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Intersect Aspen Art and Design Fair Returns with a Local Flavor

By Chadd Scott on

Galleries and collectors from around the world will descend upon Aspen, CO July 30 through August 3, 2024, for the annual Aspen Art Week. The Intersect Aspen Art and Design Fair again serves as one of the headlining attractions. New this year to the city’s signature modern and contemporary art fair is the addition of “design” to the event’s title, signifying the inclusion of top international contemporary design galleries to the mix of roughly 30 retailers from as far away as South Korea.

A full calendar is planned for this year’s fair, formerly known as Art Aspen, including a VIP Preview, Opening Night Reception, 2024 Intersect Aspen Artist Award, VIP Fair Tours, Artist Talks, a VIP Aspen Art Museum Tour and a VIP Brunch on the last day of the fair. All Access, multi-day, and single day passes are now on sale.

The fair will again be held at the Aspen Ice Garden.

Intersect Aspen Art and Design Fair artist Yigal Ozeri photograph. Courtesy the artist and Intersect Aspen.

Intersect Aspen Art and Design Fair artist Yigal Ozeri photograph. Courtesy the artist and Intersect Aspen.

Intersect Aspen Art and Desing Fair dates and hours:

July 30, 4 - 9 p.m. (The fair opens on Tuesday, July 30 with a VIP Preview and Reception at 4 p.m. and General Admission opens at 6 p.m.)

July 31, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

August 1, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

August 2, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

August 3, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Aspen Collective

While Intersect Aspen provides collectors the opportunity to peruse galleries from distant arts destinations like New York, Southern California, and South Florida – as it has every year since 2010 – a new local emphasis distinguishes this year’s shindig. Spotlighting Aspen artists will be local curator, community leader, and artist D.J. Watkins. Watkins’ space within the fair is an extension of his new Aspen Collective.

Aspen Collective opened in May of 2024 hoping to address a specific problem being experienced by emerging and established artists across the Roaring Fork Valley.

“Most galleries that focus on artwork made by the Valley have been pushed out because of high rents and limited space availability,” Watkins said. “Our location in the historic Wheeler Opera House offers a carefully curated and centrally located gallery in the center of town to help promote the artists living and working in the Valley.”

Aspen Collective also partners with local arts and non-profit organizations, offering them greater visibility, along with serving as a community gathering space for openings, talks, and dinners.

“Aspen is my home and it’s important to me to see the art industry flourish within our community,” Watkins added. “This town was built on the premise of bringing together people of all walks of life to discuss and foster ideas. I wanted to create a lasting space where the community can come together to converse and celebrate the rich history and future of art in Aspen.”

D.J. Watkins. Photo courtesy Intersect Aspen.

D.J. Watkins. Photo courtesy Intersect Aspen.

Watkins’ distinct community focus was one reason why city leaders selected his application from the many submitted to take over the nearly 500-square-foot publicly owned space previously occupied by Valley Fine Art. The prime real estate comes with a 5-year lease at a deeply discounted rate allowing Watkins the stability necessary to enact a longer-term, more ambitious vision of supporting regional artists.

Watkins, who believes “art and activism go hand in hand,” intends for Aspen Collective to lean heavily into presenting environmental art.

“Art is a powerful vehicle for talking about the important issues of today, whether it be the political situation or the environmental crisis we are facing,” he said. “Art is a way to transmit a message in an eloquent way to foster discussion and action.”

Watkins’ passion for activist art runs deep. He wrote an award-winning biography of Aspen artist/activist Thomas W. Benton, and shows Benton’s work at Fat City Gallery where he is also curator.

“Aspen has an incredible history and activist art played an important role in past political fights,” Watkins explained. “Thomas W. Benton as an artist captured the battles over time and his work is sought after by ski bums and billionaires alike.”

Tony destinations for the wealthy like Aspen have a tendency to overlook – if not outright step on – the people who live and work there. Art galleries, similarly, all too often cater exclusively to monied outsiders; Watkins and Aspen Collective provide a refreshing alternative.

The local flavor they’re bringing to Intersect Aspen and Aspen Art Week assure the fair and celebration reflect their host location.

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