226-228 Grand Avenue
With inspiration, a group of local teachers established the Blue Sage Dance and Movement Center in 1994. Starting next door to The Diner Restaurant, they offered classes in yoga, tai chi, dance, and massage therapy sessions. Their rented building shortly became the venue for the annual Paonia Holiday Arts Festival. The “Sage Stage” brought music into the Center, and ever evolving programs to benefit the local community. The “Sage” moved in 1996 renting their present location, the Historic Curtis Hardware building, at 228 Grand Avenue. With program growth and new opportunities the Blue Sage became a non-profit corporation that same year.
Over the next few years, classes continued to be the main offering at the Blue Sage, with an occasional folk concert, and the annual Paonia Holiday Arts Festival in December. All classes and events took place on the main floor – a family lived in the upstairs apartment. Blue Sage staff consisted of a part-time manager.
In 1998 the name of the organization was changed to the Blue Sage Center for the Arts. In that same year, the owner of the building decided to sell it and offered the Blue Sage first opportunity. The board members of the Blue Sage Center organized a Capital Campaign to raise the necessary $225,000. Within thirteen months funds were raised through the community and several private foundations, resulting in the purchase of the building on November 29, 1999.
Through the years, growth has allowed the Blue Sage to expand with the purchase of the adjacent “First National Bank Building,” built in 1903. This is the building which presently houses the art gallery, events lobby, office and class room space.
Most special events and classes at the Blue Sage take place on the large, open, street-level floor of the Curtis Building. The second floor of the building is also open for meetings and over-night lodging. The kitchen on the second floor is also available for the use of the Arts Center and the organizations and individuals who rent the space.
The Blue Sage is continually morphing to respond to the needs and climate of the community. Through its many stages of change, the Blue Sage has remained defined as a space where community individuals are inspired to celebrate and engage with one another. And that is remarkably valuable.