Friday, June 14

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Meet your Representatives: Stephen Hume

About 38 years ago, Crestone town trustee Stephen Hume was living as an artist-in-residence at Lindisfarne, an interfaith sanctuary built into the Sangre de Cristo hillside in 1979.

A couple of months after he began his residency, Lindisfarne was transferred to the ownership of the Crestone Mountain Zen Center and Hume was invited to stay on for another year — practicing Zen Buddhism and gradually realizing that the San Luis Valley was a place he wished to call home.

“While I was a resident there, I found a piece of property on the eastern edge of the town of Crestone,” he said. “After leaving the Zen Center I would return to Crestone monthly for the next couple of decades and camp on the property for long weekends and eventually, about 19 years ago, I built a studio with my partner Amy Laugesen.”

“My time at the Zen Center was an important pivotal point in my professional career. Prior to the Zen residency, I was a mural painter and scenic artist, including work on the TV series Perry Mason which they filmed in Denver at that time instead Los Angeles. My ambitions were shifting towards working in video/film production and eventually, I established my own company, BlueStone Productions,” he said.

After 35 years in video production, Hume went into quasi-retirement and broke ground in early 2019 when he and his wife began construction on their off-grid home.

Steven and wife, Amy. photo courtesy Steven Hume

During this time, there was a vacancy on the town board and Hume was asked if he would be interested in filling that vacancy, which he agreed to. The following year, Crestone had an election resulting in his first full term.

“The topic that interested me most was resiliency. How do we make the town of Crestone more self-sustaining and insulated from the unwanted pressures of the bigger world?” he asked. “I came on the board about the time COVID hit and the pandemic was rather disruptive, even for the bigger issues the community faced like water, security, wildfire protection, and readiness,” he said.

While those interests remain on his plate, Hume has shifted his attention to helping get the little problems resolved. “That being said, right now we’re working through a very tough issue, balancing a town budget without alienating or placing too much stress on the residents,” he said.

While he enjoys serving the community, Hume finds parts of the job challenging — especially conflict with residents who don’t always agree with decisions made. At a recent public meeting, he recalls, the board had to endure some ugly name calling by a disgruntled resident. “We’re seven elected trustees who are learning the job while doing the job. We receive $3 a day for the honor and privilege of serving this beautiful and eccentric community,” he says. “However, there are also town citizens who are selfless with their time and ideas, and who are willing to work constructively with the town board and this is what gives me hope,” he says.

Steven working on a building-sized mural. photos courtesy Steven Hume

To decompress, Hume spends his time working on his photography, specifically a project he calls, the ‘101 Moods of A Mountain’- Portraits of Kit Carson. He’s currently on portrait #38 and anticipates the project will take him another 18 to 24 months to complete.

“I have a clear view of Kit Carson from our upper deck and most days we’re ‘watching’ one another, and it feels like a collaboration, the mountain sitting up there like a colossal stone Buddha, practicing stillness no matter what the weather delivers,” he says.

“Personally, sitting on the town board has become a kind of practice on how to sit quietly when there’s a tempest brewing. We can’t avoid the fact that our little town is a microcosm of what’s happening on a larger national and worldwide scale, meaning things are tough right now and the challenges are big.”

But Crestone is our home and I like to think of our little town as a sanctuary from the pressures of the bigger world.

The Board of Trustees will hold their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 8 from 9:30 am – 4 pm via Zoom. These meetings are open to the public.

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