In 1997, Jina Brennaman, a young mother of four, moved to Palmer Lake from Glenwood Springs, where she had taught ceramics at the Glenwood Center for the Arts.
Once here, she saw a vacant building with ample room for artists to work and display their art, persuaded donors to buy the building and began offering classes and artist residencies within a few months. It was a shoestring operation, held together by vision and determination.
Brennaman left in 2000, passing the torch to a supportive community. Since then, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts has not only survived but thrived. Its historic building on Colorado Highway 105 in Palmer Lake, constructed as a livery stable in 1898, has been thoroughly renovated.
The stated mission of the Tri-Lakes Center is “to nurture emerging artists, demonstrate cultural creativity, and promote the fine arts and humanities in the Tri-Lakes area and beyond.”
To that end, the Center has hosted art exhibits featuring local and regional artists, as well as concerts, performing arts, lectures, dances, and fundraisers. Some events over the past years have included the annual Palmer Lake Arts and Community Event (PLACE), Tri-Lakes Children’s Art Exhibition, Sock Hop, Oktoberfest, Icicles & Mistletoe Gala, Taos Film Festival and lectures featuring photographer John Fielder and mountain climber Simon Yates.
The Center has become a focal point of the community, a venue that’s flexible enough to host art exhibits, concerts, benefits, children’s events, lectures, theater, demonstrations, receptions, classes, workshops and community events of all kinds.
The roster of events is impressive. On Jan. 16, for example, the Center hosted a sold-out concert by Grammy winner Paula Cole. Other recent performers featured at the TLCA include Charlie Daniels, Wendy Woo and Dotsero. Add regionally acclaimed art and photography shows during the past several years, and it’s clear that Brennaman’s vision has been more than fulfilled.