Carroll: Wanted: Aspen Art Museum reporter

Rick Carroll
Above the Fold

The Aspen Times is seeking a reporter to cover the Aspen Art Museum. Candidates must love the mountains and art and be not afraid to tackle those only-in-Aspen stories.

For starters, this beat isn’t just about art. Just Monday, for instance, both Aspen newspapers reported about several incidents that could be likened to low art.

The first exhibit came in the form of former Mayor Mick Ireland’s allegations — which he broke on Facebook — that he’d been “punched” several times in the shoulder by a not-so-lover of the new museum. Ireland, you see, was on the Aspen City Council that approved the construction of this behemoth structure in the middle of downtown. We’re still trying to learn whether Ireland told the story in its absolute entirety — the perpetrator is believed to have been a stroke victim. We’re also a bit confused by this story. Just why would someone want to inflict pain on the former mayor by punching him in the … shoulder? Yet another hair-pulling mystery in Aspen that must be solved.

There were other exhibitions of low art as well. Early Saturday morning, a person reportedly fell after trying to climb the wooden lattice — no, it’s not a basket, you unsophisticated rubes — on the exterior of the museum. And Saturday’s daytime firework display, launched as part of the art museum’s opening, spooked a dog so much that it fell 20 feet from the balcony of Boogie’s Diner.

When people and dogs aren’t falling off buildings because of the new Aspen Art Museum, the new reporter also will be charged with editing the onslaught of letters related to this controversial structure. Many of our readers are fairly upset about the erection of this monument and have taken to the pen to vent their frustrations. When this happens, the seemingly never-ending exchange between letter writers ensues. Our editor is running out of catchy headlines to put on these letters, so we could use some fresh perspective from a newcomer to the Aspen scene.

The Aspen Art Museum won’t always be generating news that has nothing to do with art, so we’ll rely on our new beat reporter to break away from the day-to-day coverage and focus on other burning issues in town.

For one, we recently fielded a complaint from a caller who was upset that the city of Aspen allowed porta-potties, some seven or eight of them, to take up space at Wagner Park over the Fourth of July weekend. The caller couldn’t believe the city had the nerve to allow these unsightly structures to take up public space during one of the busiest times of the year. Where’s the outrage?

And if that’s not enough, just last week, after having lunch at Su Casa, one of our staffers couldn’t directly cross the street back to work. Why? Because of the Hub of Aspen’s bicycles lining the sidewalk! We had to walk at least another 20 steps because of this. These and other Aspen travesties — the lack of parking at City Market, tourists riding their bicycles through crosswalks, motorists violating the one-block rule on the Hopkins Avenue pedestrian way — must be exposed.

And when you’re really hurting for news, you can always go to Facebook — the hub of countless non-stories that somehow blow up in a matter of minutes. Last week, two longtime locals got in such a heated spat over the Middle East — Israel and Hamas, to be specific — that not only were the cops called, an “unfriending” took place.

Yes, this is a dream job for any reporter looking for a change of scenery. We’ll supply you with a laptop computer and as many pens and notepads as you need. Just add some Miracle-Gro, and watch your stories grow faster than a thistle.

Rick Carroll is editor of The Aspen Times. He takes comments, complaints, questions and news tips at