Timeline

1984

Telluride Institute Established

Founded in 1984 to create strong local environmental and cultural activities in our corner of Colorado we're making change happen through freethinking research that has crossed continents, politics, and disciplines, our programs demonstrate innovative and practical methods for building and sustaining healthy communities and environments.
1985

First TI Ideas Festival

Promoting dynamic change in the region, our first Ideas Festival, “Reinventing Work,” saw the beginning of Telluride Institute with participants including British politician Shirley Williams, the Julliard String Quartet’s Robert Mann and then-Senator Al Gore.
Learn more about the Ideas Festival.
1987

Glasnost (Ideas Festival)

"Glasnost" (Ideas Festival), with participants contemplating the future:  Leonid Dobrohotov (Soviet Historian), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), John Naisbitt (Futurist),  and Tankred Golampolski.  Photograph by Richard Lowenberg.
1988

Perestroika (Ideas Festival)

"Perestroika" (Ideas Festival), the first event in the United States to be co-sponsored by a NGO and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR  (the only political party permitted in the USSR at the time).
1988 - 1993

Composer to Composer

"Composer to Composer" Experimental music festivals including John Cage, Morton Subotnick, and others.
1989

Housing the Community (Ideas Festival)

"Housing the Community"  (Ideas Festival), which inspired an ongoing effort by the local governments in the Telluride region to provide deed-restricted housing to the local workforce.
1991

Native American Writers and Artists Forum

Native American Writers and Artists Forum
1992

Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed (Ideas Festival)

"Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed" (Ideas Festival)  gave birth to the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, now an independent nonprofit group whose 2006 Watershed Report Card inspired the Institute to hold a lecture series addressing the issue that summer.
1992 - 1997

Radio Futures Project

Radio Futures project, which over five years saw more than 75 original Radio Plays performed on Telluride’s community radio station, KOTO.
1993

TeleCommunity (Ideas Festival)

"TeleCommunity" (Ideas Festival),  spawned the InfoZone, a project which made Telluride the first small town in the United States not affiliated with a university or corporation have direct dial-in to the Internet through a dedicated Internet POP tied to a pervasive community tele-computing network.  https://www.tellurideinstitute.org/infozone.html
1993 - 2000

Info-Zone

The InfoZone was one of the ground-breaking community networks world-wide, just as the Internet was being born.  Starting in the late '80s, it used the First Class BBS community networking platform, with many early users and online exchanges with other CNs. In 1993 it provided local citizens access to information technology and helped to direct this technology for community purposes. At the InfoZone's inception, Telluride became the first small town in the world to have direct local dial-in to the internet. The InfoZone provided free email, local and national news, conferences, and other community information.
2000

A Town Without Locals

"A Town Without Locals" explored the challenges of building a truly vibrant community without housing and economic opportunities for Telluride's full time residents.
2004 - present

Watershed Education Program

The main programming of the Watershed Education Program (WEP) is assisting classroom teachers in planning, preparing and executing full day and overnight field trips that are tied directly to their classroom curriculum and the Colorado State Standards. The programming uses the San Miguel River Watershed as the core element of a place-based curriculum that includes science, history, mathematics, language arts and art. WEP works in all the schools of the San Miguel River Watershed, including Telluride, Norwood, Nucla, Naturita and Paradox Valley.  All programming is provided FREE of charge to the schools.
2005

Black Bear Awareness Week

Black Bear Awareness Week helps people understand that bears are part of life in Telluride and the surrounding areas. There is always cause for concern regarding the safety of people and black bears in the area. So in an effort to educate about bears, Bear Awareness Week seeks to help people be safe.
2006

Centre for the Future Established

Centre for the Future established in Slavonice, Czech. The Center for theFuture’s mission is to improve both the human condition and the health of the planet by bringing together the multidisciplinary skills of scholars, educators, artists, scientists, business people, entrepreneurs, researchers, activists, organizers, community leaders  and politicians to bridge the gap between ideas and action, and speed the transition to a sustainable future.
2006 - present

