The Collective designed to be a space for everyone
For much of the fall season, dozens of people were hard at work in The Collective building in Snowmass Base Village.
At the rink level, people drilled away in a stereotypical construction environment, surrounded by plastic tarps, unfinished wood and power tools.
On the floor just below them, people were equipped with spray paint, thick brushes and bright colors, working individually to collaboratively turn a once white-walled space into a diverse hodge-podge of interactive art pieces.
One of these muralists was Thomas “Detour” Evans of Denver. Along with the other 11 artists working in the soon-to-be game lounge and experiential art center, Evans crafted a series of unique shapes and designs onto his wall canvas.
But Evans wasn’t just creating for show — game lounge visitors will be able to create a cacophony of sounds through his mural, too. Each time they place their hands on one of his mural’s shapes, a mystery electronic sound will ring out.
“A lot of artwork is static but having something dynamic helps people sort of think differently about art and have a sense that art can be visual and playful at the same time,” Evans said, noting that he’s been experimenting with visual and audible art since 2010 but that The Collective installation is his biggest yet.
On the other side of the downstairs lounge space, another artist and close friend of Evans also was working to create a playful, unique experience for The Collective visitors through art.
Using spray paint cans like brushes, Chad Bolsinger, another Denver-based artist, was hard at work creating his own rendition of the Zeigler Reservoir and its history, which will serve as the backdrop to The Collective’s 130,000-ball pool.
“For whatever reason they liked my style with the kind of wonky, surrealism with the landscapes and the mountains,” Bolsinger said. “When people see my work I hope it inspires them.”
Bolsinger said art has served as a healthy way to express himself, whether that’s through painting or tattooing, and he hopes his art in The Collective helps awaken people to the mystery of life and portrays the energy he felt while creating it.
“When we paint it attracts life,” Bolsinger said. “You have professional artists here that really are just professional kids. … I think for kids (at The Collective) they can see that the conventional route in life may not be best for them and see artists who have created something they felt something from and become inspired.”
THE HEART OF BASE VILLAGE
Creating unique, fun experiences like Evans’ and Bolsinger’s murals in a comfortable venue for people of all ages is what The Collective is about.
Part of the larger East West Partners Base Village development project, The Collective will offer year-round activities and spaces for families to spend their down time off of the mountain starting Dec. 7.
This winter with the completion of the building’s inside, locals and visitors will be able to experience the color and texture of the downstairs game lounge, filled with things like eight-person fusbol, a ping pong table, Xbox gaming area and a roughly 130,000-ball pool shaped like Zeigler Reservoir.
Locals and visitors also will be able choose exactly what they want to eat upstairs at the new mix6 restaurant and moxiBar, a casual, healthy eatery with choose-your-own meals.
When East West Partners unveiled its idea for a restaurant inside of The Collective building in Base Village, longtime Aspen local and chef Martin Oswald felt like he had the perfect idea.
“A typical restaurant wouldn’t work in that space, it’s more suited for a grab and go or healthy, fast casual concept,” said Oswald, who also heads the Pyramid Bistro in Aspen. “When I presented it, it seemed to make the most sense.”
That concept aims to cater to people’s choices in the moment, Oswald said, and is a fun way for locals and visitors to eat as each meat, vegetable and base option will be seasoned differently but crafted to mix well together.
“I see more and more that people want to create their own dinners and found that when people look at a variety of foods, at that moment they can decide what they really feel like eating,” Oswald said. “I love creating my own flavors and spices. … So really, people will be mixing six different flavors.”
Adjacent to mix6 and moxiBar, locals and visitors can enjoy the freedom of the upstairs lounge, or flex space, which aims to serve as a place to unwind, get some work done in between ski runs and for area groups to host their programming.
For example, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is set to hold weekly presentations, Jazz Aspen Snowmass recently announced it will host three of its winter season JAS Café performances there, and the Pitkin County Library’s “Books and Brews” book club will meet in the new space starting in January.
“We want this to be the heart and soul of Base Village,” said Sara Halferty, curator for The Collective. “People will feel comfortable meeting here no matter what their age.”
Halferty, who is on the East West Partners sales team and has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 20 years, said she begged for The Collective curator position because of her passion to develop the new building into a community space.
Last winter, Halferty and her team worked within the building shell to try out various free and affordable programming like bingo, yoga, live music, film showings and more to see what people wanted in the finished space this season.
With the addition of the restaurant, bar and game lounge, Halferty feels the “best of the best” programming set to carry over into the $11 million finished building will reach new heights and work to create a true third space for the entire Snowmass community.
But while The Collective aims to be affordable and open to everyone, it’s also geared particularly toward Snowmass locals, Halferty explained. “Aspen-Snowmass looks like a magical place, but I think there are some really lonely people here. … I think people really crave connection,” Halferty said, noting that she is one of those people. “We are a small community yet there is no real gathering spot for all ages, especially in Snowmass.”
Through The Collective, Halferty and her team hope to create that all-ages, affordable space for locals and visitors to build community and feel a sense of connection, year-round.
“You can come here, not spend any money and have a great day,” Halferty said. “The goal is to create an approachable environment that’s easy and fun for everyone.”
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Six local artists will debut new works Friday as part of the Snowmass Art Walk, an initiative to connect the town’s existing public art with new installations this summer.