In 2018, nine different artists were awarded a total of $10,000 for various endeavors. Grants awarded range from professional development courses to specific projects and collaborations. Disciplines varied across the board from fine arts, music, jewelry, glass blowing, and literary arts representing the diversity of creative talent that thrives in the Telluride Arts District.

Proposals are selected based on the quality of the work first and foremost, along with the artists’ plan to enrich the lives of the Telluride community by sharing their work through a performance, publication, exhibit, screening and other happenings.

A peer panel of artists representing multiple disciplines reviewed each application individually. They then gathered to collectively evaluate the proposals and carefully award funding that will be meaningful to the artist. With a talented pool of applicants, the decision process was very challenging and not every proposal received an award or full funding. The selection process is rigorous and increasingly competitive. Each year the quality of proposals increases — a true testament to the strong creativity within the Telluride community. Since its inception in 1999, the program has supported over 300 artists to deepen their skills and advance their work in the areas of filmmaking, poetry, visual arts, theatre, music, and other disciplines. Over time, the small grants awards have been a significant investment in developing Telluride’s local talent.

Small Grants support the innovation, creativity and professional development of individual artists living in the Telluride region. The Small Grants for Artists program is funded by the Town of Telluride and administered by Telluride Arts. Telluride Arts’ Small Grants program has advanced innovation and excellence among Telluride’s local artists since 1999.




The body of work proposed by Abby Fox will explore existing and proposed political and environmental boundaries around the world and their effects on human and animal life. Abby Fox has been inspired to explore this theme because of one-on-one conversations with immigrant friends in Colorado, listening to radio advertisements targeted at immigrants, and research. She has continuously heard people reference the theme of feeling “split,” feeling like you “half belong here and half belong there.” While these reflections have been collected from people, she will instead be using animal imagery to communicate the effects of borders. The body of work will seek to expand on this theme and her 2017 Migrant series, which illustrated animals that would be impacted by the proposed expansion of the existing 654-mile border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Using a combination of relief printing techniques, hand embroidery, and a mix of paper and fiber surfaces, Fox will explore visual representations of borders and their consequences.


Alex Paul will produce a full-length LP of all original music this spring. He plans on recording at Studio in the Clouds, located right outside of Telluride. His vision for the album is fairly elementary. Most of the tracks would be minimally produced with little more than acoustic guitar and vocals. A couple tracks would have a slightly more elaborate arrangement that will include some sparse drumming, stand-up bass, and harmony vocals. Paul proposes 10-11 tracks total.

Once the recording is complete, Paul intends to spend several weeks mixing and mastering. He plans to also work with a visual artist during this time to create the original album artwork, for which he has a general concept.

Upon completion of the album, Paul will produce and process physical copies of the album and plans to set up a local album release show, free to the Telluride community.


Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 2.15.57 PM.png


Amy Taylor’s first experience with glass blowing was in a class her sophomore year of college. She initially expected the course to be fun, but nothing more. However, she can remember being captivated watching the advanced fabricators and thinking, “I can’t wait till I’m that good.” Her introductory classes soon turned into advanced classes, which led the way to Taylor becoming a teacher’s assistant and eventually a degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Crafts and Material Studies, focused in glass.

Two years ago, Taylor moved to Telluride where she was enchanted by the mountains and town, but has become disappointed at the absence of glass blowing. She is now determined to bring glass blowing to Telluride not only for personal purposes, but to share such a stimulating medium with the community.

With the progression of technology in the glass world, portable glass studios have become available. A Georgia-based company, Mobile Glassblowing Studios, LLC, offers a variety of portable studios for purchase that combine different equipment elements needed to blow glass. The model desired is The Big Dragon which best accommodates Taylor’s working style. Using a large amount of personally saved funds in addition to the received small grant, Taylor will purchase the portable glass blowing studio and fulfill her dream of being able to blow glass in Telluride.


Ashley Shupp has a background in graphic design, but more recently, one of her main creative outlets has been up-cycling. She uses fabric scraps from local interior decorators and repurposes them into fashionable and usable everyday items. With the success of her up-cycled products, Shupp wants to further her mission of eliminating waste and take this opportunity to teach people of the community, especially kids, how to sew and recycle fabric. She believes that upcycling is an easy and beneficial skill to learn, and is excited to share it.



