In Brief: Aspen Ideas Fest pursues seven themes; Bayer Center to close to change exhibits; Community School musical at Wheeler |

In Brief: Aspen Ideas Fest pursues seven themes; Bayer Center to close to change exhibits; Community School musical at Wheeler

Staff report

Aspen Ideas Festival tees up themes, speakers

The Aspen Ideas Festival today previewed a selection of speakers and the topics they will explore with attendees during the 2023 event, which takes place June 24-30 in Aspen. Passes to attend are on sale now.

Now in its 19th year, the Aspen Ideas Festival features hundreds of the most exciting leaders and thinkers from around the globe engaging in deep discussion of the ideas and issues that shape our lives and challenge our times. The 2023 event will explore seven themes: We the People, The Edge of Intelligence, Age of Uncertainty: Imagining a New World Order, Life Well Lived, Driving the Economy Forward, Powering the Future, and The Mind. 

Attendees will have opportunities to participate and engage with speakers through workshops, roundtables, field trips, and seminars, as well as more night-time programming taking place in-town. 

Speakers and topics confirmed at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2023 include:

  • Journalist Katie Couric in conversation with former world No. 1 tennis player Chris Evert.
  • Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist and senior project scientist for the Webb Telescope John Mather shares views of the universe.
  • Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and former CEO of Google, and Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, discuss the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence.
  • Representatives Jason Crow (D-CO) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX) discuss working across the aisle.
  • Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, on corporate responsibility and the business of saving our home planet.
  • Princeton University professors of African American studies Eddie Glaude Jr. and Imani Perry, who is also the author of “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation,” engage with the country’s past and examine the collective American conscience.
  • Kate Bowler, Duke Divinity School professor and bestselling author of “Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved),” on modernday teachings of religious traditions.
  • University of British Columbia professor Karen Bakker explores how artificial intelligence can decode nonhuman communication.
  • Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey discusses immigration.
  • Angela Williams, CEO of United Way, on how non-profits are evolving to address pressing societal needs.
  • Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs and U.S. ambassador to South Africa, on how the world’s superpowers are competing on the African continent.
  • Kwame Alexander, author of “The Door of No Return,” explores crafting “new-fashioned” memoirs and masculinity, fatherhood, and love.
  • Ramya Swaminathan, CEO of Malta, on developing energy-storage technology to enable a sustainable transition to clean energy.
  • Roger Carstens, presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the U.S. Department of State, on the dilemmas of hostage diplomacy.
  • Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami law professor and legislative and tech policy director for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, on the intersections of civil rights, free speech, and social media.
  • NYU Dean of the College of Arts and Science Wendy Suzuki on practical neuroscience for better living.
  • Duke professor of law and philosophy Nita Farahany digs into ethical dilemmas around neurotech and cognitive liberty.
  • Actor and comedian Rainn Wilson explores possibilities for finding hope in a cynical world with “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna” co-host Jenna Bush Hager.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning performer and playwright James Ijames on interpreting Shakespeare for modern times.
  • Ashleigh Huffman, sports diplomacy chief for the U.S. Department of State, describes how sports shape foreign relations.
  • Rabbi Shira Stutman on how ancient religious texts can help us lead good lives in the 21st century.
  • Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, on transitioning from fossil fuels.
  • Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm on the American dream.
  • Professor of China and Asia-Pacific Studies at Cornell University Jessica Chen Weiss asks whether U.S. foreign policy suffers from an unhealthy focus on China.
  • Amor Towles, bestselling author of “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “The Lincoln Highway,” in conversation with “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna” co-host Jenna Bush Hager on “moral accounting” and crafting timeless historical fiction.
  • Robert Rubin, the 70th U.S. treasury secretary (1995-99), asks how we should truly measure economic health.
  • Tanvi Madan, senior fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution, on the emerging world order.
  • Political commentator and author Thomas Friedman reflects on how writing helps us make sense of the world.
  • HRH Ambassador Reema Bandar on Saudi Arabia and the world.
  • Poet and “Solito” memoirist Javier Zamora and Qian Julie Wang, civil rights lawyer and bestselling author of “Beautiful Country,” speak to “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna” co-host Jenna Bush Hager.
  • Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School Pamela Karlan reviews the year behind and the year ahead for the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Audible founder Don Katz on the power of storytelling and cultivating the relationship between writers and readers.
  • Washington Post columnist and author of “Rethinking Sex” Christine Emba explores the shifting cultural norms around sex and relationships.

