The Aspen Chapel Gallery is kicking off 2022 with the return of its high school art show.
Titled “5 x 17,” the show will feature artwork by 85 local students across five different high schools in the Roaring Fork Valley, marking the 231st consecutive exhibition since the gallery opened 36 years ago. Opening Saturday with a reception for the young artists from 3-5 p.m., the show runs through Feb. 12 at the gallery, which is located in the Aspen Chapel.
The five participating high schools this year include Aspen High School, Basalt High School, Roaring Fork High School, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and Glenwood Springs High School. Seventeen students from each of the schools were selected by their art teachers to present a piece in the show — which is where the title “5 x 17” comes from, according to Tom Ward, co-founder and director of the gallery.
With last year’s high school show canceled due to COVID-19, Ward is proud to enter the new year with the return student programming.
“This is the first show of the new year, and we’re scheduled for the full year going out,” Ward said. “The boxes have been coming in, and the students’ artwork is across all art forms, from two- to three-dimensional pieces.”
While the displayed artwork is not for sale and must be returned to the students’ portfolios after the exhibit ends, anyone can adopt a piece of art for $25 to support and benefit the valley’s high school art programs.
Of each $25 adoption, 75% is donated evenly across the five participating high school art departments, Ward said, and there is no limit on the amount of adoptions per piece. The remaining 25% of a donation goes toward production of the show and other Aspen Chapel Gallery programming.
“If all 85 pieces are adopted, we could give over $300 to each high school art department,” Ward said. “It adds up pretty quickly.”
The adoption component was first implemented in the 2020 high school show, making this the second year that the gallery is raising donations through the exhibit.
“This was new two years ago, and because we don’t sell the work, we decided that we could give money back to the high school art programs by doing an adoption,” Ward said. “Last time, in early 2020, it was a busier time before COVID with people coming into church and to visit the gallery, and we were able to give around $400 to each high school art program.”
Ward mentioned how many years ago, the Aspen Chapel Gallery put on a high school art show that featured works solely by students of Aspen High School. Following a hiatus, he said, the high school art show started back up in 2018. Given the gallery’s space and community-driven operations, the curation team started inviting all of the high schools within the Roaring Fork Valley to participate in the show.
“What we do is we organize the show by school and section the artwork around the room that way, so it’s clear and makes it easier for us to keep track,” Ward said.
In efforts to lift responsibility and stress from the teachers’ backs, Ward and Michael Bonds, fellow curator and co-director of the gallery, …….