ABOUT AH HAA
A Community Center for Art & Culture in Telluride, Colorado
The Ah Haa School for the Arts is a dynamic art school in Telluride, Colorado dedicated to inspiring all people to discover, nurture, and celebrate creativity. The Ah Haa School offers year-round classes, workshops, art trips and retreats, open studios, lectures, Family Days, exhibitions and special events in Telluride. We offer an amazing variety of classes and workshops in painting, ceramics, textile arts, sculpture, welding, stained glass, photography, acting, writing, cooking, wellness and dance. The School is home to the prestigious American Academy of Bookbinding, which runs multiple programs throughout the spring and fall. Our Visiting Artist Program brings renowned artists and students from around the country to Telluride, Colorado. Beginners and skilled artists alike come through our doors to learn something new, refine a skill, or revive a forgotten art. We offer beginning to advanced classes that last from a half-day to six weeks. Our teachers are local as well as nationally known artists with many years of teaching experience.
Founded in 1990 by visionary bookmaker, writer and teacher Daniel Tucker, the Ah Haa School for the Arts is a place of inspiration. In launching the school, Tucker sought to offer something meaningful and long lasting to the community of Telluride. He wanted to offer budding and serious artists alike tools in a variety of media, teach skills and awaken passion that they would carry with them through their lives. Now, over 20 years later, the Ah Haa School has become the community center for arts and culture in Telluride and the surrounding Colorado communities. At the Ah Haa School, we believe that every person harbors an artistic ability and that everyone benefits from discovering and nurturing that creativity.
Board of Directors
The Ah Haa School Board of Directors is comprised of exceptional individuals who share a passion for the arts and a desire to see one of Telluride’s oldest institutions continue to succeed. They bring their vision and expertise to the school, helping in numerous ways, from hands-on help in setting up a gallery exhibit, to practical advice on building maintenance or finance, and fundraising. We also rely on the support of our generous Trustees.
Richard was a Senior Executive with Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services company. He retired from Accenture in 2006 after a 15 year career. Prior to Accenture, he worked in financial services industry. He has a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from UCLA. Richard and his wife Lynn have been visiting Telluride since the late 80’s and have been living here full-time since 2004. Richard is pursuing his passion in travel, environmental and life style photography.
Robert Weatherford – Board Vice President
Robert Weatherford has been painting in Telluride since 1977. Originally from Laredo, Texas, he obtained a Masters in Painting from Claremont Graduate Art School in California and a Masters in Systematic Theology from Union Seminary in New York. He loves to go boarding in the bumps and helping to make our gallery shows the best they can be. He regularly teaches a painting class focused on telling our individual stories in paint. His paintings are represented at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.
Born and raised in Telluride (actually born at the clinic in Telluride), Danny Craft is the Senior Vice President at Alpine Bank in Telluride, Colorado. He is also on the Board of the Telluride Historical Museum and has a vested interest in this community. Danny graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Economics and then attended the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin.
Kathy Green is the owner of BONE construction. In 2008, Kathy was selected as Citizen of the Year, due to her extraordinary community efforts. The Telluride Foundation created its Citizen of the Year award in 2003 to honor San Miguel County residents who make remarkable and unselfish contributions to the region. In addition to serving on Ah Haa’s Board of Directors, Kathy has served on the Telluride Planning & Zoning Commission since 1983. She is also involved in the Telluride Ecology Commission, Streetscapes Taskforce, Traffic Calming Taskforce and is on the board for the The New Community Coalition.
Prior to a full time move to Telluride in 2013, Nick Farkouh and his wife Caroline called Breckenridge home for more than twenty years, where Nick most recently served as founder and principal shareholder of Base Building Solutions, a construction management and design based general contractor with municipal and commercial construction at its core. He holds a BSE in structural engineering, with a dual degree in Architecture from Princeton University, and like most of those who choose to live at altitude, attempts daily to feed his addictions to skiing, cycling, kayaking and nearly all outdoor pursuits.
Lisa Hogan brings 20 years of experience in community education across many countries to her work with not-for-profits. Lisa established early HIV/AIDS curriculum for English language university students in EU countries with the AIDS League Antwerpen, teaching in Belgium and the Netherlands. She worked with NGO groups in Ghana in small business mentoring programs for women in Accra, and community healthcare clinics for the Mother and Child Foundation. Lisa helped to organize fund-raising and awareness campaigns for SafeHands, a London-based charity devoted to safe childbirth practices and the reduction of obstetric fistula incidence, FGM and child-marriage in North Africa. She worked as an education grants consultant in Zurich, Switzerland for UBS Optimus Foundation, researching and reviewing proposals for funding.
