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Anderson Ranch celebrates 50th anniversary

Courtesy Photo

Sam Harvey is an artist and co-owner of Harvey/Meadows Gallery in Aspen. Since coming to Anderson Ranch as a college student in the 1980s, he has done many things. He taught at the ranch, he opened his gallery and now sits on the Board of Trustees at the arts center.

“It’s an environment where people can actually get things done,” said Harvey.


When the Snowmass ski area was being set up, developers wanted to get the arts in the mix. Paul Soldner and some of his friends settled on the ranch property along Owl Creek Road — a spot owned, at the time, by the Anderson Family.


Fast forward 50 years and Anderson Ranch Arts Center is celebrating half a century of teaching and developing artists.

When Nancy Wilhelms arrived at the ranch about five years ago, she was looking for an opportunity. The former marketing expert had been struggling through the economic crisis, like lots of others. She wanted to get back to her roots as an artist. She started doing marketing for Anderson Ranch, but is now the executive director.


She’s taken the center from when it was recovering from an employee embezzlement scandal back to a stable place, once again.


The transition intrigued Ben Timpson enough to apply for a job when he found a posting online. Just about three months into his career at Anderson Ranch, he is still getting to appreciate the atmosphere.


“It’s like a community and a family — not just one person, not just 10 people, like, a hundred people that believe in the mission of Anderson, which is not a school. It’s just a creative force — to be very forward-thinking in how creativity and art happen.”


Timpson came to Anderson Ranch after teaching art classes in Fort Collins.


Harvey said if it weren’t for the ranch, he wouldn’t be where he is now. He’s constantly learning and constantly expanding his mind as a person and artist.


“It’s a huge sacrifice and luxury to give yourself the amount of time you need as an artist to work,” Harvey said. “When you’re working on your studio practice, you can’t focus on something else.”

Though the buildings, look and scale of the place have changed, Harvey said that feeling he gets hasn’t.

Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.
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