Art Smart

How to Find Affordable Art in the Roaring Fork Valley

Five ways to buy original works without breaking the bank

By Ali Margo July 29, 2019 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2019 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Buffalo Soldiers No. 3, by Samuel Prudden, was auctioned at the Art Base.


Affordable art in Aspen? It’s not an oxymoron. Several organizations host exhibitions by local artists of all genres and sell the works at reasonable prices. As for the opportunity to own unique art created in the Roaring Fork Valley, you might call that invaluable. 

1. Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Lunchtime Auctionettes
You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a workshop or be a serious artist or collector to experience Anderson Ranch. For $10, you can enjoy a barbecue lunch (with an ice cream sundae bar!) and bid on original artwork by faculty, visiting artists, students, and staff at the spirited weekly auctionettes. “It’s a really fun, accessible event, even if you’ve never set foot in a live auction setting before,” says Katherine Roberts, the ranch’s director of marketing and communications. Prices start as low as $25. Fridays, 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. through Aug 23 and 5–6 p.m., Sept 19. 

Anderson Ranch’s Lunchtime Auctionette


2. Aspen Chapel Gallery 
The Aspen Chapel has been hosting exhibitions by local artists in its basement gallery for 34 years. “We are the oldest gallery in town,” says co-director Michael Bonds. Among the eight annual shows, which each include pieces by 10 different local artists, all genres and every medium are represented. Prices can start as low as $25 and average $500 to $600. 

3. R2 Gallery at the Launchpad
A designated Colorado Creative District, Carbondale has formed an artistic hub at the Launchpad, where the gallery is only one component of Carbondale Arts’ 45-year history. “There aren’t many galleries for local artists to show their work anymore, but there are so many artists,” says Gallery Director Brian Colley. To the rescue: the R2 space, which hosts monthly exhibits with lively opening parties. Prices can start as low as $25. 

4. Red Brick Center for the Arts 
The Red Brick’s halls reek of art—of turpentine and fresh paint, with a lingering schoolhouse vibe from the building’s original incarnation. Here, you’ll find paintings, photography, sculpture, prints, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and more. The upcoming exhibition Odyssey Collective: John Cohorst, Chris Erickson, and Andrew Roberts-Gray (July 25–Sept 6) features mixed-media sculpture, ceramics, and paintings from three local artists. “We have original works created by both emerging and established Colorado artists, with an emphasis on featuring those from the Roaring Fork Valley,” says Executive Director Sarah Roy. Prices start at $100. 

5. The Art Base, 10x10 Name Unseen Silent Auction
The Basalt-based arts center hosts a gala fundraiser every August that includes a silent auction featuring 10-inch by 10-inch works donated by local artists. The pieces go on display anonymously at the Art Base on August 9, and the bidding runs from then until 7 p.m. on August 17, the evening of the gala. Says Art Base Executive Director Genna Moe, “The creator’s identity remains a secret until after the auction, so it’s a great way to fall in love with the art, not the name.” Bidding starts at $100 and goes up by increments of $50. 



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