Museum a great community resource
September 9, 2008
As a longtime Aspen resident and long-time employee of the Aspen Art Museum, I want to respond to Susan O’Neal’s letter in Monday’s Aspen Times (Sept. 8).
Ms. O’Neal’s contention that the art museum is “unused” and of “negligible value” to Aspen is simply not true. I believe that our 900 members would disagree with her. As would the 1,000 Fourth of July picnic participants, 900 Summer of Free Art party-goers and more than 23,000 visitors to the museum since last October. I’m sure that the international artists, curators, gallery owners, collectors, writers, musicians, performers, film devotees, poets, students, teachers, museum directors, and other cultural enthusiasts and partners from around the world that come to visit the museum would scarcely characterize Susan’s assessment as a fair one. I would guess that she is unaware of this usage as she herself has never visited this community resource.
As a member of this community it is difficult to understand why anyone would pit two nonprofit, community-based organizations against each other (The Aspen Art Museum “versus” the Wheeler Opera House). Our intentions are only to find ways of making Aspen a better place to be/live/visit. Ms. O’Neal’s viewpoint is divisive and makes it appear as if the issues surrounding each project are linked. They are not, and to suggest they are is fair to no one. The Wheeler and the AAM are united in our shared mission to bring culture and entertainment to this community; we are not locked in a winner-take-all cultural struggle. We applaud the efforts of the Wheeler to increase their impact on the community and know they feel the same of ours.
Finally, I want to assure the community that the Aspen Art Museum understands and respects the process we have been included in as a member of the ZG Master Plan.
We have made no assumption as to where this process will lead. Much like our friends at the Wheeler we are simply seeking approval to continue planning; asking for no money, or permission to dig.
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I welcome Ms. O’Neal to visit us any Tuesday through Sunday. She will discover that admission is free and the experience is priceless. She will also join the 23,000 other individuals that shared the Aspen Art Museum as a community resource this year alone.