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Once missing San Luis Valley treasures now on display at Arvada Center

Folk art unique to Colorado's San Luis Valley on display at Arvada Center
Folk art unique to Colorado's San Luis Valley on display at Arvada Center 02:03

Tucked away in storage for decades, some cultural treasures are on display again at the Arvada Center.

They represent a folk art that is unique to Colorado's San Luis Valley.

With a single needle and thread, generations of artists have depicted on canvas elaborate landscapes and colorful community stories worth preserving.

The exhibit "Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley" is also part of an effort to correct what many consider an injustice.


Nine embroideries remained in storage at the Arvada Center for 40 years.

They were purchased by the city of Arvada from a foundation back then.

"Opening the box and unrolling all the colchas that was one of the happiest days of my life," said colcha artist and educator Trent Segura.

Adrienne Garbini, The Range

Segura's great aunt Tiva Trujillo created a colcha which maps landmarks of the San Luis Valley.

"When I found my great aunt Tia Tiva's colcha embroidery of the San Luis Valley, it felt like she made it just for me even though I was born eight years after she passed," said Segura.

The Arvada Center says when it first displayed these colcha artworks in 1982, they did not receive documentation that the artists were ever paid for their work.  And the artists were not informed the work had ended up here in the metro area.

"A lot of times those women were not compensated fairly," said Segura. "They had a lot of artwork that they never saw again and they never knew what happened to it."

Linked here are some of the lost works which may have ended up in people's homes - buyers maybe unaware how sorely they're missed.  If you have any leads or questions, you can email

This colcha called "The Ranch" by Delores Worley is one of the missing pieces. Adrienne Garbini, The Range

Segura said, "We're trying to figure out what happened to all that artwork, where it is, and hopefully to return it to the women of the Valley."

Folk art that was borne to create a sense of home on harsh frontiers, preserving memories for future generations.

"I love that they tell a story," added Segura.

The Arvada Center said in a statement:

"The City of Arvada and the Arvada Center hope to offer healing and restoration to this community through the return of these artworks to the artists and families of the artists that made them after the conclusion of "Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley"

You can see the colcha embroidery at the Arvada Center through November 12th.

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