Gallery plans rightly cause to fight addiction in valley

Naomi Havlen
Danica Hose, left, Brad Osborn and Mia Valley are organizing "Small Miracles," an art show to benefit The Right Door. Osborn is director of the nonprofit, while Valley and Hose run Valley Fine Arts in Aspen. Aspen Times photo/Erin M. Cady.

In memory of her late brother, an Aspen gallery owner is raising awareness and money for a local nonprofit that provides help for people and families dealing with substance abuse.Valley Fine Arts, owned by Mia Valley, will host “Small Miracles,” a show of small paintings and sculptures to benefit The Right Door on Dec. 10. The gallery is located on the Hyman Avenue mall next to the Cooking School of Aspen.Valley’s brother, 43-year-old Doug Valley, died two years ago from cirrhosis of the liver after struggling with alcoholism for years. Doug, a ski instructor in the winter and a house painter in the summer, was well liked and easy to be around, Mia said.Although her brother had been in rehabilitation three times, Mia Valley said some people need more than just programs that last for short periods of time. Many addicts benefit from extended guidance from others who have been there before.”Recovery is a lot about camaraderie and connection,” she said. “The disease of alcohol and drug abuse is really about being alone.”

This is where The Right Door comes in. The nonprofit aims to bring local substance abusers into the fold of the local recovering community. The organization was perfect for a benefit and probably would have helped her brother, Valley said.”[Right Door is] so hands-on with substance abuse and the causes,” she said. “What they’re doing for the community is phenomenal.”The nonprofit was formed over the last 18 months to respond to Aspen’s lack of a detoxification facility. The Right Door’s advisory board includes community members such as Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud, Police Chief Loren Ryerson, a representative from the Pitkin County Jail and the district attorney.The organization, which has more than 50 volunteers, uses recovering community members as on-call responders. The group’s goals are two-fold – first, to assist substance abusers in their recovery free of charge, and secondly to obtain a location for a clubhouse for the recovering community.Since finding a space – and just affording a space – for a resource center and fellowship hall is a difficult venture, the Right Door is going full-speed ahead with various support programs.The nonprofit’s first anniversary just passed, and according to its annual report, the group had 114 clients during the last year. Twelve are currently sober and have turned their lives around, “a really good percentage,” said director Brad Osborn.

In the art show, the small works will symbolize every little thing people can do to help those who suffer from substance abuse, Valley said.Valley Fine Arts will donate a minimum of $2,500 to The Right Door, and local businesses and individuals are encouraged to match the gallery’s donation. Donations of any level will also be accepted at the door during the benefit.”My goal is to curate an incredible show – I have deceased artists of the 19th and early 20th century who are nationally known, like Jasper Francis Cropsy, Robert Henri and Edward S. Curtis,” Valley said. “The living artists include Michael Coleman, Wayne Wolfe and William Acheff.”Valley is also asking the Aspen business community to come together and give 10 percent of their sales the day of the show to The Right Door.”Not one person has said no that I’ve asked so far – people are so supportive,” she said. “But we’d like to get more people involved.”Osborn said he’s thrilled with Valley’s benefit – as it raises funds, it should raise awareness, as well, for the nonprofit.

“It’s not all about the money, you know,” he said. “We want people to know that The Right Door is an option out there for them. Our main goal is to try and get people help.”For more information about the benefit, call Mia Valley or Daica Hose of Valley Fine Art at 920-9193, e-mail or visit Havlen’s e-mail address is