Tesoro Cultural Center
The Tesoro Cultural Center (Tesoro means “Treasure” in Spanish) is committed to protecting and making available to the community the artistic treasures of our American past. All Tesoro events are inspired by Colorado’s rich history and shared experiences with Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American and Early European cultures. From art and cuisine to historical re-enactments and music, the Tesoro Foundation’s mission is to create community based events and educational outreach programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage.
Tesoro Cultural Center’s History
The Tesoro Foundation, now doing business as the Tesoro Cultural Center™, was founded by the late historian, Samuel Paul Arnold, current Executive Director, Holly Arnold Kinney, and the late Dr. Mary Fox Arnold, patroness of the arts and educational organizations. The primary mission is to educate the public about 19th century Southwestern history with a focus on the many cultures that make up the Southwest’s rich cultural art and history. Tesoro Cultural Center is a membership based cultural institution with government, corporate and individual donors. Recently, in May 2010, The Tesoro Cultural Center received a new IRS Letter of Determination having met the 60 month public support test. The Tesoro Cultural Center is now designated by the IRS as a full public 501 c 3 non-profit organization.
Tesoro Cultural Center is located at The National Historic landmark called “The Fort” just south of Morrison, Colorado. It is the first authentic replica of Bent’s Old Fort, originally located near La Junta Colorado. Bent’s Old Fort was a strategic, private international trading fort located on the Arkansas River, which in the 1830s was the border between US Territory and Old Mexico. Bent’s Old Fort operated from 1833 until 1849 and was an edifice that was strategically important in the opening of the American Southwest under then President Polk. Using Bent’s Old Fort as a model to showcase the many cultures that lived, traded and passed through Bent’s Old Fort , including many Indian tribes, the Spanish, French, American trappers and traders, Freedmen and slaves, provides a wonderful opportunity to teach cultural history, tolerance, economics, and understanding the many different perspectives on historical events.
In 2009, George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, donated his time to be a facilitator to assist the Tesoro Board of Directors and advisory Board to develop and adopt a Strategic Plan, to strengthen the organization. Today, we have expanded our Board to include eight members, and have quarterly Board meetings. In 2010, the Board adopted an extensive Conflict of Interest Policy and each Board member has filled out and fully disclosed any potential conflict of Interest. Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors presently serving on the Advisory Committee. The Board of Directors applauds his leadership on guiding the organization on best practices.