It’s ‘Small Wonders’ season at the Aspen Chapel Gallery
IF YOU GO …
What: ‘Small Wonders’
Where: Aspen Chapel Gallery
When: Through Jan. 5
More info: The exhibition is hosted in partnership with the Holiday Baskets program, which supplies food and gifts for Roaring Fork Valley families in need; 970-925-7184
As the song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
“Small Wonders,” the annual art sale at the Aspen Chapel Gallery, is back for its 14th annual iteration. The budget-friendly, holiday-timed and hyper-local show is the official launch of Christmas shopping season in Aspen and remains one of the few places where you can buy affordable and original art here.
Curated by Ada Christensen, the 2019 edition includes work by 32 locally based artists. Among the works are Western scenes by painter Linda Loeschen, abstracts by Linda Loeschen, watercolors by Amy Beidelman and photographs by her mountaineer husband Neal Beidelman, handmade pottery by Bonds and clay sculpture by Molly Peacock.
No wonder it’s grown in popularity and stature over the years, as it’s not a cheap holiday season tchotchke and crafts show. Instead, it showcases the diverse creative output of valley artists and lets viewers bring some work home without breaking the bank.
It is the community art gallery’s most popular annual show, exhibiting and selling small works — none bigger than 12 inches-by-12 inches — from a select group of artists. Each artist makes at least eight works for the show and most sell out.
“‘Small Wonders’ definitely has an audience and it has all that history behind it,” said Michael Bonds, co-director of the Aspen Chapel Gallery. “People really look forward to it and plan for it.”
Bonds also is a resident artist at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen, which opened a cash-and-carry show in mid-November modeled after the success of “Small Wonders.” Showcasing resident artists’ work and selling it at reasonable prices, the Red Brick show opened Nov. 14 and will run through early January.
In the days leading up to “Small Wonders,” artists and curators put together a puzzle of hundreds of artworks to make the show a reality.
“We’re trying to put all the pieces and parts together for the 32 artists here, so it’s crazy but it’s good,” Bonds said the week before the show opened Nov. 20.
This year, “Small Wonders” is being produced in partnership with the Holiday Baskets program, another beloved Aspen holiday tradition.
For the past 35 years, the volunteer-run Holiday Baskets program has supplies food and gifts for some 250 Roaring Fork Valley families in need. It allows people to “adopt” families and provide the gifts they request for the holiday season. Visitors to “Small Wonders” can sign up to adopt a family right in the gallery.
And whether viewers are buying art or not, “Small Wonders” is a community happening that draws crowds of locals and tourists who can get a quick one-room tour of the newest — and always surprisingly diverse — creative life of Aspen.
“Please come and be amazed by the variety of art by these valley artists,” Christensen said.
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.