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Aspen-Area Art Students Make Broad Strokes With Longtime Arts Institution Mentors

Aspen-Area Art Students Make Broad Strokes With Longtime Arts Institution Mentors

The Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Aspen Education Foundation (AEF) are partnering to expand arts education in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen elementary, middle, and high school students will benefit from youth mentorship programming, studio art experiences, school field trips, and workshops through the new partnership, starting as early as this school year. The programming is being developed to complement the International Baccalaureate curriculum in the Aspen School District.

“AEF is so pleased to support and expand the work of Anderson Ranch in our public schools,” said AEF Executive Director Cynthia Chase in a media release. “Especially exciting are the offerings at the AHS and the mentorship program that will be made available to students who have a true passion for the arts. There are world-class institutions in the backyard of our public school; it makes great sense to bring these groups into the schools when possible.”

The funding from the Aspen Education Foundation will help continue field trips to Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, where students have had the chance to explore the campus and art-making studios. But it will also fund a new high school mentorship program and experiential education (ex-ed) workshop program for high school students.

“This is a really exciting partnership for us because being able to get students here, or to be able to work with students in the classroom, really just allows us as an organization to be more present in the community,” said Olivia Martinez, youth and community engagement manager at Anderson Ranch.

Seven high school students will participate in the mentorship program this year. It will start in April and will partner students with artists and educators at Anderson Ranch who will help students develop their skills in a specialized art field.

They will come to Anderson Ranch for two weeks after school to create art in the studios while mentors are there to help and answer questions.

In August, 12 high school students will have the opportunity to join a photography and storytelling workshop through the school district’s ex-ed program. The students will work with their peers in the studio and will have the opportunity to stay nearby during the duration of the workshop.

“They’ll be totally immersed in that workshop and studio time,” Martinez said. “This includes kind of the basics of taking photos and then using those photos to create other types of images with collage or photo transfers.”

Earlier this year, fifth-grade students at Aspen Middle School were led by a ceramist to teach them about chemical reactions at high temperatures as part of the grade’s chemistry and art inquiry unit. The students then took a field trip to Anderson Ranch for a hands-on ceramic glazing experience.

In April, third-grade students will visit Anderson Ranch and the art studios to learn about visual arts.

Anderson Ranch was founded in 1966 and hosts an extensive array of workshops for aspiring, emerging, established artists, childrens, and teenagers in seven disciplines including photography, ceramics, painting and drawing, furniture design and woodworking, sculpture, printmaking, and digital fabrication. It also hosts community events throughout the year that feature local, national, and international artists and a year-round artists-in-residence program.

American raku ceramist Paul Soldner founded the ranch as an arts and cultural center for the valley and surrounding community. He founded the ranch on several core principals, including maintaining small class sizes to allow for personal attention and 24/7 studio availability to encourage “unbridled creativity.”


By: Lucy Peterson| The Aspen Times I March 15, 2024

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