Arts and culture

Aspen Words

Tayari Jones won the Aspen Words literary prize earlier this year for her novel “An American Marriage.” She speaks in Aspen Tuesday as a part of the weeklong writing conference Summer Words.  

“An American Marriage” is about an African-American man whose relationships are upended when he’s jailed for a crime he didn’t commit.  The novel delves into an unjust criminal justice system and racism.


Devi Laskar is the author of two poetry collections: Gas & Food, No Lodging and Anastasia Maps and the novel: The Atlas of Reds and Blues.  She lives in Northern California.

Welcome to another week in the Roaring Fork Valley!  This is Week in the Arts, a curated list of upcoming exhibitions and events.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Foodies at two culinary festivals this weekend, Heritage Fire and Food and Wine, can sample donuts from Glenwood Springs' Sweet Coloradough and BBQ sliders from Aspen's Hickory House right alongside fare from some of the nation’s best-known chefs.


Home Team BBQ is one of several local restaurants pulling double duty at both festivals this weekend.


Corey Simpson / Thunder River Theatre

The play “Tribes” opens at Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Company Thursday.  The main character is a deaf man, finding his identity in a family of hearing people.

Corey Simpson is the executive artistic director of Thunder River Theater and the director of “Tribes.” While researching the play, he picked up his phone to call the artistic director of a deaf theatre in Denver.  

"I set my phone down, and I almost immediately realized I had no idea how I would have a phone call with somebody who’s deaf," he said.


Rachel Howard is a writer of fiction, personal essays, memoir, and dance criticism.  Her memoir is called The Lost Night and her novel is called The Risk of Us.

Welcome to another week in the Roaring Fork Valley. This is Week in the Arts, a curated list of upcoming exhibits and events.

Laurie Lindberg / Town of Carbondale

A total of 15 new sculptures will be unveiled in Carbondale on Thursday for Art aRound Town, which brings public art to various locations around main street each year.

The Carbondale Public Art Commission organizes the show.

A walking and biking tour of the new works begins at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall. Locals can also talk to the artists, five of whom are locals, the most ever for the event.

A shuttle will also be available. There's a reception at the Village Smithy after the tour.

Later this summer, voting for “Best In Show” opens. The sculptures are on display until late next spring.  

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Twenty local artists pay tribute to the Bauhaus School of Art and Architecture at an exhibit opening Wednesday in Aspen. They’ve created posters using quotes from Bauhaus teachers, on display at the Red Brick Center for the Arts.

One reads, "Limitation makes the creative mind inventive."  Another says, "God is in the details."


Miriam Toews is the author of Women Talking, Summer of My Amazing Luck, A Boy of Good Breeding, A Complicated Kindness, All My Puny Sorrows, The Flying Troutmans, and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life.  She lives in Toronto.

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Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio



Aspen City Council wants to know if there’s a need for the Wheeler Opera House to build additional space in the next 20 years. The community can give their input at a meeting Thursday.

Wheeler executive director Gena Buhler says she’s torn about whether bigger is better for the venue.  It might sell out when town is busy, but the off-season is a different story.

Sylvia Johnson

A film screening and discussion in Carbondale Wednesday looks at the journeys of people who fear for their lives in their home countries and seek asylum in the U.S. "Seeking Refuge" includes two short documentaries by Carbondale-based filmmakers.  


Sylvia Johnson’s film tells the story of two African refugees, one from Guinea and the other from the Congo. She met them volunteering in New Mexico at what many call an immigrant detention facility, and what she calls a prison.


The Basalt Public Arts Commission (BPAC) wants to distribute $40,000 to artists through a new grant program.

BPAC is responsible for Motio 2.0, the large, colorful metal sculptures installed around town.

The arts commission wants to see more public art and worked with the Basalt Town Council earlier this year to create the grant program.  




In Tayari Jones' acceptance speech for this year’s Aspen Words Literary Prize, she said, "So many of us who want to write, and engage the issues of the day, we’re encouraged not to. We’re told that’s not what real art does. An award like this, I think it encourages all of us to keep following the strength of our convictions."

Her novel "An American Marriage" touches on an unjust criminal justice system, racism, marriage and intergenerational relationships.


Welcome to another week in the Roaring Fork Valley! This is Week in the Arts, a curated list of upcoming exhibits and events.


Luis Jaramillo is the first Aspen Words writer-in-residence of 2019.

Jaramillo is best known for his 2012 book “The Doctor’s Wife,” a collection of vignettes about three generations of a family.  

During his residency, he’s working on a novel called “The Witches of El Paso,” which is set both in Texas and Juarez, Mexico. As the title suggests, there are witches and worshippers of Santa Muerte, the goddess of death.



First Draft: Joanne Ramos

May 20, 2019

Joanne Ramos was born in the Philippines and moved to Wisconsin when she was six. She graduated with a BA from Princeton University. After working in investment banking and private-equity investing for several years, she became a staff writer at The Economist.  The Farm is her first book.

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Welcome to another week in the Roaring Fork Valley! This is Week in the Arts, a curated list of upcoming exhibitions and events.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Carving out time for creative writing can be tough. Sharing it with others can be downright terrifying. A group in Glenwood Springs wants to be a safe place for any writer.

“Your Story, Your Life” includes everyone from retirees reflecting on their lives to people who’ve left the office for a few hours. They all come for the sense of community, no matter who they are and where they are on their writing journey.

David Dowling / Joy of Motion

A choreographer and dance professor at CU Boulder visits Carbondale this weekend. Helanius J. Wilkins’ work challenges stereotypes of black men, portraying them as vulnerable, creative and complex.

He says it’s not enough for dance just to be movement for movement’s sake.