Mushroom Festival Established

The Mushroom Festival has hosted Nobel Prize laureates, anthropologists, medical doctors, professors, psychonauts, writers, chemists, thought-leaders, religious leaders, and others famous in their respective fields.
2011

Atlas of the San Miguel

Atlas of the San Miguel:  Art, Education, and Community Engagement addressed the shifting ecological, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the San Miguel Watershed. Organized by Dan Collins and Pam Zoline of the Telluride Institute, the project used art and technology as dual lenses for investigating the San Miguel river basin. The Atlas continues to grow and draws on local knowledge, scientific findings and creative response to craft an artful dialogue specific to the watershed. It is a springboard for visualizing and contemplating water as a cultural reflection, water as energy, as a connecting agent, the control of water, the complexity of water rights, public vs. private water, and water as aesthetic inspiration.
2011 - 2013

Compassion Festivals

Distinguished neuroscientists and representatives of wisdom traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, Indigenous Native American, and Religious scholars have met to examine and discuss the nature of compassion.  Stanford University's CCARE Center and the Telluride Institute continue to work together to investigate the science,  the cultural practices, and the educational potential of compassion.  
2014

Talking Gourds Launched

Talking Gourds, a poetry program of the Telluride Institute, created and co-directed by Art Goodtimes of Norwood and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville.
2015

Valley Floor Living Classroom

Launch of the Valley Floor Living Classroom (building on the significant legacy of BVLC--Bridal Valley Living Classroom). High school students and adults can learn about the science of the Valley Floor through a free and open-to-the-public program called the Valley Floor Living Classroom.
2015

TIES (Telluride Institute Environmental Studies)

TIES (Telluride Institute Environmental Studies) serves as an umbrella for all of the Telluride Institute's environmental studies programming including the Fen Prospect Basin Project, the Watershed Education Program (WEP), the Valley Floor Living Classroom (VFLC), the Bridal Veil Living Classroom (BVLC), Diné Camp, Nature Rangers, the Watershed Expedition Series, the science and field studies components of the Mushroom Festival, the high mountain initiative called VERTEX, and our partnership with Arizona State University and the EPA called SCAPE.
2016

Housing Our Community (Ideas Festival)

After a hiatus, the Ideas Festival is back.  On September 9-11th, 2016, we convened a conversation on Housing our Community, echoing the 1989 Festival that helped spur on the region’s initial affordable housing programming.  Since then, the region has constructed more than 1,000 units of deed restricted housing that house more than 50% of the local workforce.  And yet, many still consider workforce housing to be our biggest issue locally.
2017

Clute Science Fiction Library

Launch of the new Clute Science Fiction Library based on the collection of long-time TI supporter, John Clute.

Overview of Telluride Institute’s Events and Accomplishments

Between 1988 to 1991, the Telluride Institute  held four “Composer-to-Composer” festivals, in which major composers from around the world, including John Cage, John Adams, Terry Riley, Ge Gan-ru, Laurie Anderson and Tom Ze, met for several days of private discussions followed by a weekend of public performances. Composer-to-Composer bred a spin-off: Charles Amirkhanian, co-director with John Lifton, launched the annual Other Minds festival in San Francisco, California in 1993. 2005 saw the eleventh Other Minds festival take place[citation needed].

Another element of the TI’s arts program was the Radio Futures project, which over five years saw more than 75 original radio plays performed on Telluride’s community radio station, KOTO.

In 1991, the late anthropologist and author Dr. Alfonso Ortiz, founded the TI’s Native American Writers and Artists Forum, which
offers a unique opportunity for distinguished Native writers, artists and educators to explore issues of craft and culture , as well as to lead and publish discussions about the future of their communities. This forum gave rise to the Native American Writers in Schools residency program, which sponsors Native writers and artists to work with Native high school students in week long workshops in school.

In 1997, the TI invented the idea of Greenbucks, printed vouchers that one earns by working for environmental clean-up and restoration projects and that can be used as tickets to local concerts or at participating stores and restaurants. The institute administered the Greenbucks program in Telluride, Mountain Village, and other nearby towns. Greenbucks is an idea that has been copied on five continents.

