries, creative industries account for 186,251 jobs in the state. Colorado ranks fifth among all states for its concentration of artists, topped only by New York, California, Massachusetts and Vermont. Northwest Colorado is specifically noted for its “nationally significant art and music festivals.”