Hechts have brought a lot to Aspen
Andy and Nikos Hecht have taken a beating in the papers lately regarding the situation with Paradise Bakery and its impending move. As easy as it is to villainize landlords and developers, I’d like to step in and defend them. On two separate occasions they generously leased space for exhibitions I organized that allowed us all to celebrate the people who helped make Aspen the place we love.
In 2012 the Gonzo Museum opened in the Benton Building so we could celebrate the local art and architecture of Thomas W. Benton. The Gonzo Museum ran several shows and events in the space, which has since been renovated and beautifully preserved. The museum was hugely popular and it was also free. That was in large part thanks to the generosity of the Hechts, who let us into the building for almost no rent.
In 2015 the Hechts signed on to my idea to re-imagine the museum in a second iteration called the Gonzo Gallery for a show that honored Hunter S. Thompson and his 1970 run for Pitkin County sheriff. Again, Andy and Nikos provided an affordable lease that allowed locals to celebrate Aspen and its rich cultural history and having a lot of fun doing it.
As for Paradise Bakery, my understanding is that Andy and Nikos not only offered Danny and Mark Patterson a chance to stay at the corner of Galena and Cooper, but have since helped them find a new home. Change is tough to swallow sometimes, although if you think about it, Aspen has been in a state of constant change since the day it was founded. Andy and Nikos have driven some of that change, but they have also shown respect for our history and generously helped us celebrate it.