Open space: galley welcomes lectures along with art |

Open space: galley welcomes lectures along with art

Txell Pedragosa, director of Aspen’s Quintenz Gallery, sees her space as a place where people come with open, curious minds, receptive to new ideas. And while Pedragosa is in the business of selling art, she doesn’t mind if the conversations that happen in the Quintenz space don’t have to do with paintings, photographs and sculptures.

“The gallery is a frame,” she said. “It’s an art gallery that wants to be involved with the most interesting things, the most interesting people in Aspen. We want to frame all that knowledge with our gallery.”

Earlier this month, the Quintenz Gallery partnered with the Anderson Ranch Arts Center to exhibit a preview of the ranch’s Recognition Dinner, showing works that were going to be auctioned off to benefit Anderson Ranch. Last winter, the gallery collaborated with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in an exhibition by Daniel Beltra. The Spanish photographer showed his recent works that depict the melting polar ice, while ACES conducted a well-attended conversation with Beltra about his perspective on climate change.

Now the gallery pushes even further away from visual art. The Rocky Mountain Institute, an Old Snowmass-based think tank that deals with issues of energy, is starting its new Summer Lecture Series today. The first talk, titled “Rooftop Solar … Everywhere,” takes place at the Pitkin County Library, but after the formal talk, the action moves to the gallery, located adjacent to the gondola at the base of Aspen Mountain.

“It’s the frivolous part, the party afterward,” Pedragosa said. “But things happen then, when people are relaxed and meet each other. Aspen’s been doing that for a long time, connecting people. We want to continue that — let people merge and see what happens.”

Today’s hourlong talk, free and open to the public, is by Rocky Mountain Institute staff members Dan Seif and Jesse Morris. The two will focus on the three factors that are making solar-photovoltaic energy increasingly accessible: low installation costs, cheap financing and new business models.

The next talk in the series, set for Aug. 9 at the Pitkin County Library, is titled “Reinventing Fire: China.” Among those speaking will be Rocky Mountain Institute founder Amory Lovins, and the talk will touch on the institute’s partnership with China to create a five-year energy plan. Megan Shean, director of the institute’s National Solutions Council, says that the topic is significant enough that the talk will have an encore date, Aug. 27, at the Basalt Library (though Lovins is not scheduled to be present at that presentation).

The series concludes Sept. 17 back at the Pitkin County Library, with a reception again following at Quintenz Gallery. The final topic is “Carbon Fiber Cars: Are We There Yet?”

Shean said the lectures, which follow a series that the Rocky Mountain Institute used to present at the Given Institute, are intended for a broad audience. She expects the Q-and-A sessions to reflect a wide range of audience knowledge.

“Someone would ask a very technical question; then someone would ask a very basic question,” she said of the past series.

Pedragosa added that the receptions are open to everyone — even those who don’t attend the lectures.

“Even if you don’t see the talk, you can come here, meet people, learn about what (the Rocky Mountain Institute) has been doing,” she said. “In a gallery, with a glass of wine — maybe that makes it easier.”

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