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dotComments: Art for all or ostentatious party room?

Aspen, CO Colorado

Just about every article regarding with the proposed sale of city land for a new Aspen Art Museum fueled comment from online readers of The Aspen Times this week, but none more so than John Colsons April 5 column in the Aspen Times Weekly.Colson questioned the wisdom in selling off public land and building a well-appointed new space to show off contemporary art at a time when most folks are struggling, economically.Dozens of readers added their thoughts. Said GreenPickle: Thank you, John, for cutting through the bull$(-)!+ with some gold old common sense. Wrote worker_bee: The design for the AAM strikes me as an ostentatious in town party room and country club for the Red Mountain set. Given the very real problems that we face in the world and our local valley, cant the folks bankrolling this monument find something to do with their money that might improve their karma instead of just stroking their egos? From armundrandy, there was this: To me, the question comes down to this: is the community of Aspen better served by having a huge edifice built on the egos of donors or is the greater good and cohesiveness of the community served by having a permanent civic meeting space? The old museum building will not serve this purpose as I have been told by city staff that parking issues and the fact that the building is in a riparian zone is prohibitive for large civic activities. That the new museum will accommodate these various civic programs is ludicrous. It is a red herring the size of Moby Dick. How silly do these folks think we are that we would believe that the museum would go out of its way to allow for these groups when they are pushing so hard to push them out. Offered Topgun: I heartily concur with John Colson—at a time when most residents of the Roaring Fork Valley (including Aspen) are struggling to make ends meet, educate their kids, feed their families, and keep a roof over their heads, it’s more than a little insensitive to flaunt wealth by building a new Aspen art museum for modern/contemporary art. If its notoriety Aspen wants, I suspect newspapers from coast to coast would be all to happy to report that when everyone else (rich and poor) in the country is suffering, Aspen decides to build a 30,000 sq. ft. art museum—bad form. Its not the right place, the right size, or the right time. Vote NO for # 1 on May 5. But, there was also this response to Colson, from powderhungry: This plan has been in the works for years. You seem to imply that the museum decided to do this after the implosion of world financial markets, which is simply not true. Do some research. This cry of conspiracy, for which you have no evidence, is appalling.You discuss the Devil in Armani in the downtown core, yet seem psychotically opposed to building a structure with great CIVIC BENEFIT (education, public meeting space, and, yes, contemporary art) that is FREE. Again, FREE to everyone, and entirely privately funded by a NOT FOR PROFIT! They aint building condos! You also seem to imply that the horribly planned, ugly, and UNDER UTILIZED structure that currently houses the government meetings, nonprofit activities and pizza is the only space for these activities. Could not some of these nonprofit activities take place both in the new museum building and (with a much nicer home) in the old museum building? Added ZGSk8r: the new museum looks awesome! i think some of you need to think more openly about the possibilities of what this town can be. one of my friends did the young curators program last year and started taking me, so i live here and i use it! id use it even more with a new building! Whats Aspens USP? The April 9 article detailing Mick Irelands proposed Aspen marketing initiative one that plays off Aspens altitude of 7,908 feet elicited reader feedback, including this from El Conquistador: Now thats the kind of leadership we need from a mayor! The reader who goes by the screen name sefey wrote: Aspen Colorado in 2010 $7,980 Dinner for two and Johnny McGuires (drinks extra) $7,908 Season Pass for Highlands-Buttermilk only $7,908 One night at the Hyatt (includes self serve waffle iron breakfast, just like Days Inn) $7,908 per year salary for best paying SkiCo job Priceless There was this, from RPS3: I like 1978s idea of a seasons pass for $790.80. But will the owners of the worlds largest defense contractor (and Skico) get a clue? Probably not…theyre used to selling $20,000 toilets to the military. But the City of Aspen might consider cutting its budget by an additional $7,980,000…. And, from Long Shot, came this observation: As someone who writes advertising copy for a living, the first step for any marketing effort is to come up with a USP or a Unique Selling Proposition. What is Aspens USP? I dont live in Aspen but I visit frequently and Ive never met the current mayor but based on a recent YouTube posting asking people to come by for lemonade, I have my doubts about his ability to come up with a USP that would produce results. The YouTube bit bangs on about reducing carbon footprint, of course, but thats not marketing, thats following the herd and hoping it makes you sound concerned and intelligent. Anyway, I know what Aspens USP is because I spend my money going to Aspen instead of supposedly less expensive destinations. So, I ask you posters, what is Aspens USP in April, 2009?


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