An opportunity for art in Aspen |

An opportunity for art in Aspen

Dear Editor:Aspen Times columnists Andy Stone and John Colson have raised issues regarding the proposed new Aspen Art Museum that warrant a response.I acknowledge that there are some individuals living in this valley who have never entered the current art museum and who do not have an interest in contemporary art. I respect their right to have an interest in whatever is meaningful to them in enjoying the Aspen experience.Many of us, however, do have an interest in contemporary art and appreciate that in the global world we live in thousands of visitors and residents who enjoy Aspen (24,000 of them who entered the doors of the current facility this past year) would appreciate the opportunity to view art in a magnificent, human scale new art museum.Although the national and international economic picture is currently bleak there is reason to believe that change for the better is going to unfold within the next couple of years. Planning a new museum that will have to go through an exhaustive review at both the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council will provide the community ample opportunity to voice any and all concerns and ensure that issues of importance to the community will be addressed satisfactorily.The world does not stand still and change is a healthy phenomenon if it is constructive change and I believe the exciting new museum will offer that kind of change.Aspen has evolved to offer the best in music in an outstanding, newly designed tent and Harris Hall as well as providing jazz offerings in summer and fall, a local dance company receiving rave reviews internationally, a revitalized Wheeler Opera House program and the stimulating, educational and enlightening, vibrant dialogue offered by the Aspen Institute. One more wonderful leg of Aspens cultural table will be provided by the significant new spaces to view the best in current art in an outstanding architectural building sensitive to its environment.Voting yes to allow the city of Aspen to negotiate the sale of publicly zoned city owned property identified by the ZG master plan studies in hundreds of hours of dialogue as the logical and preferred site for a new museum will enable a thorough examination of all the issues surrounding the design and community needs.Opportunities for enhancing Aspen by providing another venue for the arts at no expense to the taxpayer in an easily accessed location is something that deserves a positive response. The vitality of the arts has helped ensure the viability of stores, restaurants and lodging as well as local newspapers and magazines. Hanging on to 70s nostalgia serves no useful purpose in 2009. The profile of Aspen has graduated into the cosmopolitan city we live in.Replacing the former youth center with an exceptional new museum is a win-win step for Aspen and I encourage the public to take advantage of this great opportunity to expand, provoke and expose the minds of those fortunate to live in or visit Aspen in a new museum in the downtown core.Vote yes to authorize the city to negotiate the sale of the former youth center based on an objective appraisal performed by recognized, fully accredited appraisers so we can begin the land use application process with the city of Aspen.Marc FriedbergAspen

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