Bayer Center to close for change of exhibits

The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies will be closed for an exhibit installation May 1-June 19.

On June 20, the Bayer Center will open a new exhibit, “Concept of a Visualist: Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas.” This exhibit examines his 1953 World Geo-Graphic Atlas, a landmark work of visual education and modernist design.

A collaboration between the Bayer Center and art historian Benjamin Benus – associate professor at Loyola University New Orleans and author of the forthcoming book, “Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas and Information Design at Mid-Century” – the exhibit draws on a wide range of original artworks, print media, photographic documentation to examine the sources, creative processes, and intellectual exchanges through which Bayer and his collaborators realized this work.

In addition to exploring his contributions to map design and scientific illustration, “Concept of a Visualist” provides new insights into Bayer’s larger body of artwork and highlights the Atlas’ continued relevance for audiences today, officials said.

The Bayer Center is located at 610 W. Gillespie in Aspen. For more information, call 970.544.7899 or visit

Construction zones prone to crashes

In 2022, Colorado State Troopers investigated 1,138 crashes in construction zones across the state.

“Road work can be frustrating and sometimes confusing. This is exactly why it is each driver’s responsibility to stay focused on the task of driving while following traffic rules,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “There is no other way to say this: People’s lives are depending on you. Construction zones require extra caution.”

April 17 kicked off National Work Zone Awareness Week, and with the warming weather, Colorado communities will begin experiencing an increase in road construction projects.

CSP is sharing the top causal factors of construction zone crashes investigated by troopers in 2022. Troopers found that a third of these crashes were caused by drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front of them. The second most common cause was due to drivers committing a lane violation in a construction zone (22%), and the third top causal factor was driving distracted through this high-risk area (17%). 

Aspen Community School to perform annual musical at Wheeler

The Aspen Community School will be performing its annual spring musical, “Hop on the Magic School Bus,” on April 27 and 28 at the Wheeler Opera House. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7. 

“Hop on the Magic School Bus” is based on the 1990s animated television series. The audience is invited to follow Miss Frizzle and her class as they adventure through historical scientific discoveries and explore Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic and observational curiosity, Galileo’s and Robert Hooke’s discoveries through lenses, Jennifer Doudna’s recent discoveries of CRISPR technology, paleontology discoveries at Ziegler Reservoir in Snowmass, the progression of fossil fuels, and the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

This annual production returns in its 36th production on the Wheeler stage. The original stage production is the culmination of a month’s work combining the creative process of teachers, parents, and students.

Kids Safety Fair in Glenwood Springs in May

Valley View, an independent, nonprofit health system based in Glenwood Springs, present the annual Kids Safety Fair on Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Valley View Hospital.

Activities include: 

  • Fire Safety: Tour a fire truck, and learn about fire safety with Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.
  • Kiwanis Bike Rodeo: Children are invited to practice bike safety at the Kiwanis Bike Rodeo. Kids are welcome to bring their own helmets to complete a bike safety course. Bikes and trikes will be available for use. 
  • Water Safety: From the pool to the lake, get ready for a fun summer with Pediatric Partners with information and resources about water safety.
  • Helmet Safety: Safety first! Children will learn about helmet safety and how to properly wear their helmets. Free, fitted bike helmets will be available while supplies last.

JVAM promotes two to partner

JVAM this week announced the promotion of Ann Jefferson and Alex Clayden to partners.

Ann Jefferson brings experience in estate planning, probate, business planning, and commercial transactions. She has advised clients in a range of industries, including outdoor recreation, hospitality, and real estate.

Alex Clayden is a litigator with a track record in disputes involving real-estate transactions and matters affecting title to real property. He has experience advocating on behalf of business clients in contract, employment, and business tort cases. He is also versed in prosecuting and defending claims relating to construction projects, including helping contractors secure liens and, ultimately, payment for their services. Additionally, he has experience in intellectual property matters and is a trusted advisor to businesses and individuals.

“We are thrilled to announce Ann and Alex as partners at JVAM,” said Ben Johnston, founding partner of JVAM. “Both attorneys are talented, dedicated, and have a proven track record of success. We are confident they will make valuable contributions to the firm and help us continue to provide exceptional service to our clients.”