Students, staff delve into art at Anderson Ranch |

Students, staff delve into art at Anderson Ranch

Ann Larson
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The doors to the art studios at Ander­son Ranch Arts Center have opened for the summer workshop season and enroll­ment is up.

“We are over 90 percent full. The high­est enrollment in many years,” said center President Hunter O’Hanian.

In its second week of offering classes in ceramics, woodworking and furniture de­sign, printmaking, painting and drawing, sculpture and photography and digital media, there is a new feel to the campus. Started over four decades ago as an artist community, Anderson Ranch has grown and changed into a world-renowned insti­tute of learning and creativity during the summers and a residential artist commu­nity during the winters.

This summer the change is palpable.

“There is a new vitality, a young vibe. We have 23 interns this summer, the most ever,” said O’Hanian.

These young artists from colleges and universities throughout the United States – usually graduate students – are there to support and help the workshop students in the studios, where creativity is not limited to office hours, but often lingers into the wee hours of the night.

Two new program directors have also joined the staff with their young families in tow, adding a lot of fresh energy to the center.

Andrea Wallace will be the new pro­gram director for photography and digital media and Paul Collins will act as the in­terim program director for painting, draw­ing and critical studies. In their new posi­tions, they add a new vitality to Anderson Ranch, which fits in well with the stabili­ty of the rest of the staff.

A Massachusetts native, Wallace moved to the West to get her master’s degree in pho­tography and electronic media from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While there, she learned about the ranch from her friend Kyle Bajakian, who was the former program director of the photogra­phy department.

While most of the art disciplines at Anderson Ranch have undergone changes, photography has gone through a revolution and Wallace is there at the forefront in digital media, while still be­ing rooted in traditional analog or film photography.

“It is important to have a grounding in the historical process and we will contin­ue to offer that, while at the same time helping people to understand the new me­dia. I am open to hearing ideas about the future of this program from the communit­y,” she said.

In addition to digital still photography, which has brought the darkroom into the computer, Anderson Ranch is now offer­ing classes in time-based media, includ­ing animation, video work and perform­ance art.

Also adding a breath of fresh air to the ranch is Paul Collins, who has a master’s from Yale in painting and printmaking. A former teacher at Rhode Island School of Design, he will act as interim program di­rector this summer.

“I love that the ranch is a totally unique combination of white-wall lab artist and total out-of-doors, dirty-hands craftman­ship that exists nowhere else. The ranch’s artistic uniqueness comes from the fact that those things peacefully co-exist here,” he said.

While many of the summer workshops are filled, there are still some openings, and anyone interested in spending a week or two immersed in creativity in what for many is a life-changing experience should call the registrar.

There are many other ways of ex­periencing Anderson Ranch. Have lunch at the cafe, where a buffet-style meal in­cludes a choice of entree, two soups, a salad bar, beverages and dessert for $12. Lunch time is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. (sharp).

Every Tuesday and Sunday at 7 p.m., the ranch has a slide show talk by the current artists and teachers. The talks, free and open to the public, take place in Schermer Hall.

Friday auctionettes feature works by students and facul­ty. It’s fun to bid on 30 to 40 works of art while munching on a BBQ lunch. Items usually range in price from $25 and up for student pieces, while faculty work brings in hundreds of dollars.

Check the arts center’s website at­ for more information on events or call 923-3181 for workshop in­formation.