Friday night the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont hosted a ribbon cutting celebration for its newly renovated upstairs studio, which had been unchanged for the past 30 years.
The project was led by Elliot Conlin, a Longmont High School senior and member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 64, who undertook the studio renovation as his Eagle Scout service project. The renovation was part of a project to earn an Eagle badge. To earn the badge, scouts had to demonstrate leadership and project management skills by taking responsibility for a significant accomplishment in the scout’s community.
The ceremony of Friday was done to honor Conlin and Troop 64 for the planning and revitalizing the space used as a classroom for art students and studio for local, independent artists, said Elaine Waterman, Firehouse Art Center executive director.
It’s a celebration for them, to cut the ribbon, open the door to classes and dedicate the name to the troop (Troop 64),” said Waterman, adding the space was formerly called Studio C.
“We wanted to have their name be a part of the new name of their studio,” she said. “Every great artist has to sign their artwork, so they used the space above the sink to sign with a permanent marker to say they were part of making the space.”
The planning of the project took a couple of months and three days of renovation, Waterman said, adding Conlin recruited his family and members of his troop to do the labor and raised over $1,300 through a GoFundMe campaign to purchase materials.
Some items for the renovation were also donated by local home building businesses, she said.
Conlin has been working his way up in the Boy Scouts of America for the past eight years and this project is the culmination of all the work he has put into earning his Eagle badge he said.
“Leadership is the biggest part of this. Throughout scouting, you learn how to become a leader. You start as a scout and look up to (the adults and leaders) and through those 8-10 years of scouting, you become the leader you looked up to when you were younger.” he said. “This is the big culmination of learning how to be a leader.”
For Conlin, his father, Scott Conlin, has served as one of his biggest inspirations, being an Eagle Scout himself and participating as a scoutmaster for Troop 64.
“Throughout my entire life I've seen (my dad) lead events, groups and other things,” he said. “Watching him work and be a leader inspired me to take this seriously and move towards that final step.”
Conlin’s project entailed identifying the service project, rallying up the support of 14 volunteers to get the work done and finding the resources needed to make it happen, he said, adding it has been no small task.
“It's not easy and I’m proud to see other people become Eagle Scouts because I know how hard they’ve had to work for this,” he said. “I'm excited to become an eagle scout because I've worked for the past (eight years) for this and I’m very excited.”
An important lesson for Conlin throughout the renovation process was to see people in the community jump at the chance to be of service, he said.
“There are always people who want to help. I saw that in my troop and in the Firehouse, it's amazing to see people who are ready to go and ready to help the community and volunteer for projects,” he said. “If you need people to volunteer, there will always be people who want to help.”
Conlin will be receiving his Eagle badge in the next couple of weeks.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for Studio 64 coincided with the opening of the newest exhibits at the Firehouse Art Center, including Scope of the Natural, an art installation featuring an artificial natural environment and Indoor Emergency, featuring an installation depicting the isolation the pandemic has brought on.
“We have a lot of artists and creatives in the community excited to see the space (Troop 64),” Waterman said. “We also have the exhibits opening and the public can come up and see the classroom and visit the exhibits.”