Wright Opera House

Ouray's Cultural Anchor

Ouray County has a rich, year-round cultural scene. Ouray’s ongoing calendar of events is sure to stimulate your mind, touch your heart and excite your senses. In addition to a wide variety of art galleries in Ouray and Ridgway, there are numerous art and craft shows, live performances, historic reenactments, concerts, and radio shows. In the summer you can catch festivals in the beautiful town parks and intimate performances at the Wright Opera House. For the love of art, many locals wear many hats to pull of productions and exhibitions, and community spirit abounds at local events.

wright opera house

The Wright Opera House was built in 1888 by Francis Carney, the builder of many of Ouray's more significant early structures, for Ed and George Wright, who made their fortune in local mines.

The Wright Opera House exists because Ed Wright and his wife, Letitia, believed that the populace of Ouray needed to be provided with cultural opportunities to offset the influence of the dance halls, saloons, gambling dens, and houses of ill repute. They wanted to create a decent establishment that would feature cultural and educational programs of high quality for the entertainment and enlightenment of the young people and adults within the community.

It wasn’t until the collapse of the mining era that the Wright Opera House came into its own as a cultural anchor. Musicians and performers were brought from Denver and other culturally-rich areas to perform through the mid-twentieth century.

Thanks to the efforts of a highly motivated and passionately committed group of local art patrons and volunteers, the Wright Opera House is once again the center of Ouray’s cultural landscape. The Friends of the Wright Opera House are a shining example of what can happen when a community identifies what is essential to its quality of life and goes after it. In four years of aggressive grant writing, fundraising, and community rallying, the Friends have successfully purchased the historic building and plan to renovate and expand it while maintaining its historic integrity. Their vision will convert this grand old lady into a vibrant, active, contemporary performance space for local and national events that still exudes all the comfort and history of the old opera house. In conjunction with local arts organizations like OCPAG, the Ouray County Players, and Weehawken Creative Arts they are programming the space with vibrant performances and are maintaining the cultural mission for Ouray set forth over a century ago by Ed and Letitia Wright.

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