The Art of Giving: Tips and picks for local art shoppers this holiday season |

The Art of Giving: Tips and picks for local art shoppers this holiday season

Andrew Travers

Shopping local is more impactful than ever this holiday season, as nearly every sector of the economy was smothered by the pandemic and public health closures. So any way you can support locals this giving season is a good way.

One of my favorites is to buy and give local art, which gives me a chance to dig into the work of Aspen-area artists I might not know yet, and often allows me to support both an artist and a gallery or shop. Below I’ve made some suggestions based on what I’ve found so far this 2020 giving season.

The game-changer on the gift-hunting front will be the Aspen Art Museum’s new shop concept, set to debut in early December, curated and designed by artist Jonathan Berger, as well as its Winterfest craft show opening Dec. 17. I’m expecting some new discoveries there.

And I’d be remiss if I left out Carl’s Pharmacy, Aspen’s one-stop shop for everything, where the upstairs includes Aspen-centric crafts, clothes and tchotchkes from local makers.

Pick up The Aspen Times Art in Aspen magazine, on newsstands Dec. 21, for a comprehensive guide to the best of local galleries and what’s on the walls this winter.


Carpenter makes gorgeous hand-printed wood cuts on Japanese paper, depicting local scenes of rivers, mountains, wildlife and snow. A selection of 6-by-6 inch pieces is included in the Aspen Chapel Gallery’s annual “Small Wonders” exhibition, itself a treasure trove of potential gifts by local artists.


Were you among the crowd swept up by David Byrne at Aspen Film’s drive-in screening of “David Byrne’s American Utopia?” You can join the proverbial band by buying merch to support Byrne’s solutions-based magazine “Reasons to Be Cheerful” and its “We Are Not Divided” project. His art is on T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, water bottles and such.


The photographer turned to painting during the spring quarantine and has since set up shop as a Red Brick Center resident artist, creating vivid and stylized oil-on-canvas pieces depicting autumn in Aspen among other scenes. Her work is up at the Red Brick’s ongoing Resident Artist Exhibition and online at

GRAY MALIN IN ASPEN, $300 and up

Running from relatively affordable to fine art pricing for limited-edition prints, the famed photographer’s throwback Aspen series is an instant classic. Stocking stuffers and more affordable items, like the Gray Malin ski candle, are available under $50. Available at the Aspen Shop and the Boutique at the Little Nell.


It’s a popular idea because it’s a great idea: Harmony Scott’s beloved aspen leaf designs, ranging from stocking stuffer-ready pendants to more elaborate necklaces and earrings. Browse at Harmony Scott Jewelry Design in Carbondale and at the Golden Bough in Aspen.

LILY B CARDS, $30/set

My go-to gift for the hard-to-shop-for person on my list, Lily B notecards are hyperlocal, original and useful. Lily makes artful depictions of the Silver Queen Gondola and Aspen scenes in all seasons. Available at the Aspen Emporium and Flying Circus and, where you can also learn more about this talented young artist and her journey living with cystic fibrosis.

VALLEY FINE ART, prices vary

The downtown gallery has a trove of classic images by the groundbreaking western photographer Edward S. Curtis, as well as antique Aspen maps and mining claims. I’ve found some of the most meaningful gifts here, discovering historic photos with personal connections.


Straightline Studio in Snowmass Base Village has built a virtual showroom for its stable of cutting edge local artists like Chris Erickson and Teal Wilson at In Basalt, Ann Korologos Gallery this week unveiled a behind-the-scenes video of Paula Schuette Kraemer making the gallery’s latest print “Hell” ($2,300) at

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