Mancos Common Press Ventures into Affordable Housing

The Mancos Common Press began when 100 years of old newspapers were found in the historic Mancos Times-Tribune Building, along with an old Cranston printing press. The nonprofit renovated the building and revived the Cranston press to create a letterpress and printing studio. Now the organization is expanding its programming and providing much-needed housing for the Mancos community. You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Keesee Motors and the Lor Foundation. I’m Connor Shreve.

You know, letterpress is a huge thing right now throughout the world. People getting into letterpress printmaking again. So we got busy, formed a nonprofit, spent several years trying to get a grant from the history of Colorado, Colorado Historical Society, to restore the building, finally were successful, restored this building with in partnership with UPenn. And here we are and started growing our programs, and then we had the opportunity to purchase the adjacent lot that was owned by the Ballantine family that publishes “The Durango Herald” and the “Cortez Journal.” And they agreed to sell us that lot. They also donated this building and all of its contents to us because they were so supportive of our vision and the project.

The new Mancos Commons Building will open at the beginning of May. The 3,700-square foot space will provide a large, light-filled studio to expand the press. New printing presses, a darkroom, and lots of table space will allow for more classes and more artists to use the Mancos Common Press space. Upstairs, three one-bedroom apartments will provide affordable housing for people who currently live in Mancos.

There’s just so much great potential for this community just continuing to grow and evolve in a, I think, in a really sustainable way through arts and culture.

To fund the new Mancos Commons Building, Graham and the Mancos Common Press raised $2.5 million over the past few years. Funders included Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado Division of Housing, and El Pomar.

What Mancos Common Press is doing with not only reviving sort of a, you know, historic space, right, and a physical building in the downtown that is important to the heritage of the community, but also, the artistic and cultural life of the community, and you know, this idea of creating housing space where folks can afford to live and to be in the vibrant downtown. So you know, again, an example of an organization that is sort of bringing those different elements together: economic development, community life, and spaces to live. You know, a good, rounded vision, I think, that, again, we’re pleased to support in the Southwest.

Mancos Common Press has programs for artists of all ability levels, from card making classes to artist residencies. You can also become a member of the press club and use the studio space regularly after taking a letterpress 101 course.

So some of the goals for the Mancos Common Press are to really become even more of a center for the printmakers, arts, for the whole region and even nationally and to really be a place where the community feels welcome and at home, even if they’re not a printmaker. They can come and get involved.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the Mancos Common Press, you can find out more about classes and programming at They are also still trying to raise a bit more money for the Mancos Commons project. So if you would like to support art and local housing in Montezuma County, you can donate now on their website. There will also be a grand opening celebration sometime in late spring for the Mancos Commons. Learn more about this story and others at thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Connor Shreve.

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