The Aspen Art Museum features international contemporary art installations in a building designed by world-renowned architect Shigeru Ban. Revolving exhibits and education programs (as well as free admission for all) make it an essential stop for culture vultures. It's also the only art museum in the country with a ski rack out front (at least that we know of!). Note: presently, the museum has new guidelines for timed, scheduled admission.
The busy summer season of fine arts, ballet, theater, film, live music and speakers series continue right into the winter, with some programming and venue changes. And don't forget the uniquely winter offerings, too, like touring a historic ghost town on snowshoe, or screening contenders for the "Best Picture" Oscars with some of the Academy's voting members.
Below is your comprehensive guide to arts and culture in Aspen Snowmass this winter season.
Aspen Historical Society
Much of Aspen's remarkable history is preserved thanks to the Aspen Historical Society. Pay a visit to the Wheeler / Stallard Museum in downtown, explore the Ranching Museum, or head out of town and tour an intriguing duo of ghost towns — Ashcroft and Independence — on snowshoes.
Aspen Art Museum
Aspen Music Festival And School
Since its inception in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School has made our town a magnet for the world's best classically trained musicians and performers. Winter programming — which will be adjusted for pandemic guidelines — will likely include some amazing musical talent, as it always does.
Belly Up Aspen
It's safe to say that Belly Up Aspen is an icon in the live-music industry. How else can you explain the ridiculous concert lineup this small venue downtown draws each year? From electronic music like Flight Facilities to the folk duo James Town Revival, artists of many genres will be performing here this summer.
Aspen Film hosts three major film festivals a year in the heart of Aspen. Two of the highlights, Academy Screenings and their Oscar®-qualifying Shortsfest take place during the winter season. Academy Screenings spotlights the year's contenders for the Oscars® and more. Aspen Shortsfest, an Oscar®-qualifying festival, is recognized as one of the premier short-film festivals in North America and will take place April 6-11, 2021 at the historic Wheeler Opera House, as well as online.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Artists from around the globe flock to this art center off Owl Creek Road because of its multi-discipline, contemporary art workshops and events. For the time being, much of the programming has moved to virtual. Learn more from their website.
Red Brick Center For The Arts
This unique arts center in a repurposed red-brick schoolhouse in downtown Aspen presents arts education and experiential arts programs year-round. While classes and workshops have been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, the gallery is available for viewing by scheduled appointment.
Formerly known as the Aspen Writers' Foundation, Aspen Words has become a platform for aspiring writers to hone their craft through special programs, events featuring prominent contemporary authors and poets, and writer-in-residence programs. This seasons programs will be entirely virtual.
The Aspen Institute
A center for thought-leaders, intellectuals, dignitaries, world leaders and innovators, the Aspen Institute hosts numerous events worldwide. Here in its hometown, its signature event is the Aspen Ideas Festival in summer, but winter includes many compelling speakers as well, including the popular sessions entitled "Great Books."
Jazz Aspen Snowmass
What started as a three-day festival in 1991 has blossomed into a year-round cultural event centered on jazz performances as well as music education. Jas Café at The Little Nell is a popular stage for touring modern jazz artists, and the Jas Student Showcase brings the Roaring Fork Valley's most promising young musicians to the fore. Visit their website for the latest information on the upcoming season.
Aspen’s newest and only resident dance company, DanceAspen was founded in 2021 when the dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet came together to continue to bring high-caliber performing arts to the Roaring Fork Valley. With dancers from around the globe, Dance Aspen brings power, grace, and emotion to the stage.
Wheeler Opera House
Aspen's grandest and most historic performing arts venue remains this jewel from 1889. Throughout the year, the Wheeler Opera House hosts concerts, stand-up comedy, film festivals and other events that draw an audience from far and wide. It also serves as one of the host venues for the Academy Screenings in December (see above).
Local Live Music At Ullr Nights & The Limelight Hotel
Once a week through the winter season, Snowmass' Elk Camp plays host to a family-friendly event complete with night tubing, the new Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, excellent food, and lots and lots of live music on the mountain.
We could all use a little more light in our lives these days. And now, when the lifts close at Snowmass, things really brighten up. Snowmass Luminescence, an interactive art and light display brought to you by Snowmass Tourism and Aspen Snowmass, will immerse you and your family in a dazzling world of light and art.
Art on the Mountain
Throughout our resort, you will find art installations that celebrate the way Aspen rejuvenates our mind, body and spirit. Whether its the colorful mural at Elk Camp Restaurant (pictured), our annual art on our lift tickets, or Walter Niedermayr's numerous Aspen Series photographic installations, you'll regularly discover "art in unexpected places."