Aspen Thrift Shop’s annual art sale returns with “unusual, interesting, quirky” collection |

Aspen Thrift Shop’s annual art sale returns with “unusual, interesting, quirky” collection

Organizers sorting through two years’ worth of donated works for Saturday event

The Aspen Thrift Shop’s artwork is prepared for the art sale at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen on Thursday, July 22, 2021. The sale is a culmination of two years of artwork and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with a preview from 4-6 p.m. Friday. The sale has signed art and quirky finds, some of which will be sold in a silent auction. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Less than 48 hours before the Aspen Thrift Shop’s annual art sale, organizer Katherine Sand was still coming to terms with just how many posters, books, paintings and ephemera she had to sort through and price.

“I’m in denial, to be perfectly honest, because there’s so much. … I may have to lie down with cucumber slices on my eyes because there’s quite — there’s a lot, there’s a lot,” Sand said Thursday in a phone call.

Saturday’s art sale (and a Friday evening preview) at the Red Brick Center for the Arts will showcase “hundreds” of artworks donated to the thrift shop over the past two years. There was a backlog this year because the pandemic prompted a hiatus on the sale last summer; plus, donors have been calling “pretty much every day” to add to this year’s sale, Sand said.

There isn’t enough space at the three-floor downtown Aspen store to display all the art that the shop receives, so the nonprofit holds works in storage venues around town until the annual sale.

“It’s always a bit of a treasure hunt but this year is unbelievable because I’m pulling stuff out of storage that I haven’t seen for a very long time, so it’s quite exciting,” Sand said. “I think people are really going to be amazed.”

The selection this year includes signed works by Tom Benton, posters from the International Design Conference that date back to the 1970s, and a candle sconce from the 1962 Century 21 world’s fair.

“That’s what I like about our stuff: It’s not so collective because it’s incredibly valuable, it’s collectible because it’s unusual and interesting and quirky and will give people a lot of pleasure,” Sand said.

That’s not to say that the works for sale aren’t art-market valuable, though — items start at $10 or $20 but select pieces can sell for “thousands” in the silent auction portion of the sale, Sand said. Proceeds from the sale help fund the thrift shop’s grants to other nonprofits throughout the valley.

Prospective buyers can peruse the offerings (but will not be able to purchase or reserve items) at a preview from 4-6 p.m. Friday.

The main event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday runs on a first-come, first-served, “free for all” basis; there have been as many as 100 people waiting for doors to open in years past, and one gentleman has a reputation for arriving as early as 7 a.m. to secure his place in line, Sand said. Masks will be required inside the Red Brick (110 E. Hallam St.).


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