Lisa pursued graduate studies at the London School of Economics-University of London in Globalization and Development, and received her M.Ed. in Education Technology at the University of Michigan. Lisa currently serves on the boards of the Amazon Aid Foundation and Computers4Kids, Charlottesville, and on the Board for Institutional Advancement, University Lake School, Milwaukee. She volunteers with Special Olympics of Virginia and is a mentor for Computers4Kids in Charlottesville.
Lang Ingalls is a full-time design binder, making fine books by hand in her Crested Butte, Colorado atelier. She received a Fine Binding Diploma from the American Academy of Bookbinding in 2007, and has remained involved with the school ever since, stepping in as an assistant teacher and volunteering her time to help advance the program. In 2016, Lang helped conceive and facilitate OPEN • SET, a triennial fine binding competition and exhibition promoting the art of the binding. In early 2017, she joined the Ah Haa School for the Arts board of directors, bringing with her a bookish perspective to the position.
Lang’s bibliomania is fueled through her binding work, growth of her personal library, and a fervent dedication to bookbinding and book groups all over the world. She is an active member of various national and international bookbinding guilds, and exhibits several times a year both in the states and abroad.
Beth McLaughlin is a small business entrepreneur dedicated to revitalizing her town and promoting beauty and opportunity for artists and art collectors. McLaughlin grew up in a family food business and has never known a time when she didn’t have a “job.” Early in her career, she developed the international sales division for her family’s food business in Oklahoma. Throughout this time, she formed many relationships in Mexico and was encouraged to form her own national food distribution company. McLaughlin successfully owned and operated Advance Food de Mexico, based in Mexico City, for 15 years.
In the past five years, McLaughlin has been involved in revitalization efforts in Kerrville, Texas, specifically bringing businesses back to the historical downtown area of Kerrville. McLaughlin has owned various retail establishments in the downtown Kerrville area, but has found her passion in representing and promoting artists thru her art gallery, Slate Gray Gallery, formed in 2012. Slate Gray Gallery currently represents over 40 artists and promotes their work in both its location in Kerrville and Telluride, Colorado.
McLaughlin is also very active in the communities in which she lives. She previously served on the board and as President of the non-profit organization Keep Austin Beautiful. Currently, McLaughlin stays involved in the Kerrville community through her foundation, the McLaughlin Doty Foundation, formed in 2010. Over the last seven years, the foundation has supported the local non-profits in the community in various ways as well as provided scholarships to high school seniors. The foundation gives approximately $300,000 in scholarships every year, and currently has 46 students receiving scholarships.
In her free time, McLaughlin can be found enjoying the great outdoors and live music.
Artist and mother, Aela Morgan divides her time between Telluride and New York City.
Bio coming soon!
Trustees are also an essential part of the Ah Haa family, learn more about becoming a Trustee.
Judy moved to Telluride in 1985. After brief but exciting careers in cross country skiing and competitive mountain biking, she settled in at the Ah Haa School where she was the executive director from 1991-2006. After a six-year leave from her ED position, Judy returned in December 2012 and is delighted to be back. She considers herself a ‘dabbler’, and is actively involved in art, music, film, writing, knitting, cooking and making anything by hand. Her other deep love is the great outdoors.
Jessica Newens grew up in Boulder, CO and received her BA in English from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. She’s been in the Telluride region since 1992, where she has held multiple jobs, including a several-year stint as Programs Coordinator for the Ah Haa School back in the 1990s. During her years away from Ah Haa, Jessica founded Tomboy Soap Company and worked as an editor and writer for The Watch Newspapers. She and her husband are raising two young girls, Fiorella and Cecelia, in neighboring Norwood. Jessica returns to the Ah Haa with great enthusiasm as she rekindles old friendships and reignites her interest in art.
Originally from Southern California, Karen moved to Telluride in 1997 after graduating from UCSD with a double major in Communications and Political Science. Hoping to escape traffic, crime and smog, she found home in Colorado. Making ends meet in this valley has afforded her experiences in human resources, bartending, bookkeeping, wrangling, event coordinating, videographing and most recently working for Mountainfilm as the Operations Director. Joining Ah Haa in 2013, Karen likes doing it all. She brings her fascination with creativity and a passion for any new adventure to the Ah Haa team.
Kathleen was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended Colorado State University and holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism. In 2002 she moved to Telluride, and right away became involved with festivals and events such as Telluride Jazz Celebration, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Telluride Mountain Village Sunset Concert Series, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Kathleen is excited to be a part of the Ah Haa as our Marketing and Special Events Manager.
