Local Spotlight: Kelly Peters and Sarah Sanders bring public art, creative space to Base Village | AspenTimes.com

Local Spotlight: Kelly Peters and Sarah Sanders bring public art, creative space to Base Village

Snowmass Village welcomes creatives to the community, Peters and Sanders say

Sarah Sanders, left, and Kelly Peters pose in front of a mural by Peters in their Selfie Den creation at The Collective in Snowmass Base Village on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.

It didn’t take long for Kelly Peters and Sarah Sanders to become friends — “best friends,” Sanders says — while collaborating on the creation of the Selfie Den, now open in The Collective in Base Village.

The two Snowmass Village locals work in Base Village: Peters, an artist, runs Straight Line Studio, an art gallery and studio space; Sanders manages events, activations and operations for The Collective and Base Village Plaza.

So when the opportunity arose to reimagine the ball pit in The Collective as a new (and decidedly more COVID-19-safe) experience, they put their heads together and came up with The Selfie Den. Thanks to several weeks of 12- to 15-hour days sourcing materials and working with local contractors to build a space that Peters said is “truly like nothing in the valley.”

The curated rooms and backgrounds are primed for selfie-taking from a distance, featuring upcycled materials and work from Peters and other Roaring Fork Valley creators like floral artist Ali Cranford of Indigenous Design.

“There’s art, there’s vibrancy, there’s energy, there’s all this stuff going on there. And everyone’s like, ’what the heck is this?’” Peters said. “This is our baby concept coming to fruition.”

“It was a labor of love from all of our friends and support system to come in and help us,” Sanders added. “This space is already kind of weird and wonky and creative and fun.”

Snowmass Village is a town primed for experiences like this one, Sanders and Peters said.

The town and Base Village developer East West Partners were supportive during the development process for the Selfie Den without a lot of “red tape,” Sanders said. That open-mindedness “allows room for creativity” and creates opportunities “to pitch really cool ideas and have them be possible,” she said.

“The coolest thing about Snowmass is that they’re so open to this, and I think we don’t see that in a lot of mountain towns, and they’re ready to let artists come in and actually display (their work),” Peters said. “Everybody’s looking towards a unified goal of success and livelihood and energy in Base Village and the Mall and connecting, so it’s cool to see everybody kind of on the same page. I think that’s probably a pretty unusual thing.”

That’s good for local artists, too, they said: spaces like The Collective and Peters’ Straight Line Studios offer a community space where artists can meet one another, gain exposure and attract new clients while getting paid for their work.

“It’s so good to bring local artists together because a lot of us don’t have a platform to really exist with each other,” Peters said. “It’s opening up opportunities that people didn’t know existed.”

The Collective, too, has a similar effect: it’s “designed to be a community space to showcase and help elevate our local artists in our community,” Sanders said.

Developing creative spaces in Snowmass Village has an added benefit for the whole Snowmass Village community, they said: access to art classes at Peters’ studio and to public art in spaces like the Collective helps provide a sense of release and connection even in stressful times.

“I think now, more than ever, people need human connection, they need something to get out of their head,” Peters said. “The arts are an absolute treasure to our mental health, and having people experience these things is seriously so crucial right now. People need to remember that, because just getting that little bit of a high and release from making something is really important.”



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