Aspen Community School

[su_heading size=”18″]Aspen Community School[/su_heading]

We are interrupting our tangent on food, champagne and apres-ski to publish this article written by Lara Whitley, an artist and editor who lives in Aspen with her husband and two sons. Lara is working hard to spread awareness for the I Believe Campaign, a campaign to build a new school for the Aspen Community School, a public charter school that focuses on experiential learning and individualized teaching.

ACS is located on a breathtaking campus outside of Aspen and it is open to anybody based on a lottery system. What makes this school so special? As the school Principal, Jim Gilchrist says, “It’s the interception of passionate people with deep ideas, coming together to make a hand crafted education, and it works.”

The Aspen Community School has a Standout Arts Program (Article by Lara Whitley):

Besides our curly locks and love of the mountains, Jillian and I have something else in common. We are both fortunate to have our boys attend the Aspen Community School, and we share a passion for the unique educational opportunities that this K-8 public charter school offers.

One of them is the school’s standout arts program. It is a triple whammy of visual arts theater and music instruction, underpinned by local artists who come in to work with the kids for six-week intensives, and an impressive roster of national artists who pop into the school’s weekly “All School Meeting.” The award-winning program has not gone without notice; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts honored it as a National School of Distinction. When you learn about the school’s integrated arts curriculum and dedicated class time in the arts that more than double the national average, it’s hard not to see why.

Aspen Community School All School Meeting

Likewise, it should come as no surprise that artist families are drawn to this school. So when the school decided to hold a fundraiser to help replace its aging facilities, it turned to the high-quality arts, and artists, right in their backyard.

And thus the “I Believe in Art” online auction at was born. Featuring 90+ original and unique contemporary artworks — including selections from the renowned art collection of The Little Nellthe auction is underway now through this Friday at noon. The sale showcases artworks by boldfaced names such as Karl Hollinger, Thomas Benton, Mark Cesark, Kris Cox, and Jody Guralnick among its assembly of dozens of artists who have donated pieces. In the final countdown, there are still great deals on extraordinary art to be found.

I Believe Art Auction

And that’s good news. Because while ACS is one of the highest-performing schools in Colorado (in both academics and the arts), the school is also one of the lowest-performing facilities in the state. In fact, the school’s facilities rank near the bottom 1% of all 1,689 public schools in the state system.


Thankfully, the state took note and awarded ACS a BEST challenge grant of $4.2M (Building Excellent Schools Today), but only if the school can raise its match by May 1. Art auction bidders will help raise funds towards this raise-it-or-lose-it challenge to rebuild the school campus. Thanks to the generosity of participating artists and sponsors, 100 percent of proceeds will benefit the campus campaign and will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the State of Colorado. All winning bids, less the retail value of the artworks, are tax-deductible.

Bid today on extraordinary art and benefit an extraordinary school and its students.

Learn more about Lara Whitley at



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