Wow, suddenly August is here, and the Aspen summer has been filled already with its signature exhilarating outdoor sports and activities, delectable food and wine festivals, stimulating science, political and sociological lectures and uplifting music festival concerts. Perhaps a bit lessor known is that summer in Aspen is also a fantastic time to appreciate fine art while surrounded by abundant natural beauty as well.
From acclaimed upscale commercial galleries, an outstanding art museum, and a new wave of contemporary street art, to engaging exhibits by talented local and regional artists hosted by various public galleries in the area, the opportunities to enjoy Aspen art abound.
Here are a few suggestions for exploring Aspen art while you are in town:
Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum moved to its new downtown location in August, 2014. The museum is a non-collecting contemporary art museum that presents international contemporary art through exhibitions, education, programs, and community activities.
“Spirit Photography”: This exhibit consists of images of the occult and the paranormal produced from the 1830’s to the late 1970’s, and it explores the appearance and evolution of the genre as an historical and cultural movement throughout this time period.
“Chris Ofili: Night and Day”: Comprised of five galleries located on three levels of the museum, this exhibit features vibrant paintings, drawings and sculptures that juxtapose figuration and abstraction, and the sacred and the profane.
“Stories We Tell Ourselves”: This exhibit, which is spread out around various locations throughout the museum, explores the relationship between language and art, featuring works by artists who use language as a medium. The exhibition in its entirety seeks to illuminate “…the role that storytelling plays within our sense of place…”
“Music with a View”: Not actually an exhibit, this program features free chamber music provided in collaboration the Aspen Music Festival and School in the museum’s Roof Deck Sculpture Garden.
In addition to offering affordable art programs for children and adults, this Aspen art center supports the art community by featuring monthly and biennial gallery exhibits by local artists and an annual “Plein Air Festival” which celebrates artists who paint outdoors (fr. En plein air) with their subject in full view. This festival showcases some of the best Plein Air artists in town, the Roaring Fork Valley and the state of Colorado.
The upcoming exhibition, “Breaking Boundaries”, features pieces from well-known area artists working with mediums they normally don’t use, or doing something stylistically that is different from what they are normally accustomed to doing.
Aspen Chapel Gallery
The gallery at the Aspen Chapel features the works of talented Roaring Fork Valley artists. The works reflect a wide variety of artistic mediums and are displayed during nine unique exhibitions annually.
The current exhibit at the Chapel Gallery showcases the works of Carbondale, Colorado photographer, Summers Moore.
The new Chabad Jewish Community center, which opened in August, 2014, has among its missions a desire to be creative center for local and emerging artists, and it seeks to provide community outreach through the arts.
The art gallery will be featuring an exhibition of mixed media works by Marc Bennett, whose career has been filled with “…creating powerful images and stories in print and on film…”. The exhibit runs from August 4th until October 10th.
Artistic advertisements have graced the sides of several commercial buildings in Aspen since the early days, but in modern times the town has not encouraged, allowed or embraced urban style street art within the city limits – until now.
Local entrepreneur, Reuben Sadowsky of Gravity Productions, received permission from the city’s Historic Preservation Office and Crystal Palace building owner, Mark Hunt, to engage Venice, California, street artist, Christina Angelina, to create a large piece to adorn the venerable building.
Angelina’s creation, which depicts the face of an attractive dark-haired woman looking down, hangs on the west-facing wall of the structure, just above an historic old Aspen Commission Co. and Owl Cigar advertisement. Be on the lookout for more in the near future!
Aspen Art Galleries
We mentioned upscale commercial art galleries earlier, and the town currently boasts a whopping number of them. Cruise the downtown pedestrian mall and nearby, and you will find one or two on every block – too many to go into a lot of detail here. You can find a comprehensive list of them at aspenchamber.org.
So, what’s so artsy about Aspen? Just take a little walk about town and you will find out. We are sure you will find something that strikes your artistic fancy. For more ideas on how to spend your time while you are here, please visit our Activities page on this website.