Who We Serve
CAE is located in a small mountain community (pop. 9,038) on the western border of JeffCo. It is adjacent to rural Clear Creek (pop. 9K) and Park Counties (pop. 16K). There are only two major roads into the mountains from Denver, and our unincorporated communities are physically and psychologically separated from metro Denver. Our mountain region is viewed as a ‘destination’ rather than a contiguous portion of the county. The reverse mindset also exists for the residents of Clear Creek and Park counties and many in west JeffCo for whom going to Denver is an outing requiring a trip ‘down-the-hill’. In these rural areas, transportation limits access to and participation in high-quality artistic experiences. Many residents do not travel to Denver for business or recreation, and consequently, CAE serves as the main center for arts in our area. Despite being tucked away in the foothills, we also attract many visitors and students from Denver and the surrounding metro area.
At CAE, we strive to create opportunities for people of all walks of life to engage in the arts. Our goal is to transcend differences in culture, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomics by fostering a passion for artistic expression that can be shared and appreciated by all. Our classes/events are filled with retired citizens, school-aged children, and young professionals, all of whom may benefit from the arts. Our combined attendance from our classes, events, festivals, and programs is upward of 65,000 people per year, 85% of which are from Colorado.
Our outreach efforts focus on all of our constituents, but recent programs have been designed to serve individuals with cognitive/physical disabilities, teenagers with mental health needs, seniors with memory loss, and underserved rural families who may not have access to arts opportunities. Our exhibitions are free to all attendees, and through our strong partnerships in the community we make the arts accessible to those who may not otherwise have artistic exposure. We offer hands-on experiences such as free arts classes/workshops, an art-centric book club, the CAE Teen Art Council, and guided gallery walkthroughs and interactive art experiences for adults and youth.
How We Serve
CAE has a long history of bringing together the arts and the community in the mountain corridor. 46 years ago, our founders had a vision to create a place (a physical space and an active organization) that could serve as a true community center—a gathering place for those with diverse opinions to come together, to learn, and to enlighten one another through art. Our goal every year is to live up to this dream. Even CAE’s long organizational legacy is surpassed by the historic relevance of our facility. In 2017, we undertook a capital campaign that allowed us to purchase the historic Bergen Park Church and Soda Creek Schoolhouse. Our careful work in retrofitting the historic structures provided us with a contemporary space where people can study and experience the visual and performing arts, while honoring the frontier past of the Evergreen area. In 2018, CAE was awarded a place on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties, and it has become a regular tour stop for groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and local historical societies.
At CAE we work hard to program a diverse mix of 8-9 exhibitions/year that highlight the cultural significance of each piece within the specific context it was created. Whether they explore the history of photography, showcase Mexican folk art masks, or tell the stories of teenage mental health during the pandemic, our exhibitions give voice to contemporary issues and transport our patrons to places across the globe. Our collaborations with other nonprofits in our community, such as Sculpture Evergreen, the Evergreen Artists Association, and Resilience 1220 (a teen mental health organization), carry our work beyond the walls of our classroom and gallery. CAE is an artistic cornerstone leader in our mountain communities: organizing public art opportunities, providing art supplies to underserved communities, or educating those with memory loss and physical or cognitive disabilities. Unlike traditional art galleries or theaters, whose focus is on one area of fine arts, CAE is unique in our capability to bring together the community across multiple artistic disciplines.
Why We Serve
The mission of the Center for the Arts Evergreen is to enrich and serve our mountain community by promoting and cultivating the arts through quality educational programs, exhibitions, and events.
Today, we have a new perspective on that mission. At the pandemic’s onset, as many were struggling with illness, job loss, and mental health, we challenged ourselves to reevaluate our purpose in the community, given the circumstances. As the world retreated inside, it ignited CAE’s objective to provide a safe sanctuary of creativity for our community, whether at our center or in the comfort of their own homes. We examined our strategic goals, and we knew that our success was and is predicated on our ability to deliver innovative arts education, present diverse exhibitions, and provide outreach to the community. Shutting down was never an option; with limited staff and resources, we needed to reimagine and redirect our efforts.
Evergreen is a small town, and, thus, much of our past work has been focused on drawing local residents into our exhibits, events, and classes, and providing outreach to underserved groups within our communities: the LGBTQ+ population, those who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and the senior residents. However, over last year, we have re-focused our efforts on the importance of an asset-based approach: bringing people together to identify and embrace the strengths, creative skills, stories, cultures, and voices that already exist in Jefferson County, and inviting people from far-reaching places to become part of this love and exploration of the human experience through art.
We define equity as providing all people with fair opportunities to attain their full potential. We believe that in order to make progress on diversity and inclusion, CAE needs to acknowledge societal inequities, and recognize that, by nature of the socioeconomic privileges in our community, CAE isn’t a level playing field. We therefore partner with organizations in the community to help us gain awareness of the unique social identity within and across our constituents, and the context in which diversity, equity, and inclusion plays out for individuals and groups who are affected by CAE’s work.