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.
Randy Cain is a former Vice Chair and Southwest Regional Managing Partner for EY. In his 36-plus years with EY, he served high profile clients through mergers, IPOs, acquisitions, divestitures, and across numerous industries including energy, financial services, insurance, mining, manufacturing, and telecommunications. He served as the senior advisory partner for AT&T, Phillips66, USAA, Freeport-McMoRan, McDermott and Western Union. A CPA in Texas, Randy is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs.
Randy’s philanthropic involvement includes his role as Chairman of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the American Heart Association North Texas Division, Junior Achievement of South Texas, and the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl. Randy and and his wife Jyl have three daughters.
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.
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.
Ana Bowling has been a resident of Telluride since 2009 when she relocated from NYC. Ana is active in the Telluride non-profit community. In addition to serving on the Ah Haa School Board of Directors, Ana serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the San Miguel Resource Center and a mentor and board member of One to One Mentoring. Bowling believes that volunteering is at the very core of being human.
Bio coming soon!
Trustees are also an essential part of the Ah Haa family, learn more about becoming a Trustee.
Martin (Marty) Wollesen is a believer in the power of imagination and that creativity is core to the human spirit. A life-long learner, he brings over 25 years of innovative leadership in the arts and arts education having lead several multi-disciplinary performing arts organizations through significant expansion. As the Executive Director of Ah Haa School for the Arts, his wide-ranging curiosity and commitment to community engagement creates experiences for everyone to learn something new and share something meaningful about themselves. Marty has lived in New Mexico, Washington DC, California, Singapore, Philippines, Egypt, Portugal.
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.
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 moved to 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 where she spends her time facilitating art and wrestling bears.
Before moving to Telluride, Rachel lived in San Francisco and Washington DC where she worked in clinical research with a specialty in oncology. She studied Geography in college with a focus on Geographical Information Systems, often making weekend trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, where she developed her love of outdoor recreation. Rachel and her husband live in the mountains of Japan during the winter where they work and ski. She is incredibly grateful to live in the Telluride region and have meaningful work at the Ah Haa.
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.
Jan Newell, Bookkeeper
Jan became interested in bookkeeping during her years as office manager for a local non-profit organization when she first moved to Telluride. She became a Certified Bookkeeper in 2010 and started a bookkeeping business in 2011. Specializing in non-profit organizations, Jan combines computer and spreadsheet skills in her consulting services Jan spent four years active duty in the United States Army after high school and four years in the Reserves during college. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received he Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems. After College, Jan worked as a database programmer in Washington DC for a company providing education forums nationwide. She moved to Telluride with her family in 2005.
Chip Schilling, Managing Director, American Academy of Bookbinding
Wilber “Chip” Schilling has worked as a book artist since 1992, under the imprint of Indulgence Press. His work is collected and exhibited internationally. His work is featured in the many publications including Masters: Book Arts, Major works by leading Artists (Sterling Publishing) and Volumes 1 & 2, book art object (Codex Foundation). Schilling earned a BA in history and photography from Clark University (Worchester, MA) and an MFA in book arts and printmaking from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). Schilling currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. He taught as a full-time lecturer at Columbia College Chicago in the graduate program of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department. He is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.
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 School for the Arts‘ new home is at the Silver Jack Building (155 W Pacific Ave) in downtown’s Arts District. (Opening in July 2021). Telluride’s new arts hub is a 10,000 square-foot, purpose-built community center with enhanced studios and thoughtfully designed classrooms that will spark expanded opportunities for participation, including:
Great for creatives of all levels of skill and interest, our new state-of-the-art studio is equipped with ten pottery wheels and accompanying handbuilding tables, a glazing room and a kiln room.
Ah Haa’s Culinary Arts experiences will take place in our new and intimate teaching kitchen with a view. Our diverse offerings for all ages embrace the creative act of cooking and the exploration of food as a form of connection to culture, history and land.
Ah Haa is committed to innovation and experimentation in art and our talented painting instructors create an open and collaborative learning environment across a wide range of styles and disciplines.
Daniel Tucker Gallery
Honoring the vision and questing curiosity of Ah Haa’s founder, Daniel Tucker, our new exhibition space explores the power of imagination and the creative impulse that is core to the human spirit. The Daniel Tucker Gallery will be a place of experimentation, exploration and celebration of the artistic spirit through a thought-provoking series of exhibitions, installations, artist talks and interactive experiences.
The Possibilities Room
The Possibilities Room is Ah Haa’s active, light-filled creative space for young people and is the focal point for a host of diverse and exciting experiences designed to sustain the joy of discovery. Our talented and experienced instructors encourage artistic growth through age-appropriate classes and workshops in a variety of art forms with a focus on process and experimentation that builds confidence and resilience.
The Resource Library
Ah Haa’s cozy Michael Ruterbories Resource Library on the second floor is the place to browse, borrow and find a place of belonging on your artistic and creative journey. Our ever expanding library provides books and resources that will extend and supplement your classroom experience through research and reading.
The Mixed Media Room
Art is boundless and creative possibilities are endless at Ah Haa School for the Arts. Our spacious and bright Mixed Media Room is equipped to accommodate a variety of popular classes that allow your creativity to span across, between and beyond artistic boundaries.
The X Room
The X Room is where anything can happen and everything does. This is our most flexible space that allows us to respond and adapt to new possibilities and the evolving interests of our artists, instructors and creative community of learners.
Ah Haa Community Room and Sky Deck
At the heart of art is community. Our rooftop is a place of gathering under the inspiring beauty of Telluride’s majestic mountains. The Community Room is a versatile space for classes, workshops, creative conversations and celebrations, that opens out to the Sky Deck, for the ultimate “plein air” experience. To rent the Community Room and Sky Deck please see our rentals page.