Red Brick opens new wing |

Red Brick opens new wing

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN After nine months of construction, members of the Red Brick Council for the Arts unveiled the new west wing of Aspen’s Red Brick Center during a gala celebration Saturday.The new, 1,200-square-foot addition includes a foyer for receptions, a conference room with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and new studio space, all at a cost of somewhere between $600,000 and $800,000, according to Pat Fallin, president of the Red Brick Council for the Arts.The city of Aspen owns the building, but the center accepts no tax money for operations and subsists on private contributions and the 10 nonprofits and many artists-in-residence who rent space at the center, Fallin said.

Construction costs of the new wing came from a city of Aspen loan the Red Brick Council for the Arts board will repay over time, Fallin said. Guests included state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village. Ngoma, an African dance troupe, performed, as did a self-identified “bluegrass support group.” And the Red Brick coupled its dedication ceremony for the new wing with the annual art auction.”We are a model for so many communities,” Schwartz said in a short dedication speech. “The arts often times come last. … We’re not doing enough to support the arts.”But Schwartz called the center an investment in the future of the community and education, and said the success of the Red Brick Center was not an easy accomplishment.

“Our mission is to make the Red Brick a true community resource,” said Debra Muzikar, director of the Red Brick Center, who added that the new space allows the facility to increase the number of programs and creates space for other community groups. “We’re really going in the direction of a real arts center.”And with additional programs and the center’s new sculpture garden, Muzikar said, “It’s only going to grow.””For me it’s a dream come true,” Fallin said. She and others have been working for the addition for more than 10 years as a way to spruce up what was once a bare loading dock.Fallin thanked everyone from the three voters who tipped the scales in a close 1993 referendum vote to create the Red Brick Center, to County Commissioner Rachel Richards, to former Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud.

“The whole image of the facility is incredibly enhanced,” said board member Bob Camp, adding that unique touches, such as a section of exposed old brick, gives the west entryway style. And Camp said the new conference room, especially, will be a great.Muzikar said Saturday’s silent auction of donated artwork and services could earn the center as much as $44,000 for the sculpture garden, resident-artist outreach, the center’s gallery program and a kids art show.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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