Don’t squander this opportunity

Dear Editor:

The design for the proposed Art Museum is stunning ” and appropriate. It is modern, yet respectful of the surrounding buildings, it is tucked-in and understated ” and largely underground. It is a background building and a jewel.

I believe many of the spaces will be truly sublime, the rare architectural space that enhances the experiences one has within ” however the building might be used over time. It is likely to activate the north side of Main Street and create a vital link to the Rio Grande Park and Roaring Fork River. It’s an excellent piece of town planning. The architect is a leader in sustainable design and construction. I believe the building can teach us about the transformative possibilities and the responsibilities of architecture. It is an inspiration. It deserves the vocal and demonstrative support of our architecture, design and planning community.

This is not a referendum on the Aspen Art Museum, its programming, or its current place in the community. This is a game changer. A museum of this stature will allow a visual arts program to evolve and to take its place alongside the Aspen Music Festival and School, The Aspen Institute, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Ballet, the Physics Institute ” enriching the quality of life for our community and the overall resort experience for our guests. It is a further manifestation of Walter Paepcke’s vision of our community as a celebration of the possibilities for the mind and body. It is a gift to our community, and a very significant investment in its future. It may be here forever. It deserves the enthusiastic support of our school system, the Aspen Education Foundation and all our arts institutions.

Our economy is supported by real estate activity and development, recreational tourism, and our diverse cultural offerings. Recent events have made it clear we can’t control our real estate markets nor are we inclined to support ongoing growth and development. We cannot control the world’s economy nor the weather. However, we can foster the arts and its contribution to the viability of our economy. This museum deserves the support of our Chamber of Commerce and anyone who sees a need to strengthen and diversify our economy.

While it is not critical, I would like to see consideration of a land lease rather than a sale of this property. I expect that the annual lease payment would be significant, and each year the community could select and support an appropriate and timely cause with the annual lease payment.

For those of us who believe in the transformative power of the arts and culture ” whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll at the Belly Up, a lecture at the Institute on climate change, our homegrown Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet on tour in Europe, or standing in front of a breathtakingly beautiful painting that you could never have imagined ” make sure this gift, this unique opportunity isn’t squandered.

Since the beginning of time there has been no greater legacy than the arts we leave behind.

Michael Lipkin



See more