4.26.19 Ed Pick – Photo courtesy Red Brick Center for the Arts

Speaking of kids (see our cover story), this Wednesday, May 1, marks the opening of ArtStart at the Red Brick Center for the Arts. An exhibition featuring Aspen elementary and middle school students from Aspen Country Day, Aspen Community School, Aspen Elementary and Aspen Middle School, ArtStart gives kids a taste of what it’s like to have their work hanging in a real gallery.

“It’s special for a child,” said Red Brick Executive Director Sarah Roy. “I see it on their faces at the opening or during the exhibition when they come in and they’re dragging their parents down the hall, like, ‘Come find my piece!’ You can just tell how excited they are and how proud they are of the work that they’ve done.”

The opening reception, with many of the student artists, is Wednesday afternoon from 4-6 p.m., and the event, as well as the shared gallery walls and spaces, adds to what Roy sees as a second important function of the show.

“By bringing all of the schools and students together, especially at the opening but then throughout the exhibition, you just realize the wider community that we’re in,” said Roy. “Many of these kids, despite going to different schools, know each other through sports or family friends, so I love when they all come together and it sort of represents the bigger community that we’re all a part of.”

The annual two-week run of the ArtStart exhibition is being sponsored this year by the Buddy Program as part of an ongoing initiative by local nonprofits over the last year to get more involved in the Red Brick’s arts programming.

“A different nonprofit will sponsor each exhibition throughout the year,” said Roy, “and with that sponsorship they participate in the opening and/or they participate in the exhibition in some form. We look for ways that the mission and the program of the nonprofit intersects the mission and the programming of the Red Brick.”

Acting on that, the Buddy Program reached out months ago about sponsoring ArtStart. As Roy remarked, “It’s such a natural fit. Their mission and programming is about supporting youth in our community, and obviously ArtStart is, as well.”

As a result, the exhibition will feature a collaborative project made by buddies little and big from the Buddy Program.

“I don’t know much about their piece,” Roy confessed. “I’m excited to see it and learn more about it.”

The same could probably be said about the dozens of talented young artists from all four schools who will be dragging their parents through a real gallery to come see what they made.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at todd@aspendailynews.com.