Proceeds from Art Collection Sale Donated to Telluride Medical Center Foundation

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This week the Telluride Medical Center Foundation announced a significant donation from Ellen Price made possible by the sale of her family’s Southwestern and Native American art collection. 

The sizeable gift of $300,000 will be used to fund educational programs for staff, new equipment or to help build a new facility. 

Ellen and Joe Price had long planned to one day give back to the Telluride community. Though, in fact, giving was a ritual part of their lives here. 

In the years preceding his death, Ellen Price said her husband grew fond of the doctors and the care he received at the Telluride Medical Center, especially his primary care provider, Dr. Sharon Grundy. 

Ellen and Joe Price first came to Telluride in 1987 for a ski weekend. And as so often happens, they fell immediately in love with the area. They moved quickly to purchase their property in Illium, “complete with the original Telluride school house and its ‘his and her’ outhouses,” said Ellen Price. 

For the next seven years the Price’s camped on their land in the summer and stayed at various in-town facilities during winter vacations. Joe Price’s self-designed house was completed in time for 1994’s 4th of July celebration. 

Over the next 25 years, the couple spent up to nine months each year in their Illium home, growing increasingly involved within the community.  

Joe Price was active in Rotary (a Paul Harris Fellow), the Elks and Christ Presbyterian Church. With her partner, Budd Andrews, Ellen Price developed the Christ Church Community Gardens.

According to Ellen Price, throughout their lives in Telluride, they entertained hundreds of friends and houseguests and made multiple visits to the Telluride Medical Center. 

In the early days, many of those visits were ski and hiking injury related. Others were nothing short of legendary. 

“On one occasion, in the early 90’s, when our friend, a graduate professor from Michigan experienced altitude sickness symptoms, we brought her to the clinic to find the entire emergency team tending to a mountain lion with an ingrown toenail,” said Ellen Price. 

This story, according to Dr. Diana Koelliker, Emergency Medical Director, can neither be confirmed or denied, but Dr. Koelliker cautions, the Telluride Medical Center, at present, does not accept any animals for care, under any circumstances. 

As time went on, Joe Price experienced serious health issues that required frequent medical intervention. 

“Joe loved Telluride and our life here beyond all else, but we could not have continued to be here without Dr. Sharon Grundy and the ever-caring staff at the medical center,” said Ellen Price. 

Joe Price died seven years ago of complications from dementia, but not before he and Ellen Price had agreed that whomever survived the other would “give back” to their beloved community by supporting the medical center “which is its greatest resource,” said Ellen Price. 

A storied collection

Soon after their arrival to Telluride, the Price’s started collecting Native American Art, a hobby that brought them years of joy and adventures throughout the Southwest. 

Their collection, which Ellen Price had appraised by Michael Ettema of Art Appraisals of Santa Fe, includes Navajo carving and weaving and sculpture, over 100 signed Hopi kachinas, beaded clothing, paintings, pottery and a large collection of clay Native American sculptures called “storytellers.”

Now at 82, and after “32 glorious years” here, Ellen Price has sold their home and the art collection and has indeed given back with this donation to the Telluride Medical Center Foundation.

“We’re extremely grateful and humbled by such a gift made directly to our foundation. Planned giving like this is vital to our organization who very much depend on support from the community and grateful patients,” said Wadley.