The Center is a non profit organization. We have a gift shop focused on goods representing Southwestern cultures, made by local artisans; a museum representing the past and present of the Cortez area; an art gallery whose exhibits change monthly, featuring local artists; a classroom, kitchen,and art studio, that are available for use by members of the public; and a dance plaza/outdoor performance space located in the heart of downtown Cortez. We have lectures, music, plays, art exhibits, and much more year round. The Center also owns Hawkins Preserve, a 122-acre natural and cultural preserve open to the public year-round.
The Hawkins Preserve, a 122-acre tract of land within the southern city limits of Cortez, was donated to the Colorado University Center of Cortez (now the Cortez Cultural Center) by Mr. Jack Hawkins in the 1990s. Mr. Hawkins was a radio station owner and land developer in Cortez. The Preserve is a valuable asset for the residents and visitors of Cortez because of the environmental setting, the diversity of plant and animal species represented across several biotic communities, the historic and prehistoric cultural resources, and the accessibility of these resources to the Preserve’s visitors.
The Cortez Cultural Center hosts a variety of programs toward its mission of acting as a forum for our community’s artistic, cultural, educational, and scientific needs. Throughout the year we offer art classes for adults and youth, lectures by on topics ranging from archaeology to historic letters to travelogues. Recent hands-on programs and field trips have included ultralight backpacking, dragonfly walks, archaeoastronomy, plant identification workshops, or harmonica lessons. Many of our programs are available to the public for low or no admission fee.
As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the Cortez Cultural Center hosts a series of annual fundraising events that provide fun outreach and educational activities for our community. Our Sweetheart Ball features dinner, dancing, and entertainment. Ladies’ Night Out has a fashion show and vendors, and raises money for our Patsy Brown Art Scholarship available to local high school graduating seniors. People from the four corners states enjoy the annual Pueblo-to-Pueblo Run and Bike Race. The Cortez Cultural Center’s Ute Mountain/Mesa Verde Birding Festival takes birders young and old into the avian world with field trips, lectures, workshops, and more. Check our Events Calendar for these and many other great programs for the whole family.
The Cortez Cultural Center’s Gift Shop features merchandise made by local artisans, including Native American artisans; the selection includes jewelry, pottery, figurines, art, and Southwestern foodstuffs. Our book store highlights children’s and adult books celebrating Southwestern cultures. Many of the books are by local authors.