Business as Usual: Art has a home in the mountains
Editor’s Note: Business as Usual is a series highlighting local businesses in Snowmass Village. It is published weekly in the Snowmass Sun.
Older than the town itself, Anderson Ranch Arts Center has been helping artists of all levels master their crafts for almost 50 years. Built on former ranching property on Owl Creek Road, the campus is also a gem of tranquility and mountain lifestyle. Marketing & Communications Director Jennifer Slaughter fills us in.
Snowmass Sun: How did your business start?
Jennifer Slaughter: Anderson Ranch Arts Center was founded in 1966 by renowned American Raku ceramist Paul Soldner. As working ranches in the Snowmass Village area closed down and the ski industry began to blossom in the 1960s, local resort developers envisioned an arts and cultural center for the valley and surrounding community and chose the Anderson Ranch property as the location for that venue.
Through the efforts of many artists and art supporters, Anderson Ranch Arts Center was established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 1973 — four years before the town of Snowmass Village was incorporated. In 1979, Anderson Ranch Arts Center was deeded the nearly five-acre parcel of land it now occupies, opening up opportunities to invest in facilities, staff and buildings on its journey to become the valuable resource it is today.
In 2016, Anderson Ranch will celebrate an incredible milestone: 50 years! Throughout the year, Anderson Ranch will host exciting events that honor its legacy and the evolution of the Ranch today — and where it will be in the next 50 years.
Snowmass Sun: What services or goods do you sell?
Jennifer Slaughter: Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s mission is to provide transformative experiences that celebrate artists, art making, creative dialogue and community. The Ranch brings together aspiring and internationally renowned artists to discuss and further their work in a stimulating environment.
Every summer, Anderson Ranch offers over 140 workshops for adults, teens and children. In addition, the Ranch hosts many public events, making the campus a hub of creative energy and activity.
Anderson Ranch offers many art making opportunities, events and programs throughout the year as well. Here’s a look at the Ranch’s year-round programming:
Winter: Holiday Open House (Dec. 15, 2015); January Studio Concentrations
Spring: 10-Week Artists-in-Residence Program
Summer: 140+ Workshops (13 weeks, June through September)
Summer Series: Featured Artists & Conversations (June through August)
Guest Faculty Lectures (Sunday and Tuesday; June through September)
Lunchtime Auctionettes (select Fridays, June through September)
Recognition Dinner (July 21, 2016)
Annual Art Auction and Community Picnic (Aug. 6, 2016)
Fall: 10-Week Artists-in-Residence Program
Ongoing: Visiting Artists Program, Visiting Critics Program and Destination Workshops
Snowmass Sun: What makes your business unique?
Jennifer Slaughter: Both visual arts education and inspiration contribute to the uniqueness of the Anderson Ranch experience. Anderson Ranch Arts Center offers workshops and residencies as well as critical dialogue and public programs featuring top contemporary artists and art leaders. It is the place where artists of every level can take risks and express themselves in a supportive environment.
The scenic beauty of Snowmass dramatically contributes to the Ranch’s success. The landscape inspires all year round — and the history of this region plays a part in many artist projects.
Use of the Ranch’s Digital Fabrication Lab (FabLab) — complete with 3D printers, CNC router, laser cutter and plasma cutter — is integrated across disciplines, designed to spark ideas and expand learning opportunities. The Ranch is a destination for teachers who come here to learn about new technologies and bring back their knowledge to their own classrooms.
Snowmass Sun: Who is your primary clientele?
Jennifer Slaughter: Aspiring, emerging and established artists have the opportunity to learn from expert faculty across eight disciplines. Participants come from across the country and around the world to explore new ideas and hone their art making skills, including adults, art students, children and teens. Beginners are welcome here, as well as highly acclaimed artists.
The Ranch’s Scholarship/Partnership Program brings undergraduate and graduate art students from a broad array of backgrounds to the Ranch. Recipients are at the top of their classes in fine arts programs at arts schools and liberal arts schools such as Rhode Island School of Design, CalArts, Harvard, Yale, the University of Colorado and over 50 more learning institutions. At the Ranch, they typically engage in level 3 and 4 workshops.
Snowmass Sun: What is the best thing about running a business in Snowmass?
Jennifer Slaughter: Support from the local community makes Snowmass an incredible place to be. The Ranch partners with the Town of Snowmass on everything from parking at Two Creeks for our Annual Art Auction to high-level decision making. We have a wonderful partner in Snowmass Tourism, working together to tell the story of Snowmass and what makes it such a special place. We also have great neighbors in the Snowmass Chapel and the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District.
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