2A well intended but off the mark | AspenTimes.com

2A well intended but off the mark

Art is “a human creative skill,” so does removing the limitation in the Wheeler real estate transfer tax provide more culture through the visual and performing arts? That depends on how the money is awarded. My mother, Janet Garwood, and I promoted this tax in 1979 to give half of the funds to working artists and half to repair our opera house. It was never meant primarily for buildings and high administrative salaries.

Concerned Aspen residents say our town’s spirit has dimmed. What’s needed to brighten us? Our uniqueness through our expressive art — not imitating or importing stars. Our collective spirit can soar again by supporting resident creative artists.

Thank you Skippy, John and Torre for proposing 2A. But public policy went awry the last 15 years. Many artists got shut out or moved away. Why? Because money that could fund them, instead went to buildings and salaries to those meant to assist. Many “grew up” artistically here and I want artists now to have that opportunity. But given the current structure of distributing “arts” funds if 2A passes, we need the process overhauled. There’s been a poll that says it won’t pass. I’ve asked voters why and some want funds distributed differently.

Let’s form an arts council of performing and visual artists and art scholars — to recommend a long-lasting arts endowment. We have Academy Award winners, new and acclaimed writers, painters, ceramicists, sculptors, designers, and many more who have stuck it out and stayed through our love for each other and this spectacular natural environment.

On Oct. 12 I asked City Council to pass a resolution about a new grant distribution plan before Nov. 2. Do our new residents want art created here and state-of-the-art facilities? I was one of six people who got the RETT going, got the Red Brick on the ballot and operating and the District Theater built, so I’m moderating 2A discussions on Grass Roots TV. The tax was established by joint efforts of business folks and artists, so when we do that again, the best is yet to come

Sarah A. Pletts


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