It’s been said that all the “real” artists have left Aspen. Of course, that’s not true, but many Aspen creative types who sought out cheaper digs down the valley now have studios in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood and Redstone. A similar trend is also happening with art galleries. Basalt now has some great galleries. And both Carbondale and Glenwood each have a handful; many are new, vibrant and exciting, showing off work by locals and nonlocals alike.
For a real out-of-town feel, start your tour at Toklat (925-7345), a decades-old gallery 10 miles up the Castle Creek Valley outside of Aspen that was started by Stuart and Isabel Mace, and is now run by daughter Lynn. The gallery specializes in Native American and American art.
After that, head downvalley to Woody Creek and the Wyly Community Art Center (923-1252) at the COMPASS school campus, a learning center for children and adults alike. Set on a bluff, this art center typically features work by artists-in-residence and students. The Woody Creek Gallery and Store (922-2342), adjoining the notorious Woody Creek Tavern, offers changing exhibits by local artists.
In Basalt, check out Keating Fine Art (927-0927), which offers contemporary paintings and sculpture by American artists, and the Basalt Gallery (927-9668), with contemporary and traditional fine art from valley artists.
Down the valley in Carbondale are many new galleries and places to buy exquisite pieces for your home – things like art glass and handmade carpets. There’s also the Carbondale Clay Center (963-2529), a teaching and exhibition space at 135 Main Street. Don’t forget Redstone, either: Galleries there offer pieces from many working artists in the valley.