Colleen Thompson has been making jewelry for ten years, but 2017 was the year she achieved a personal ambition of becoming a silversmith. She took an introductory metalsmithing course offered at the Denver School of Metal Arts, which has transformed her artwork, and has resulted in Thompson creating jewelry that she has always dreamed of making. However, she aspires to continue her education and further her craft. After researching jewelry programs all over the country, Thompson found a program suitable for her needs in Nashville, TN at the New Approach School for Jewelers. The full-time program she intends to take is a twelve-week Graduate Bench Jeweler Program, but before she commits to moving away for an off-season to take this program, she intends to travel to Nashville and take one of the school’s week-long intensive courses and decide if the program is the correct fit. The chosen course is the Stone Setting Comprehensive course, which will be invaluable to both her career as a jeweler and to her decision of whether or not to take the Graduate Course at the New Approach School for Jewelers.


Designer Katy Parnello is a self-taught woodworker specializing in Electroliers, re-purposed wood wall hangings with soft lighting. An artist from a performance background, this is Parnello's first move into interior design.    

She intends to create a surrealist set of two rooms that are connected by a tunnel. Each room will have two - four walls whose walls will be constructed like her Electrolier pieces. The entry room would mimic a Victorian study, but with a mirrored floor (possibly ceiling too) to give the room an infinite feel. There would then be a tunnel that is from the floor, 3-4 ft. up, which viewers would have to crawl through to get to the other room. The second room would be constructed of Electrolier pieces, so you would crawl towards the light and enter into a fully lit space with a mirrored floor (and possibly ceiling as well).


Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 2.27.14 PM.png

Mel Trad  |  Bronze Casting

Artist and sculptor Mel Trad is based in Telluride. Building a body of work with concrete and mixed media, she brings together aesthetic polarities in high contrast, challenging the notion of the art object itself in jarring yet poetic modes of gestural abstraction. Receiving her B.A. from the University of Southern California in 2009, Trad moved to Telluride in 2016 launching a new chapter within her dynamic practice.

Phoebe Bright  |  Charismatic Megafauna of the Western Cascades

Phoebe Bright has written a rough draft of a fiction book. Her project goal is to revise it to a point where she can submit it to an agent by the end of 2018. Last summer, Bright maintained a very low cost of living by residing in a tent and using a car battery to charge her computer. This meant she only worked two days a week and had lots of time to write. Bright’s intent for this summer is to once again live minimally so that she will have solid time and creative energy for the revision process. 

The project is a collection of linked short stories, set in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, that follows a family as they unravel through long-brewing arguments made worse by drugs and unemployment. It opens with Shelly, who is recently divorced and raising her two teenage daughters. When the younger girl gets in trouble at school for attacking another student, Shelly insists on an impromptu deer-hunting trip. As the women head up to an old mountain camp, Shelly is forced to reflect on the trials of growing up in a small town where drugs are easily accessible and the death of her meth-addicted sister still haunts her. The manuscript explores the family’s history in the Cascades – the sabotage of the logging wars, the suicide of a matriarch – as well as Shelly’s personal history with a husband who is viewed as a hero in town after he nearly kills an unstable friend. As Shelly’s daughters grow, she considers how family patterns repeat themselves and if they can ever be broken.

The focus of this manuscript is not the rugged men who often dominate mountain stories, but women and girls. Bright’s interest in the rural female experience is influenced by growing up with the repercussions of her mother being shot and nearly killed by a man who didn’t want a woman talking back to him. The stories are told by different members of the family and aim to explore the limitations and possibilities of forgiveness.


Tyler Simmons  |  Porch Couch Press Kit

Over the past two years, Porch Couch, a current collaborative music project between locals Tyler Simmons and Danny D’Alessandro, has aimed to express “the Telluride experience” through originally crafted songwriting; and by playing persistently throughout Telluride’s venues. In order to market this original Telluride craft, a complete media resume/portfolio in the form of an electronic press kit (EPK) is necessary. As out-of-town bands flood into Telluride, resources for the local music scene are diminishing, and the deficit of Telluride’s music in the regional market becomes starkly apparent. This EPK will ultimately serve to increase the value of Porch Couch to promote the local artists beyond the box canyon. 

So far, portions of the comprehensive EPK have been put into motion using available personal funds. Stephen Rockwood has created new branding insignia, and merchandise has been ordered through Fishbone Graphics. Telluride Music Company has recorded promotional videos, and frequent local shows continue to be booked. In order to finalize the EPK, photography, website design, recordings, and album artwork are necessary. The small grant will support website design and photography, both by Telluride locals. Porch Couch also plans to conduct recording and mixing, final album mastering, and commissioning album artwork.