Newsmakers: Cortez Cultural Center


Sam Green/Cortez Journal file

Newsmakers of 2012:

It was a year of highs and lows for the Cortez Cultural Center in 2012. The nonprofit celebrated its 25th anniversary in July.

But as the center made its way through the summer tourism months with its traditional dances, exhibits and other events, there were financial struggles.

Since 1987, the center has been a regional hub for lectures, art exhibits and Native American dances. It also manages the 122-acre Hawkins Preserve south of town.

But the difficult economic times of the past few years and slow economic recovery have taken their toll on the center's balance sheets, with grants growing more competitive and longtime donors cutting back contributions.

In November, the board chose to let go executive director Shawn Collins and operate indefinitely without a director to cut costs. President Shelby Smith said board members are committed to delegating management tasks to keep the community institution open.

The Cortez Cultural Center has been a Cortez staple for 25 years. It would be a major loss to the city and region if it went away.