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Street Art Meets Ski Town At The Collective

Sep 19, 2019

Artist Taste spray-paints a wall at The Collective
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Powerful fans blow fresh air into The Collective, a new community space in Snowmass' Base Village, but there are still enough fumes from dozens of cans of spray paint to make you a little dizzy.

Inside, artists with names like Taste are transforming the white walls. There are kaleidoscopes of geometric shapes and interactive pieces.

A prehistoric scene takes up an entire wall; it's a modern take on the mammoths whose bones were uncovered at a fossil site at nearby Ziegler reservoir. 

Local artist Kelly Peters is painting an abstract version of the Snowmass ski area. 

Kelly Peters adds her work to The Collective
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

“We’ve got the ridgeline here going all the way around, then I’m going to put in some straight lines where some of the key chairlifts are, like Elk Camp Gondola,” she said.   

Peters says it’s rare to find this kind of art, sometimes called street art, at a ski resort. 

"We’re kind of changing it up with what people typically think of a ski area, and we’re trying to bring culture and liveliness," she said.

Every artist here was hand-selected by creative director Chris Beatty. Base Village developer East West asked him to design the game lounge at The Collective. He says a few people pitched vintage ski posters or skis on the walls, but he had other ideas.  

"Every resort has a game lounge, but what can we do to make ours different?" he said.  

He brought in these artists, mostly from Denver but some from as far away as Portland, to give the space a vibrant, almost urban feel.

Beatty says the project is a rare chance to see the work of all these artists indoors and in one place. 

"These artists are used to doing murals outside, like in alleys and streetways. It's really cool to have them all close together," he said.

Just like a mall has an anchor store, a big-name retailer, Beatty says this project has an anchor artist; Detour, AKA Thomas Evans. 

 

Detour selects paint for his interactive mural
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

 

This is his first project at a ski resort. He’s working on the largest wall he’s ever done at The Collective this week.  It’s a wall that you can play, like an instrument.

 

Detour says he’s always wanted to do more than just look at art. 

“If I could touch a Picasso painting, I would, but you can’t do that. The guards will get you,” he laughed.

Detour is out to upend the traditional museum experience and make it more interactive.

"That sort of expands the mind or the possibilities of what we call art in general," he said.

Ski areas encourage people to play; now, at The Collective, the art does, too.