The Aspen Art Museum is a contemporary art museum located in Aspen, Colorado in the United States. It is a non-collecting museum, or kunsthalle, which means it does not have a permanent collection. Instead, the Aspen Art Museum features rotating exhibits, which allows it to display the newest works of art. The museum first opened in 1979 and has offered exhibits and events ever since. It first operated in a 9,000-square-foot (about 836-square-meter) building, with plans to move to a larger building. As of 2011, the museum offers free admission.
Exhibits at the Aspen Art Museum usually last for only a few months before being taken down. Some exhibits are on display for only a month. The mission of the museum is to present the most important and newest developments in international contemporary art. In addition to exhibitions, the Aspen Art Museum also offers lectures and events. Every year, the museum hosts an event called ArtCrush, which is a week-long auction and social event designed to raise money for the museum.
The museum holds an architecture lecture series annually that discusses the importance of public architecture. The architecture lectures are free and open to the public. In addition to the architecture series, the museum also hosts the Questrom lecture series, which delves more deeply into the art on display. Other lectures attempt to demystify contemporary art or explore the exhibits in the museum's gallery more closely.
The Aspen Art Museum also hosts art workshops designed for families. The workshops give adults and children a chance to experiment with collage, sculpture, and other art forms. Like admission to the museum, the workshops are offered free of charge. There's also a Fourth of July parade yearly that is targeted toward families.
The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Only four museums in the state of Colorado have accreditation. The Aspen Art Museum is the only one on the Western Slope to have accreditation.
Since 1979, the museum has been in a converted historic hydroelectric plant, located just outside the city of Aspen. The building is 9,000 square feet (about 836 square meters), which the museum has outgrown. Plans are in the works to construct a building with 12,500 square feet (about 1,161 square meters) of exhibit space as well as a garden on the roof, a cafeteria, and a museum shop. While the current building is outside of the city, the new one will be located in downtown Aspen.