In partnership with the Town of Telluride, the TI held its first annual Black Bear awareness week in 2005. It included lectures, performances and a community celebration on Telluride’s Main Street to educate area residents about the proper way to coexist with the local bear population. In 2006, the institute took over the organization of the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, a popular event that involves lectures, film screenings, foraging trips, and cooking demonstrations.  TI has played host and catalyzed conversations around the need for affordable housing in major ideas festivals in 1989, 2000, and 2016.

Future projects for the TI include funding a survey of the San Miguel Watershed’s wildlife, largely to be conducted by students, and building a campus in Telluride where visiting scholars would come together, research, discuss and teach.

In 2006 John Lifton and Pamela Zoline founded the “Centre for the Future” in the Czech border town of Slavonice. The Centre planned to hold, in September 2006, two simultaneous dual-language festivals: “Robot,” a gathering of science fiction authors and artists inspired by science from the US, UK and the Czech Republic, and “Cultural Landscapes,” examining the impact of society on the surface of the Earth and vice-versa through panels and exhibits regarding architecture, urban planning, landscape design, land art and new technologies of mapping and representing topography.  A new Science Fiction Collection will be housed at the Telluride Institute starting in 2017.  A preview of that collection is currently on display in the new “Ghost Town” tea and coffee shop that fronts the TI offices in Telluride.

Our Accomplishments

1984:  Telluride Institute established.

1985:  First TI Ideas Festival, “Reinventing Work.”  https://www.tellurideinstitute.org/ideas-festival.html

1987: “Glasnost” (Ideas Festival), with participants contemplating the future:  Leonid Dobrohotov (Soviet Historian), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), John Naisbitt (Futurist),  and Tankred Golampolski.  Photograph by Richard Lowenberg.

1988: “Perestroika” (Ideas Festival), the first event in the United States to be co-sponsored by a NGO and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR  (the only political party permitted in the USSR at the time),

1988 – 1993:  “Composer to Composer” Experimental music festivals including John Cage, Morton Subotnick, and others.

1989: “Housing the Community”  (Ideas Festival), which inspired an ongoing effort by the local governments in the Telluride region to provide deed-restricted housing to the local workforce.

1991:  Native American Writers and Artists Forum

1992: “Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed” (Ideas Festival)  gave birth to the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, now an independent nonprofit group whose 2006 Watershed Report Card inspired the Institute to hold a lecture series addressing the issue that summer.

1993: “TeleCommunity” (Ideas Festival),  spawned the InfoZone, a project which made Telluride the first small town in the United States not affiliated with a university or corporation have direct dial-in to the Internet through a dedicated Internet POP tied to a pervasive community tele-computing network.  https://www.tellurideinstitute.org/infozone.html

1993 – 2000:  Info-Zone

2000:  “A Town Without Locals” explored the challenges of building a truly vibrant community without housing and economic opportunities for Telluride’s full time residents.

1992 – 1997 (?): Radio Futures  project, which over five years saw more than 75 original Radio Plays performed on Telluride’s community radio station, KOTO.

2004 – present:  Watershed Education Program

2005:  Black Bear Awareness Week

2006:  Centre for the Future established in Slavonice, Czech.

2006 – present:  Mushroom Festivals.

2011:  Atlas of the San Miguel exhibition and photo competition.

2011 – 2013:  Compassion Festivals

2014: Launch of Talking Gourds, the poetry project of the Telluride Institute.

2015:  Launch of the Valley Floor Living Classroom (building on the significant legacy of BVLC–Bridal Valley Living Classroom).

2015:  TIES (Telluride Institute Environmental Studies) established as umbrella for all environmental programming including WEP, VFLC, SCAPE, and Mushroom.

2016:  Housing Our Community.  New Ideas Fest returns to theme explored in 1989 and 2000.

2017:  Launch of the new Clute_Science_Fiction Library based on the collection of long-time TI supporter,  John Clute.