In a mountain town of less than 7000 people one wouldn’t expect to find a first-rate art museum worthy of any sizable American city. But if that small town is Aspen, Colorado those 6700 residents expect nothing less. In a town that has become a playground for the rich and famous, Aspen has luxury in spades. So the idea of such an art museum is not out of the ordinary. And, only in the town of Aspen could they raise the $72 million needed for such a museum, without a dime of city funds, and without a collection. “There’s not a single tax dollar, not a single dollar of public money,” said museum director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson. In fact, 27 donors wrote checks of $1 million or more to that will help cover operational costs for years to come.

Eight years in the making the Aspen Art Museum brought in top architect Shigeru Ban to create a building worthy of such a name. Wrapped in wooden strips that are woven together like a giant basket, the building itself is an homage to the ski-industry that brings in tourists throughout the winter months. Upon entering the building visitors are transported (via stairs or glass elevator) to the roof, much like the gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. The café and expensive roof provide a great view to Apex Mountain, which makes it a great stop to hang out and relax. But as great as the view from above, the building was built to showcase first-class art. For it’s grand opening, AAM will be exhibiting works in 7 different exhibits. They have brought together some of the best art available.

AAM is holding a massive 24-hour grand opening as well. Starting August 9 at 5pm and continuing through Sunday August 10 at 5pm the museum will showcase numerous performances in music, theatre, and film. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will be performing from 8:30-10pm Saturday. Two films will be screened and discussed along with a silent disco dance party. There will be a dream interpretation session for those who decide to sleep over in the museum. On Sunday morning AAM will host sunrise yoga with a light breakfast, and cooking demo will feed your lunchtime appetite. These are just a few of the many events happening during the 24-hour grand opening celebration. Perhaps the best part about this opening; in a town home to 20% of the top 200 art collectors in the world, everything happening at AAM is free.

It’s time to get your wealthy on, get your art on, and head to the mountains!

AAM Grand Opening Webpage:
(Images provided by Aspen Art Museum © Billy Farrell, Derek Skalko & David X Prutting)
Aspen Art Museum
637 East Hyman Avenue
Aspen, CO 81611