The Sheldon Community Arts Hangar
The Sheldon Community Arts Hangar serves as our cultural epicenter for art and community. This distinctive and charming building is a renovated historical airplane hangar located in downtown Talkeetna, Alaska. When not being utilized for art-based programs and events, this uniquely beautiful facility is available for private rentals.
The Sheldon Community Arts Hangar has a fascinating history. In 1952, Talkeetna pilot Don Sheldon salvaged trusses and metal siding from the decommissioned Curry Roundhouse in Curry, Alaska, located 22 miles north of Talkeetna. He used these materials to construct a red hangar at the end of the village airstrip. The building was completed in January 1952, and its inauguration was celebrated with a boisterous dance party that went on until (according to the Anchorage Times) the accordion player fell off the stage!
In 1982, the Denali Arts Council sought a building in Talkeetna to convert into a theater and community center. They approached Roberta Sheldon, the widow of Don Sheldon, who eventually sold the red hangar to them for just one dollar.
Initially, the old red hangar had a dirt floor and required substantial renovation to become what it is today. After years of fundraising efforts, the renovation began in 1998, with a significant grant from the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development. The red hangar was temporarily moved from its original location while a first-story floor was constructed. Once completed, the original red hangar was raised and secured on top of the newly finished first floor. Over time, as additional funding became available, indoor renovation work continued, leading to the establishment of the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. In January 2002, the Denali Arts Council celebrated their official move-in with a masquerade ball (sans accordion players).
Numerous volunteers and donors contributed to the success of the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. Notable figures in this journey include Joe Page, one of the founders of the Denali Arts Council, who served as the catalyst and primary fundraiser for the project. Roberta Sheldon’s passion for the arts and her generous donation of the red hangar were pivotal. Arthur Mannix, a local, played a central role as the primary designer and builder of the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. Mark Wildermuth and Joe Page acted as project managers during the hangar’s multi-year renovation phase. Murray Nash, a local surveyor, generously donated his services. Dick Holt expertly moved and repositioned the red hangar. Emmila Spires, founder of the Denali Arts Council, provided unwavering support as the project’s cheerleader. Kate McKelvey, the Denali Arts Council’s first manager, played a vital role in building community support and funding for the project. Major funding for the project came from the Rasmuson Foundation, the State of Alaska, and the Denali Commission.
The Sheldon Community Arts Hangar beckons you to immerse yourself in a world of culture, art, and community. As stewards of artistic expression, the Denali Arts Council has lovingly transformed this historical airplane hangar into a magnificent haven, nestled in the heart of downtown Talkeetna. The Hangar, a unique and resplendent venue, serves as a versatile canvas for art-based performances, workshops, youth camps, and events.
Our commitment to fostering creativity means that the Denali Arts Council’s rich tapestry of programs and events takes precedence within our cherished space. However, during moments of inactivity, the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar opens its welcoming doors for special occasions and gatherings. We have hosted a multitude of weddings and private events over the years, and these gatherings play a vital role in sustaining and supporting the Denali Arts Council. They enable us to offer art-based events and programs at affordable or no cost to our beloved community throughout the year.
Step into the open expanse of the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar’s first floor, a magnificent 48′ by 40′ canvas awaiting your creative aspirations. Upstairs, the balcony’s 48 theater-style seats offer unobstructed views of the events below. Along the balcony’s eastern wall, you’ll discover the original works of renowned Talkeetna artists, increasing the hall’s historical charm. Adding to the allure of our venue, the 20-foot hangar door can be opened during the summer, seamlessly blending the indoor and outdoor, creating a charming and welcoming space. The Hangar’s exquisite indoor renovation showcases the craftsmanship of skilled artisans who have woven their artistry into the solid wood frame, beams, and balcony railings. Subtle yet tasteful historical airplane relics decorate the inside of the building, a testament to its fascinating past. The North Wall Gallery often hosts vibrant local artwork, adding an extra layer of vibrancy to the Hangar’s unique ambiance. The Sheldon Community Arts Hangar is also equipped with state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment.
We extend a warm invitation to visitors during our office hours, where you can take a self-guided journey through the facility, enjoying its unique and timeless beauty. Come, be inspired, and let the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar’s enchanting atmosphere become the backdrop to your artistic and communal aspirations.
Sheldon Community Arts Hangar
Downtown Talkeetna, behind the Post Office
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
11:00 am to 3:00 pm
DAC is a non profit 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization: EIN 92-0083375
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