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Kirsten Dobroth

Edlis Neeson Arts & Culture Reporter

"I have six years of professional experience as a journalist in Vail, Colorado—both as a freelance writer, and as the Digital Editor for Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine where I oversaw overall digital strategy and vastly increased site traffic."

"During my two years with the magazine, I contributed all digital content to the site, and served in an assistant editor capacity within our small office; I've been a fact-checker, assisted with issue development, pitched ideas for different departments, developed photography assignment lists, and have attended events on behalf of the magazine."

The Arts & Culture Desk is generously supported by the Edlis Neeson Foundation.

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio News

The Mountain West has some of the highest suicide rates in the United States. Colorado is no exception; the state has been in the top 10 for highest suicide rates in the country since 2009. Ski towns, in particular, have significantly higher rates of suicide than the national average.

Mental health experts have called it the “paradise paradox,” and the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health cites factors ranging from financial instability, geographic isolation, lack of healthcare, easy access to firearms and the transient nature of resort communities as being some of the reasons communities in rural areas across the Mountain West continue to suffer from high suicide rates. In Aspen, that rate is two to three times the national average, according to CU’s School of Public Health.

Erin Lee Ries/Creative Commons

A quarter-mile section of Carbondale’s Rio Grande trail will be lined with farolitos, or small paper lanterns, this weekend as part of “Light The Night With Love.” The inaugural event features public art installations stretching from DeRail Park to the Latinx Folk Art Garden, and proceeds from tickets purchased as part of the “HeART Walk” go to the American Heart Association.

Courtesy of the artist and Baldwin Gallery, Aspen

Aspen’s Baldwin Gallery opens a new exhibition next week called “A Third of the Night” by LA-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. Martínez Celaya’s been a fixture in the Aspen arts scene over the years, and is known for his involvement with Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and exhibitions at the Baldwin Gallery. He’ll be back in Aspen when the Baldwin Gallery debuts his newest collection of paintings and sculpture on Friday, Feb. 12, and said it’s a kind of homecoming. It will also be his only exhibition in the United States this year.

Courtesy Doc Eason

Doc Eason has been a Snowmass staple for visitors and locals for over four decades. His card tricks and sleight of hand magic delighted audiences at the Tower Restaurant’s bar until it closed in 2004, and he took his act to the StoneBridge Inn, where he performed right up until the pandemic shutdowns last March. He’s performed at venues and parties around the world, and has been named the Magician of the Year by Hollywood’s Magic Castle five times. According to Eason, the magic behind his act is connecting with audiences throughout the course of his career.

Photo by Pelle Martin on Unsplash

Back in 2019, licensed clinical social worker and therapist Kathleen Callahan was approached by Lindze Letherman and Quinn Gallagher about starting a mental health support group for hospitality and restaurant workers.

Letherman and Gallagher both work at Hooch, in downtown Aspen, and offered the space as a meeting place for local service industry workers to talk about their unique challenges and support each other. Since the pandemic hit, the group “Hospitality Matters,” hasn’t been meeting in-person, but they’ve continued their meet-ups virtually.

The Art Base

The Art Base has been passing out free art kits for kids from its Basalt location since everything shut down due to the pandemic in March. Since then, the art organization has distributed 1,600 kits to local families, and recently, it partnered with Carbondale based Dance Initiative for a special edition “Wild Rumpus” Art Box. 

Courtesy Carbondale Clay Center

Before COVID-19 hit, arts and cultural events and institutions made up 12 percent of the Pitkin County economy, according to a 2019 study recently released by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. That equals nearly half a billion dollars in economic output, and it is higher than the statewide average. The monetary value ripples up and down the valley, and data from 2018 point to over 3,000 jobs within the Roaring Fork Valley coming from the creative economy.


Kirsten Dobroth/Aspen Public Radio News

The entire outdoor industry has been impacted by the pandemic, and the regional backcountry hut system is no exception. The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association closed its huts last March and cancelled remaining reservations for the winter during the original spate of coronavirus lockdowns. They reopened to the public this summer, and have been taking reservations for the current winter season, albeit with new restrictions in accordance with local health protocols.

Roshni Gorur/Anderson Ranch Arts Center

The pandemic provided inspiration for Anderson Ranch Art Center’s outdoor exhibition “Sculpturally Distanced,” which featured 17 works of art scattered throughout the Snowmass Village campus this summer. As part of the art institution’s newest outdoor exhibition, six Roaring Fork Valley artists decorated trees around the facility for an artful take on more traditional holiday aesthetics.

Courtesy Colorado Avalanche Information Center

When the pandemic shut down ski resorts across the state in mid-March, an influx of skiers and snowboarders descended on Colorado’s backcountry. The makeup of those users is now coming to light, thanks to a new study released by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).

Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

A new coffee table book from The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies documents Aspen’s surroundings through photos and essays. The book is called “The Hidden Life Around Us,” and includes over 400 species of plants, animals, bugs and fungi surveyed at the organization’s 25-acre Hallam Lake Nature Preserve in Aspen.

Jasperdo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Even before the pandemic effectively scuttled human interaction, city officials in Rifle say they noticed that neighbors just weren’t being that neighborly anymore. People were looking at their phones instead of saying hello to each other on the street; COVID-19 only made things worse.

