Old Snowmass chairs get artsy lift | AspenTimes.com

Old Snowmass chairs get artsy lift

Stewart Oksenhorn

Jan Grenda displays her Crazy Quilts chair she designed and painted, along with other works of art that will be auctioned off today in Snowmass.Mark Fox/The Aspen Times

The old Campground chairlift on Snowmass Mountain, never exactly popular with downhillers, is looking better and better.First, the replacement Campground lift is a disappointment, dumping its riders off some 900 vertical feet below where the old lift ended.And now, the old Campground chairs have gotten a makeover that has transformed them into literal works of art.Fourteen of the old chairs have been put into the hands of local artists, with instructions to turn the scrap into art. The chairs will be sold from 5-7 p.m. today in a live auction at the Snowmass Club’s Black Saddle Bar & Grille. The event, dubbed Chair Walk, was conceived by the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board. Funds raised in the auction will be used to buy more art for the advisory board’s Snowmass Village Art Walk project.The event will feature live music by Heart of the Rockies, a raffle and refreshments. Serving as auctioneer is Twirp Anderson.

The reworked chairs are a long ride from the uniform gray-brown steel of their former lives. “Full Life,” by the creative couple of Charmaine Locke & James Surls, is a rustic wooden concoction proclaiming the philosophy of the piece’s title. Mark Cesark’s “Play/Work Hard” is done with the artist’s signature use of found metal scraps. “Crazy Quilt,” by advisory board committee member Jan Grenda, is an interpretation of a quilt and even comes with a matching quilt.Some of the pieces reflect the origins of the chairs: Royal Freund’s “Power of 4 For 2″ takes off on the Aspen Skiing Co.’s slogan and uses pieces of snowboards and skis, downhilling images and Skico stickers. Jeff Teaford’s work, on the other hand, finds the chair covered in CDs, seemingly melted.Also contributing to the project are Eric Auer, Colleen Clare, Nancy Lovendahl, Karyn Mitchell, Rick Parsons & Brad Reed Nelson, Michael Rand, Lis Sorensen, West Townsend and Georgeann Waggaman.”All of our volunteers were very enthusiastic, ready and willing,” said Grenda, noting that the project was started a year ago. “They put hours of work in.”All of the chairs have been modified so that they are self-standing.With the proceeds, the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board aims to fill in spaces in the Art Walk. Presently, the Art Walk, a work-in-progress, self-guided trail that goes from the top of Snowmass down to the rodeo grounds, features six pieces of public art. (Two of those – a rock sculpture near the rodeo grounds and a metal silhouette of a woman at the entrance to the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, are by Chair Walk artists Nancy Lovendahl and James Surls, respectively.)

The advisory board last month dedicated a new piece, Barbara Sorensen’s “Peaks” ceramic wall installation on the Snowmass Village mall. But there are still too few works of art for so long a walk.”We’re still trying to establish the connections, the connected path,” Grenda said. “It’s on paper, but not in reality so much. Especially because there’s been so much development.”With Anderson Ranch, Snowmass already has one magnet for arts enthusiasts. The Arts Advisory Board believes the Art Walk could add another facet to the village.”We’d like this to be a real attraction for Snowmass Village, a reason for people to come here,” said Carol Batchelder, chairwoman of the board. “We already have Anderson Ranch, and this is an extension of that. It cultivates community pride and it’s unique to Snowmass.”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com

CHAIR WALK AUCTIONChair Walk Live Auction, a benefit for Snowmass Village Art WalkToday from 5-7 p.m.The Black Saddle Bar & Grille in the Snowmass Club

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