Village Voices: What’s up with the tiger in Base Village? | AspenTimes.com
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Village Voices: What’s up with the tiger in Base Village?

If you’ve driven through the P2 level of the Base Village parking garage, chances are you’ve met the #BaseVillageTiger.

A life-sized big cat made of solid wood with its own Instagram hashtag, the Base Village tiger has sat as the hidden gem of the parking garage for years.

But about a month ago, the tiger made its debut above ground in Base Village and will now sit in front of Straight Line Studio as an evolving piece of art.

“I’ve been looking at that tiger in the parking garage all year and saying, ‘I want that,’” said Kelly Peters of Straight Line Studio. “Everyone asks about it but no one seems to have any concrete answers on where it came from.”

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For this month’s Town Talk, Peters suggested the Snowmass Sun look at the tiger’s origins and how it ended up in the Base Village parking garage.

The first people the Sun reached out to were Dawn Blasberg, plaza and events manager for Base Village, and Sara Halferty, curator for The Collective, as they both work for East West Partners, developers of Base Village.

Halferty said when she and East West first started asking questions about the tiger, rumor was it guarded the entrance of a circus that passed through the village and was left behind.

However after talking with a knowledgeable Snowmass Mountain Lodging staff member, Halferty said the tiger’s most accurate origins can be traced back to Junk and Liquid Sky, a restaurant and club that was in Base Village for the 2008-09 winter season. The tiger was left behind after the establishments closed and has been in the village ever since.

“We’ve always been fascinated by the tiger but no one really knew where it came from,” Halferty said, noting she and many others refer to the cat as El Tigre and that many photos have been taken with it in the parking garage.

With the recent revitalization of Base Village, Halferty has been looking for a new above ground home for the tiger but hadn’t found the right fit. That’s why when Peters and Teal Wilson, the artists who run Straight Line Studio, asked if they could have it, Halferty was beyond excited.

“They’re the perfect people to take over El Tigre,” Halferty said. “I can’t say enough about how our passion is to help local artists and inspire creativity, which this is a part of.”

Before stringent social distancing measures were implemented locally to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, Peters said the tiger was a hit with kids and pretty much everyone who walked by her studio.

Once the Pitkin County stay-at-home public health order is lifted and Straight Line Studio is able to reopen, Peters said she hopes to have each artist who hosts a show at the studio paint the tiger in a new way — and to keep learning more about its mysterious history.

“We want the tiger to be a constant art experience and to just keep painting it,” Peters said. “I mean why not? We’re artists and we’re weird and having it outside the studio has proven to be very fun and entertaining for everyone.”

If you know more about the history of the Base Village tiger or have a fun story about it you’d like to share, email mvincent@aspentimes.com.


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