“Many people are even scared to look at you like you’re gonna get the cooties if your eyes meet, and I can’t stand it. I don’t want to live in that kind of world,” said Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn.

Courtesy Hugh Carey/Cripple Creek Backcountry

When ski lifts across Colorado stopped spinning in mid-March due to the pandemic, there was a rise in backcountry use among skiers and snowboarders. Officials think that trend is likely to continue this year, too.

“Given what we saw last spring, we are expecting more people in the backcountry than we’ve seen in previous years,” said Brian Lazar, an avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Courtesy Aspen Film

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen Film streams the documentary “16 Bars” Thursday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 22 this week. The film touches on the songs and stories within America’s prisons. More information can be found at Aspen Film's website.

Courtesy Sopris Theatre Company

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Red Brick Center for the Arts opens two new exhibitions on Thursday, Nov. 12. “Alaprimas: Living Locally, the Art of Life in the Roaring Fork Valley” features watercolors by local artists, and the gallery’s Resident Artists Exhibition features mixed media work.

Eleanor Bennett/Aspen Public Radio News

The day of the dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican tradition honoring loved ones who have passed. Traditionally, locals fill graveyards with candles and flowers for the event. Carbondale Arts is hosting its own Día de los Muertos event virtually as part of its monthly First Friday celebration on Nov. 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. 

Lauri Jackson / Aspen Public Radio

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5

State Sen. Bob Rankin has won his reelection bid after a close content between him and Democratic challenge Karl Hanlon. Hanlon called Rankin to concede Thursday morning. There were about 1,000 votes separating the two men, according to the latest, unofficial returns. 

Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

This is Week In The Arts—a curated list of upcoming virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy Glenwood Springs Historical Society

Do you believe in ghosts? That’s one question historians with the Glenwood Springs Historical Society say they hear a lot—especially around Halloween. The organization’s executive director Bill Kight says that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

“If it takes a ghost story to create an interest in history, then I’m all for it,” he said.

Courtesy Carbondale Arts

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum recently opened its newest exhibition—a multimedia collection by artist Barbara Kasten called “Scenarios.” Along with pieces that incorporate painting, sculpture and photography, the exhibition includes three of Kasten’s video installations, which is the most comprehensive collection of her non-photographic work in the United States. Although, Kasten says the new medium is all part of her progression as an artist.

“It’s really an extension of photography and an extension of the ideas that I’ve been working with all my life,” she said.

Courtesy Lindsay Jones

Before the pandemic, freelancers accounted for about a quarter of the workforce, and that number has only grown since COVID-19 hit. Millions more have joined the gig economy this year as employers have shed part and full-time positions—over a third of American workers now say they’re part of the gig economy. Some economists say that within 10 years, half the American workforce will be freelance workers.

So, what do freelancers in the Roaring Fork Valley think about this year’s election?

Courtesy Lindsay Jones

You can find an English language version of this story here.

Antes de la pandemia, los trabajadores independientes representaban alrededor de un cuarto de la fuerza de trabajo, y ese número sólo ha crecido desde el golpe de COVID-19. Millones de personas más se han unido a la economía del contratismo (gig economy) este año, ya que los empleadores han eliminado puestos de trabajo de tiempo parcial y de tiempo completo - más de un tercio de los trabajadores estadounidenses ahora dicen que son parte de esta economía. Algunos economistas dicen que dentro de 10 años, la mitad de la fuerza laboral en los Estados Unidos serán trabajadores independientes.

Entonces, ¿qué piensan los freelancers del Valle de Roaring Fork sobre las elecciones de este año? La diseñadora gráfica e ilustradora local Lindsay Jones habló con Aspen Public Radio sobre sus pensamientos antes de emitir su voto en noviembre durante la  primera parte de nuestra serie electoral: "¿Qué puedo esperar de mi gobierno?"

Courtesy Creative Commons

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy 5Point Film

Carbondale’s 5Point Adventure Film Festival was one of the first events to feel the effects of the pandemic last spring. The annual festival runs each April, but new social-distancing protocols left organizers with few options aside from postponing the full mountain film showcase altogether.

Since then, 5Point’s reimagined its annual festival into a fully virtual event running each night from Wednesday, Oct. 14 to Sunday, Oct. 18. Audiences can livestream a curated selection of short adventure films each night, which are followed by Q and A sessions with the filmmakers. 

Courtesy Aspen Film


When Aspen Film kicks off its 41st annual FilmFest on Thursday, Oct. 15 , it might be nostalgic for local filmgoers; the festival is hosting its opening and closing night screenings in-person at Aspen’s Isis Theatre.

Courtesy Thunder River Theatre Company

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibitions and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy Red Brick Center for the Arts

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibits and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Courtesy Jackson Emmer/Revival Photographic

Things are a little different since the last time Carbondale-based singer and songwriter Jackson Emmer released an album. That was in 2018, when his sophomore album “Jukebox” received national attention, and live concerts were part of his touring schedule. His newest album, “Alpine Coda,” comes out Friday, Oct. 2, and he’ll be hitting the virtual road to promote it.

Basalt Regional Library Facebook Page

This is Week In The Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibits and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

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