September 23, 2023
Aspen Chapel Gallery Joins Forces With VOICES
Michael Bonds and Tom Ward, Co-directors., Aspen Chapel Gallery.
Courtesy Picture

When Tom Ward first got here to work for what’s now the Aspen Chapel Gallery 37 years in the past, there was nothing within the room however two chairs, 4 footage on the wall and florescent lights. On the time, co-director Connie Madsen requested him if he wished to begin an artwork gallery within the house beneath the worship space of the chapel, and he figured, why not?

Ward had beforehand owned the Gargoyle Gallery in Aspen again within the 70s, however his background was in theater and set design.

Tom Ward
Courtesy picture

“I had a gallery right here beginning in 1970, and at the moment, all of the galleries (in Aspen) confirmed native artwork. And when individuals got here in, they’d say, ‘I solely wish to see native artists.’ Now, if you happen to go downtown, there isn’t something (native). So we simply began with native artists, and we’ve simply morphed into that. The place else are they going to indicate?” Ward mentioned.

If anybody understands the significance of a gallery that helps native artists, it’s co-director of the Aspen Chapel gallery Michael Bonds, a long-time resident and artist. He’s a graphic designer by commerce however has dabbled in different mediums, together with pottery. Because the longest resident artist at Crimson Brick, occurring 13 years now, he stresses how essential it’s that residents of the Roaring Fork Valley help native creators as a lot as potential.

“My door’s at all times open on the Crimson Brick as a result of I’m at all times in search of individuals to return in and provides me some suggestions about my work, as a result of that’s what it’s all about for me is I need your enter. So it might preserve me keen about protecting to have the ability to produce and produce and produce. I must have some venue to have the ability to get it on the market. And it retains me energized to maintain making extra and going in numerous instructions,” Bonds mentioned.

He admits that as a result of economics and excessive residing prices within the valley, it’s a problem for artists to outlive however credit locations like Crimson Brick, CMC and different applications for offering some subsidies that create alternatives for artists to make a residing. Likewise, for him and Ward, the aim of the gallery is to help and provides again to the local people.

Michael Bonds within the studio.
Courtesy picture

“That’s what’s actually nice about having a gallery. We did a present Artwork from the Coronary heart right here in the course of the pandemic, as a result of we actually wished to help individuals; they wanted some cash, they wanted to have the ability to promote one thing, as a result of, you already know, it was 9 months into the pandemic, and every part was closed. And I believe we offered seven to eight thousand {dollars} value of labor and received that cash again into the group and into the artists’ pockets, as a result of they have been actually struggling. So it’s a very good profit for us to have the ability to have that native orientation for us to have the ability to feed the group slightly bit,” he mentioned.

Ward goes on to say that whereas they might like to have the financial help of vacationers within the valley, since they’re a bit off the overwhelmed path, nearly all of their help is absolutely coming from native benefactors and artwork lovers.

“We’re native, so it’s not a lot geared to the vacationer orientation. We don’t must compete with different galleries downtown. We’re sort of a hidden gem that when individuals discover us, they arrive again,” he mentioned.

Since 2018, one of many methods they’ve been capable of get the phrase out and lift extra money is partnering with native nonprofits. They mentioned it’s a good way to succeed in a bigger viewers, put extra money within the pockets of their artists and assist the nonprofits elevate cash and consciousness, as nicely.

“A part of our mission now isn’t just to indicate native artwork, however to accomplice with a nonprofit group, which advantages each of us in a whole lot of methods. The nonprofit can promote the gallery, and we will promote the nonprofit. And it’s labored out to be actually good. Twenty % of the sponsorships go towards the nonprofit, and 10 % of all of the gross sales go to the nonprofit. And now we have now given again to the nonprofits about $41,000,” they mentioned.

For his or her present present, they partnered with VOICES, the nonprofit arts group based mostly in Carbondale to pair up a gallery artist with a VOICES artist from a unique medium, comparable to pairing a painter and a dancer, to create work for the present. They’re excited concerning the breadth and variety of the work. The exhibit itself options 32 artists, is curated by native artists and runs by means of Nov. 8.

“It’s actually sort of useful for us to have an outlet right here to indicate native artwork as a result of now we have so many alternative inventive individuals right here. And it’s an opportunity to fulfill new individuals, get to see paintings, and sort of, you already know, simply be part of the group,” Bond mentioned.

Art work from Aspen Chapel and VOICES
Art work from Aspen Chapel and VOICES

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