Since debuting its permanent art gallery space in Aspen, Sotheby’s has been working to bring the community together around the town’s enriching arts scene — literally, with its cultivation of Art Walk Fridays.
Every Friday afternoon from 4-6 p.m. Sotheby’s gallery, and other art galleries around town, open their doors to the public in attempts to spur informal yet designated community gatherings centered around art.
Sotheby’s instigated the event one Friday nearing Fourth of July and has since continued growing the weekly occurrence by reaching out to galleries to join in on what the Sotheby’s Aspen team is now calling Art Walk Fridays, gallery director Christine Heller said.
“I think it creates this nice synergy between all the galleries, you know, it's a great way to cultivate the art scene here,” Heller said. “And it’s super casual, like stop by the gallery, have a drink and look at some art.”
Throughout the summer weeks, the Sotheby’s Aspen team has reached out to multiple Aspen galleries asking if they’d be interested in participating in the Art Walk Fridays concept — whether that participation means just simply remaining open from 4-6 p.m. or going even further to cultivate festivities in their spaces during the time slot.
Friday foot traffic in the Sotheby’s gallery space is matched with a champagne cart and other drink offerings, as well as rotating DJ sets by local artists Bridger Haas (Haasy) and Justin Whitney (Da Byrd). Sotheby’s and others plan to continue the weekly experience through the end of September, Heller said.
Among the long list of galleries on board for Art Walk Fridays are Marianne Boesky and Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the summer-season collaboration being held in the One Hour Ahead space on East Hyman Avenue. Also participating: Casterline|Goodman Gallery, Baldwin Gallery, Hexton Gallery, Aspen Art Gallery, Royal Street Fine Art and more.
“It’s just really nice to have the galleries all work together and support one another,” Heller said.
Peter Brandt, gallery co-director and vice president of private sales, described the “relaxed setting” of Art Walk Fridays as feeling similar to the experience of sitting outside the Benedict Music Tent during an afternoon symphony performance put on by the Aspen Music Festival and School.
“It’s fun, it’s more relaxed, you’re having a good time — and when the gallery doors are open and people hear a DJ, they’re going to come in,” Brandt said. “So in that sense, we’ve had a good amount of people coming in who, even if they’re not interested in buying something, want to look around, experience the art and understand who the artists are.”
Sotheby’s opened its Aspen art gallery space, located at 534 E. Cooper Ave., toward the end of June. The global fine arts organization quickly established a welcoming presence in the community. By early July, Sotheby’s gallery was hosting a handful of free events, bringing into its space locals and visitors alike to mingle and experience its artistic offerings.
Naturally, these gatherings progressed into Art Walk Fridays. Brandt said that when all of the art galleries are set to be open simultaneously at a certain time, it builds on the prevalence of the arts community in Aspen — and on the prevalence of community in general.
“I think what we wanted to do is just create a community base in which people could come together and go explore art together,” Brandt said. “Aspen has such a community, and it’s important for us to be a part of where we are — that’s what Sotheby’s has always been about.”
By: Jacqueline Reynolds I Aspen Daily News I August 17, 2022