Pictured (L-R) are Danielle Lewon, Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger, Brendt Berger, Monica Birrer, Alys Romer, Margo Boodakian, Micah Porter, and Reba Lee Savageau smile as they are awarded a check for $199,667 for improvements to the Museum of Friends.

The Museum of Friends, a contemporary art museum in Walsenburg, recently celebrated the completion of two major projects with a ribbon cutting.

Danielle Lewon, of History Colorado, presented staff and volunteers a “big” check in the amount of $199,667 for a State Historic Fund grant to install an elevator and a new roof. The MOF also raised $66,000 to meet the required 25 percent grant match for the upgrades to the historic Roof and Dick Building, home to the museum.

The elevator makes accessible the second floor where 600 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and artifacts are displayed. Starting in 1959, numerous artists from Colorado, California, and New York gifted their creations to Brendt Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli.  

In 2006, inspired by the generosity of their artist friends, Berger and Cocchiarelli merged their collections to establish the museum. An unexpected treasure on the second floor is The Pacific Rim Room, open by appointment, with artifacts collected by Berger to represent his Hawaiian ancestry and the traditional and tourist art of Pacific Island nations.  

The museum also hosts changing art and history exhibits, workshops for children and youth, and community events on the ground floor. The Museum of Friends, located at 109 East Sixth Street, is open Tuesday-Sunday year-round. For more information, contact the museum at 719-738-2858.

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