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.
The Tesoro Cultural Center was created in December 1999 and is a Colorado non-profit corporation organized under the Colorado Non-Profit Corporation Act and has received tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Code.
The Tesoro Cultural Center created in December 1999 received its first Letter of Determination in August 2001. In May 2010, Tesoro met the 60-month support test and is now designated by the IRS as a full public 501 c 3 non-profit organization. Tesoro Cultural Center is a membership based cultural institution with government, corporate and individual donors. Proceeds from all Tesoro sponsored events will benefit the Center. To see the IRS letter of determination, click here.
Proceeds from all Tesoro Cultural Center sponsored events will benefit the Center.
Tesoro Cultural Center's History
The Tesoro Foundation, now doing business as the Tesoro Cultural Center tm, was founded in 1999 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. The IRS gave Tesoro its first Letter of Determination in August 2001. 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 1830’s 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 nine members, and have quarterly Board meetings. In 2010, the Board adopted an extensive Conflicts of Interest Policy and each Board member has filled out and fully disclosed any potential conflict of Interest. Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors serves also as Chair of the governance committee, with attorney Karen Leaffer. The Board of Directors applauds their leadership on guiding the organization on best practices.