The Hearth – Grand Opening

On March 28, 2024

By Tamie Meck – Staff Writer of High Country Spotlight/Shopper Feb 19, 2024

Excerpts from the article:

Owned by The Learning Council (TLC), on Feb. 4, The Hearth was opened to the public for the first time. The open house event offered a multi-point self-guided tour of the space and a chance to meet the artists, enjoy nourishing food prepared by the TLC Kitchen Crew, and hear original music by the “Music as Medicine” ensemble…

Grand Opening image

“We’re just feeling so much gratitude that we wanted to invite you all here to see what we’ve done and celebrate what we’ve done,” said TLC executive director Alicia Michelsen before the ceremonial lighting of The Hearth’s wood stove that heats the community education space. “This Hearth and this place are the results of all of us coming together and creating, and the elements that join us as we create… It has the stone and the water and air, and the Earth is here supporting us, and we’re so grateful for all of those things, and for all of the hands and for all of the contributions that brought us to this day.”

Created by Aloria Weaver and David Heskin, the stove’s backsplash tiles were cast in 15th Century Spanish-Moorish tradition from hand-carved plaster molds, using clay and glazes sourced from Rocky Mountain Clay in Denver, and its Yule marble base was sourced from Abstract Marble in Marble…

Grand Opening image

About 50 artists and skilled craftspeople have already been involved in transforming the Hearth space, and now, the creative work will continue outside, said TLC administrative team member Emily Bloom.

A nonprofit dedicated to lifelong learning and education as a resource for everyone, with inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience, TLC gave much thought to naming the space. “We especially love that the word ‘hearth’ incorporates Earth, heart, art, hear. We felt like that’s a good representation of what we do in this space,” said Bloom.

The Hearth serves as a community gathering space and public workshop area, an ice cream parlor, a “Diversity Library,” a bike coop, and a certified commercial kitchen providing weekly, locally sourced meals to the community by donation. It will also be used as a teaching kitchen for cooking local, cultural, and ethnic foods and much more…

Grand Opening image

Now that The Hearth is open, TLC can expand on its offerings, said Michelsen. With a commercial kitchen, TLC can provide more cooking classes, more food offerings, and nutrition outreach to the valley while allowing others in the community to offer classes and community-building opportunities.

“We just feel so incredibly honored just to be able to be in this space,” said Michelsen. “It’s such a special place. We’re so glad to be able to maintain it and care for it and also to transform it and bring it into the modern day with all of the incredible resources and assets of artists and creativity that this valley has to offer.” To be able to offer it as a public space, “feels like an incredible blessing.”

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