Turn museum space into intellectual center | AspenTimes.com

Turn museum space into intellectual center

Dear Editor:

A few weeks ago, Jon Busch wrote a letter to the editor saying that whatever the chosen use for the Aspen Art Museum space, it should benefit the whole of Aspen. I couldn’t agree more. In that spirit, let’s turn the Aspen Art Museum space into a community and business incubator space.

Incubator spaces have caught on nationwide and are proving remarkably successful. Often, they show return on investment many times over while adding to the cultural and intellectual capital of their communities.

Aspen’s historical significance, natural beauty, active lifestyle and strong community draw some of the most intelligent and energetic people from across the world. Yet too often, these individuals feel a need to leave our valley to follow their professional passions. An incubator space would allow these creative and vibrant minds to have a place with lowered barriers to entry to keep their ideas, economic value and intellectual capital right here in Aspen.

More than just a place of reduced rent, taxes and fees, this community of organizations becomes a living organism, an ecosystem unto itself that spurs innovation and solutions to solve the problems of our times. An incubator space could provide a platform to create solutions for environmental degradation, economic sustainability, city planning and myriad other concerns. We can create a body that has the potential to forever alter Aspen and the world for the better, enriching all our lives.

More than just a collection of businesses and nonprofit entities, this consortium should work for the whole community, which is why I propose we set aside a community commons room, a place where anyone in the valley can come for free to set up meetings or brainstorming sessions, do collaborative cooking or even create game and dinner-party events to come together to solve the problems that face our community.

There are many valid and fine proposals on the table for this space. But I think the community and business incubator space has the largest potential to add to the intellectual, economic and cultural capital of Aspen, all while not impacting in any way the historical look, feel or traditions of the town we love. I hope you will give this idea some consideration.

If you agree, please reach out to your fellow residents, city leaders and friends to spread support.

Skippy Mesirow

Aspen Democracy Initiative

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