Aspen Art

Jolly Ranchers

The common ski-town story: came to ski for two months, and never left. The uncommon Aspen-area twist: came for two months to throw pots, and stayed forever.

By Stewart Oksenhorn February 1, 2014 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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That’s the Anderson Ranch effect. The Snowmass Village institution doesn’t just train artists from around the world; it has changed the world around it, bringing artists to the valley and making artists of those who live here. 

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The late ceramics pioneer Paul Soldner founded Anderson Ranch in 1968 in a quiet sheep meadow. He ensured its vitality by bringing his California students to Snowmass, and they fired a rich pottery culture: in addition to the Ranch’s renowned program, Carbondale Clay Center and Colorado Mountain College’s ceramics department trace their lineage to Soldner.






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In the ’80s, art student Sam Harvey came to Anderson Ranch for a summer workshop. A decade later, while an assistant in the ceramic studio, Harvey met summer intern Alleghany Meadows. Another decade on, the two established Aspen’s Harvey/Meadows Gallery. Harvey credits the Ranch for fostering a clientele that allows the sophisticated gallery to thrive. “The Ranch has made for a culturally educated community,” he says. Showing at Harvey/Meadows through March 6: a group show whose every artist did time at the Ranch, including Aspenite Pamela Joseph, who refers to Anderson Ranch as her “grad school.”











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Andrew Roberts-Gray was an artist before discovering Anderson Ranch. Whether he would have an art career without the Ranch is uncertain. “I got committed to my vision and had a chance to test that vision with artists further along than I was,” says the Glenwood Springs resident. “The Ranch is crucial to what I’ve achieved.” Among those achievements is representation at Aspen’s Quintenz Gallery, where his fellow artists include Kris Cox, who first came to Snowmass as a Soldner student, returned a decade ago for a Ranch residency, and stayed in the valley.





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A decade ago, Shelly Safir Marolt painted on weekends—a creative release. After several Ranch workshops with Enrique Martínez Celaya, painting began filling all of her days. Her distinctive, emotional portraits earned her representation with a Manhattan gallery; in March, she opens a studio/exhibition space in downtown Aspen. “Anderson Ranch linked me to the outside world,” says Marolt. “It brought contemporary art to my front door, letting in fresh influences.”

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