Anderson Ranch Arts Center raises banner art in downtown Aspen
Seven new public artworks went up around downtown Aspen last week, each an original artwork on a 8-by-12-foot banner, created with funding from city grants and with creative juice from Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
The banner project follows Anderson Ranch’s ongoing summer-launched “Sculpturally Distanced” outdoor sculpture project on its Snowmass Village campus, another initiative aimed at presenting purposeful COVID-safe public art, as the pandemic drags on to the end of 2020.
The works were made mostly by Ranch staff artists and makers affiliated with the Ranch. They partnered with local organizations, seeking to start conversations about social issues and current events.
“This project seeks to unite the community in response to the social, cultural and economic upheavals that we continue to face as a result of COVID-19,” Elizabeth Ferrill, the Ranch’s director of painting, drawing and printmaking, said in an announcement. “We wish to amplify the creative dialog within the community through pop-up art installations, while drawing fresh attention to the various missions of these Roaring Fork Valley nonprofits and the artistic community of Anderson Ranch.”
They’ll be on view – in three prominent locations at construction sites Main Street And Hyman Ave – through most of the winter season.
The powerful visual statements include Ranch digital fabrication technician Leah Aegerter’s “Resilience,” made in partnership with the immigrant support nonprofit Valley Settlement, a multi-colored banner of the word in bubble letters with portraits of resilient people inside.
For Freedoms, the Washington, D.C.-based activist artist collective with a well-established Aspen presence, teamed with Christine Sun Kim for a black and white banner, reminiscent of the American flag, bearing the message “Words Shape Reality.”
Additional works on view include multimedia artist and Ranch donor Bunny Burson’s project with the Latino leadership group Voces Unidas, which uses a motif of speech bubbles. Ranch ceramics head Louise Derouille and sculpture studio coordinator Zakriya Rabani, with kids’ nonprofit YouthZone, made a banner that includes QR codes and the prompt “SCAN TO VIEW YOUTHZONE IN A NEW LIGHT,” while Ferrill and her studio coordinator Paul Keefe depict mentors in action in their painting made in partnership with the English tutoring group English in Action.
With the LGBTQ group Aspen Out, Ranch photography staffer Esther Macy Nooner made a banner depicting a rainbow trail leading up a mountain. And with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Ranch printmaker Brian Shure made a watercolor depicting farmers at work w with a wildfire in the background and the statement “regenerative agriculture is our future.”
Funding for the project came from the city’s Arts and Cultural Arts Recovery Grant Program, aiming to bolster nonprofits hard-hit by the pandemic-caused economic crisis. The Ranch received the maximum $30,000 grant. Recipients were asked to carry out an “activation” to engage the community safely.
“This is a creative partnership which lifts up the mission of these non-profits in our valley,” added Ferrill. “It’s been a meaningful experience and a wonderful way to connect with our collaborators.”
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