ACRA mulls an Aspen Institute partnership for special events |

ACRA mulls an Aspen Institute partnership for special events

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association is looking into a partnership with The Aspen Institute to produce and promote special events.

The partnership could be a replacement for ACRA’s grant application process, which during this inaugural year didn’t bring in as many special events as the chamber anticipated, said chamber president Hana Pevny.

Board members at Tuesday’s meeting voiced their opinions about the proposed partnership, which board president Rick Jones said is really just in the “mating dance” stages.

“Nothing is set in stone – there’s a lot of brainstorming going on right now,” he said.

Amy Margerum, the Institute’s executive vice president, told the Aspen City Council at a Sept. 9 work session that the Institute has been inundated with requests from groups interested in partnering on conference planning. The International Design Conference in Aspen, for example, has requested that the Institute either take over the IDC’s annual event or develop a consulting arm for partnership purposes, she said.

Margerum told the city that partnering to produce special events would need a three-year commitment from the city. The entities would share funds for putting events together, using the Institute’s experience and connections far and wide to get the word out about events.

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At Tuesday’s meeting, Jones said the proposed partnership is one new opportunity for ACRA to consider in promoting special events. Although he said ACRA isn’t trying to produce more special events, the chamber could be an effective marketer of the events, leading to the chamber’s goal of putting “heads in beds.”

Several board members expressed doubts about pursuing events for the community along with The Aspen Institute, but others said a partnership is just one way of “growing the pie” of money available for special events.

“There’s not enough money to do all the things we want to do, and partnerships are a good strategy,” said David Perry, Aspen Skiing Co. senior vice president and an ACRA board member. “Replacing the grant process with a partnership needs scrutiny, and we need strict criteria for partnerships.”

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