Originally from New Jersey, Kris received her BA from Colorado College before moving to Dublin, Ireland to complete her graduate work. While in Dublin, Kris worked for Xena Productions Bespoke Weddings and Special Events and later free-lanced in interior signage and design for local businesses. In 2010, Kris left Ireland for Rhode Island, where she became the Program Coordinator for the Creative Arts Council at Brown University. Eager to return to the mountains, Kris moved to Telluride in 2015. She is delighted to be a part of the Ah Haa team and excited to join the Telluride community.
Tara comes to us from Columbus, OH, where she received her BA in Ceramics, Sculpture, and Photography at Otterbein University. She later added a Printmaking concentration to the mix during post-graduate studies in Art Education. Tara continued her studies at Otterbein and earned a Master of Business Administration while serving as the Graduate Assistant Coach of the women’s soccer team. During this time, she taught summer art classes at the local rec center and the Columbus Arts Festival and also launched her own sports photography and ceramics businesses in Columbus. After graduating, Tara continued to coach and teach summer art classes while working as a Project Manager and then Account Manager for a retail decor manufacturing company, gtc Artists With Machines. She made the move to Telluride in October of 2016 to pursue her passions of the arts and the outdoors and, in her words, has been living the dream ever since.
Julie McNair received her M.F.A in sculpture from the University of Wyoming and a B.F.A from North Texas State University. Before moving to Telluride, she was an Assistant Professor of sculpture and ceramics at Mississippi State University and Executive Director of the Art League of Houston. Julie owned and operated East End Gallery in Telluride for more than 17 years and since selling the gallery in 2003, she has worked full time as an artist, marketing her clay figures in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Katy Baum has been pursuing her love of bookbinding since 2001 when she made her first handbound book. Originally from Durango, CO her love of bookbinding has led her on a wonderful path ranging from Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina to graduate school in Chicago where she earned a Master’s degree in Library Science and completed an internship in Book Conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago. Most recently, Katy has been managing the Bessenberg Bindery outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan and serving as Secretary for the Guild of Bookworkers. In her free time she enjoys walking in the woods with her dog, learning to play the piano, practicing yoga, and doing volunteer literacy work with children.
Originally from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Deb moved to Colorado in 1979 and to Telluride in 1994. Prior to joining the Ah Haa team in 2010, she spent 40 years working with her hands and creativity in one form or another; sewing, pottery, stained glass, theatrical sign language interpreting, dancing, singing, house building, dental assisting (!), graphic design and now, bookbinding. Having gained administrative experience along the way while working for the Arvada Center for the Arts Deaf Access Program as its coordinator and for the Telluride Choral Society for many years, the transition to the American Academy of Bookbinding feels like a natural fit. She has found the bookbinding community to be an exceptionally supportive and enjoyable one, and hopes to contribute to its development and growth for many years to come.
Ah Haa is partnering with the Town of Telluride to build a new home in the center of town.Located on a vacant lot across from Baked in Telluride, this mixed-use development will include an underground public parking structure, 8-10 affordable housing units, and approximately 10,000 square feet of new, purpose-built space for the Ah Haa School. LEARN MORE!
We now own the Depot – debt free! The Ah Haa achieved a monumental milestone in 2013 by paying off the final debt on its home, Telluride’s turn-of-the-century train depot, a beautiful building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its deck and patio sit surrounded by lush riparian vegetation of evergreens, cottonwoods and willows along the bank of the San Miguel River. We use the outdoors for classes and gatherings, especially wedding ceremonies. Inside the venerable old building are a large, well-lit gallery room, various classrooms, the clay- and jewelry studios, a kitchen and our offices. View Map.
Ah Haa’s younger sister, the American Academy of Bookbinding was founded in 1993. The Stone Building on North Willow Street, a historic building as well, serves as the Academy’s beautiful home. Built in 1900 and constructed of native stone and indigenous red limestone mortar, it was first used as a livery stable and assay office, and then used by old Step-and-a-Half Adams, the local undertaker, for his trade. Renovated in 2000, the facility consists of a well lit, 1,400 square foot bookbinding studio and a comfortable student lounge, where books and videos are available for further study. Students have access to the studio and lounge 24 hours a day. View Map.
Ah Haa In the News…
Soul of Telluride: The Arts Fuel Change (Again)
Confluence Denver | August 24, 2016 | Laura Bond
Ah Haa’s Moment: Award-winning songstress Jewel will be one of several celebrities
Telluride Daily Planet | July 15, 2016 | Abigail Thornton
Ah Haa: Growth (And Growing Pains)
Telluride Inside… And Out | November 18, 2015
Naturita Mosaic, Uncompahgre Poets
Telluride Watch | October 29, 2015 | Leslie Vreeland
Open • Set: A New Bookbinding Competition in the United States
American Bound | June 22, 2015