Art and fashion celebrate 10 years of Windwalkers at Aspen benefit
The Aspen Times
If You Go …
What: Winter Fashion Show, benefitting Windwalkers
Where: Forre Fine Art
When: Saturday, Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Painter Ashley Collins makes massive paintings using imagery of horses to explore emotional and psychological pain. Her acclaimed works will serve, fittingly, as the backdrop for a fashion and art show today benefitting the local nonprofit Windwalkers, which utilizes horses for a similar purpose.
Marking its 10th year as a nonprofit in 2015, Windwalkers uses horses for assisted learning and therapy.
The benefit, at Forre Fine Art, also features the horse-themed talents of local maskmaker Launa Eddy, who is crafting oversized horses’ heads for male models to wear during the show.
Windwalkers programs include Challenge Aspen-styled equestrian camps with disabled children, as well as an expanding slate of offerings assisting people struggling with addiction, domestic abuse and – through local school counselors – both bullies and the bullied.
“I often say that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a bully in a school,” said Windwalkers executive director Gabrielle Greeves. “You can’t bully an 1,100-pound animal.”
Greeves said Windwalkers’ horse programs are also increasingly being harnessed to address the therapeutic needs of people with mental health issues in the valley.
Proceeds from the art and fashion benefit – which also features artwork by James Verbicky – will go toward caring for the nonprofit’s horses, who, Greeves noted, “literally carry all of our programming.”
Ten years in, the nonprofit is expanding its programming beyond the Roaring Fork Valley, Greeves said, as far out as Rifle and Parachute. With it’s unique mission, the nonprofit is still small – its annual budget is roughly $500,000, according to Greeves – but has grown steadily in its first decade.
“We’re kind of a sleeping giant,” Greeves said.
Models from Aspen-based Model Team are volunteering their talents for the event, and wearing clothing by fashion designer Suzi Johnson, of Souchi knitwear, who is making new designs for the fashion show, which also features clothes form Maison Ullens and other local clothiers.
Also pitching in from Aspen’s creative community for the event is the aptly named Mattias Horsman, bartender at the Chef’s Club, who has made a signature cocktail – “the Equestrian Prowess” – for the event.