After four attempts, the Mancos Common Press has finally been awarded a grant to restore the building that houses its prized Cranston Press.
The $89,000 grant from the Colorado State Historical Society was awarded in August, Mancos Common Press board member Tami Graham said. After applying for the grant three times previously, the group almost gave up, but it was finally awarded, she said.
“It’s primarily being used for interior restoration of the building,” Graham said.
Money from the grant will be used to replace the tin ceiling of the building and restore its historical character, as well as install heating systems, Graham said. The group has already received bids for the work and hopes to complete that over the winter. Board member Betsy Harrison said some of the work will be done by local contractors, and some will be done by graduate students as training for restoration coursework.
Programming is scheduled to start next summer with classes and an artist-in-residence, Graham said. The goal is to become a fully-functional press shop. Harrison said the shop will have six letter presses, some of which have been donated by local people who love the art form.
The group also received an $11,000 donation from the Ballantine Family Fund to commission a mural on the side of the building. Painted by Mancos artist Brad Goodell, the mural depicts the Cranston Press and workers printing with it.
“We’re really excited about that,” Graham said.
The Cranston press is an 8-foot-tall metal behemoth capable of producing prints of up to 24-by-36 inches when restored. The press in Mancos is one of the few remaining presses of its kind in the nation, and has been in the building, which formerly housed the Mancos Times newspaper, since 1910. The Ballantine family, which owns The Journal, donated the building to the organization in 2014.
The group is excited about getting things going, Graham said.
“This is about getting the building back in working order so we can really start with programming,” she said.