Artists from around the nation to converge on Aspen this weekend |

Artists from around the nation to converge on Aspen this weekend

Almost 200 exhibitors from all over the country will bring their art to Wagner Park this weekend for the first Aspen Arts Festival.

The park will be filled with small tents for each artist to display their wares, from jewelry to pottery, sculpture to paintings and prints. The organizer of the event, Howard Alan Events of Plantation, Fla., has coordinated a similar arts fair in Beaver Creek for the past six years.

“Aspen has a wonderful, esthetically beautiful downtown with a great art-buying population,” said the company’s president, Howard Alan. “We hunt the country for really unique, upscale downtowns like Aspen’s.”

The Aspen Arts Festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and there is no admission fee.

The group recently completed its 13th annual arts festival on N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, which an estimated 200,000 people attended. The events company also coordinates festivals in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The event is a joint effort with the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, which hopes to attract visitors with several new special events this summer and fall – especially visitors from the Front Range who can drive up to Aspen for the weekend.

Alan said there are artists from 35 states coming to this weekend’s festival – loading their art into motor homes, trucks and vans in order to be in Wagner Park this weekend to talk face to face with visitors and locals. He said this weekend there will be everything from $30 earrings for sale to bronze sculptures with $50,000 price tags.

“It’s an opportunity to create an affordable open-air gallery, but here you get to meet the artists that created each masterpiece,” he said. “We would like to make this an annual event.”

The company has used national and statewide promotions, getting the word out about the new event to the “art show junkies” that Alan says typically travel specifically to see art shows.

“These are often high-income people who love to shop and love art shows,” he said. “The come to town and have dinner out, and fill hotel rooms, so it should be great for business.”

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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