The Tesoro Cultural Center (Tesoro means "Treasure" in Spanish) is committed to protecting and making available to the community the artistic treasures of our American past. All Tesoro events are inspired by Colorado’s rich history and shared experiences with Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American and Early European cultures. From art and cuisine to historical re-enactments and music, the Tesoro Foundation’s mission is to create community based events and educational outreach programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage.

The Tesoro Cultural Center was created in December 1999 and is a Colorado non-profit corporation organized under the Colorado Non-Profit Corporation Act and has received tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Code.

The Tesoro Cultural Center received its first Letter of Determination in August 2001. In May 2010, Tesoro met the 60-month support test and is now designated by the IRS as a full public  501 c 3 non-profit organization. Tesoro Cultural Center is a membership based cultural institution with government, corporate and individual donors.  Proceeds from all Tesoro sponsored events will benefit the Center.  To see the IRS letter of determination, click here.

Proceeds from all Tesoro Cultural Center sponsored events will benefit the Center.

Tesoro Cultural Center's History

The Tesoro Foundation, now doing business as the Tesoro Cultural Center tm, was founded by the late historian, Samuel Paul Arnold, current Executive Director, Holly Arnold Kinney, and the late Dr.  Mary Fox Arnold, patroness of the arts and educational organizations. The primary mission is to educate the public about 19th century Southwestern history with a focus on the many cultures that make up the Southwest’s rich cultural art and history. Tesoro Cultural Center is a membership based cultural institution with government, corporate and individual donors. Recently, in May 2010, The Tesoro Cultural Center received a new IRS Letter of Determination having met the 60 month public support test. The Tesoro Cultural Center is now designated by the IRS as a full public 501 c 3 non-profit organization.

Tesoro Cultural Center  is located at The National Historic landmark called “The Fort” just south of Morrison, Colorado. It is the first authentic replica of Bent’s Old Fort, originally located near La Junta Colorado. Bent’s Old Fort was a strategic, private international trading fort located on the Arkansas River, which in the 1830s was the border between US Territory and Old Mexico. Bent’s Old Fort operated from 1833 until 1849 and was an edifice that was strategically important in the opening of the American Southwest under then President Polk. Using Bent’s Old Fort as a model to showcase the many cultures that lived, traded and passed through Bent’s Old Fort , including many Indian tribes, the Spanish, French, American trappers and traders, Freedmen and slaves,  provides a wonderful opportunity to teach cultural history, tolerance, economics, and understanding the many different perspectives on historical events.

In 2009, George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, donated his time to be a facilitator to assist the Tesoro Board of Directors and advisory Board to develop and adopt a Strategic Plan, to strengthen the organization. Today, we have expanded our Board to include eight members, and have quarterly Board meetings. In 2010, the Board adopted an extensive Conflict of Interest Policy and each Board member has filled out and fully disclosed any potential conflict of Interest. Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors presently serving on the Advisory Committee. The Board of Directors applauds his leadership on guiding the organization on best practices.



Meet Our Board of Directors

Jeremy F. Kinney
Chairman of the Board
Kinney Oil Company
Holly Arnold Kinney
Executive Director
The Fort Restaurant
Charlotte F. Baron
Fulcrum Publishing
Debbie Emhoolah (Kiowa)
Native American Bank
R. James Newman
Finance Director
Private Investor
Harry Sterling
Governance Chair
Dr. Jay Gitlin
Yale University
Karen Wilde (Muscogee & Pawnee)
National Park Service

Advisory Board

Ann Allott
Allott Immigration Law Firm

Donald Brehm
Historian & Interpreter

Mario Carrera
Entravision Communications

Dr. Charlie Carrillo
Artist, Anthropologist, Author

Barbara Bustillos Cogswell
Sky Ute Casino Resort

Noel Congdon

Pat Cortez
Wells Fargo

John Emhoolah
Adams 12 Five-Star Schools

William W. Gwaltney
Historian and Interpreter

Ernest House, Jr.
Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs

Karen Leaffer
Karen Leaffer Law, LLC

Patricia Limerick
Center of the American West

Ester Luben

Dr. Tom Noel
University of Colorado

Pam Phillips
Council for Indigenous Arts & Culture

Don Ragona
Native American Rights Fund

Dr. Charles Scoggin
N3O Pharmaceuticals

George Sparks
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Lorenzo Trujillo

Lynne Valencia
Vice President Community Relations - 9 News


Honorary Founding Directors

Dr. Samuel P. Arnold
June 28, 1926 - June 7, 2006

Dr. Mary Fox Arnold
June 25, 1925 - October 30, 2005

Tesoro Cultural Center's bylaws, articles of incorporation, tax returns, non-profit 501(c)(3) documentation,
and Board meeting minutes are available for public inspection during regular business hours by visiting the
Tesoro Cultural Center office at 19192 Hwy 8, Morrison, CO 80465