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Enriching Aspen through art

Dear Editor:

I am privileged to be president of the Aspen Art Museum’s board of trustees, and as a 15-year full-time resident of Aspen, I have seen the long-term positive impact that the museum has had not only on the most local residents, but also on those adults and children who live throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond. As art museums exist to serve the public through art and education, I can assure every Aspen Times reader that that the Aspen Art Museum and its trustees, staff and supporters are committed to fulfilling its service mission, a representation of the public trust between a nonprofit organization and the community it serves.

The Aspen Art Museum fulfills its service to the community not only by creating fundamental access to art by eliminating the barrier of admission fees (and Shigeru Ban’s extraordinary, inviting new building design, the realization of which will not cost citizens of Aspen a single penny) but also by delivering the powerful experience of art to people through its on-site and outreach educational programs.

Exhibition-in-a-Box is a program that reaches every third-grade student in the Roaring Fork Valley (and soon to include communities beyond such as Leadville, Gunnison and Parachute) with an in-class visit, followed by a field trip to the museum in which the transportation costs are fully covered by the museum. Last Friday, 126 students from Sopris Elementary in Glenwood Springs visited the museum and toured its current exhibitions (well over half of them first-time visitors). Summer workshops reach hundreds of children from the ages of 4 to 16 with innovative, week-long thematic activities that link the museum to a child’s everyday life. For one day in particular, the museum fully demonstrates its presence in the fabric of Aspen’s social life by drawing up to a thousand people for its annual Fourth of July celebration, centered on an artist-designed float that celebrates the essence of what it is to live in Aspen.

These three examples are only part of a much longer list of events and collaborative partnerships that articulate how the Aspen Art Museum’s motivations, goals and successes are all in the public interest.

There is no hidden agenda, nothing to be gained from our new building other than having a facility that will finally allow us to serve the public without cost to them and without the physical impediments of our current space. We will be able to fully extend our invitation to see the world through the eyes of contemporary artists and to do so in a building that not only celebrates life in Aspen but also provides a cultural living room in which children can extend their creative selves and, in turn and over time, enrich this very place we call home.

Nancy Magoon

president, board of trustees, Aspen Art Museum


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