The Christmas trees are coming down, the performance stage is up and on Friday, David Dyer’s piano is slated for delivery to The Collective, the town of Snowmass Village-owned building that is host to an eclectic array of activities this winter.
Following a December debut featuring a pop-up holiday market on the main floor and Camp SmashBox on the lower level, a schedule is taking shape for the rest of the winter months. The Collective will close April 1 as construction crews finish the approximately 8,700-square-foot building designed by Harry Teague Architects to accommodate a restaurant, game room, flex space and an Ice Age discovery center.
In the meantime, people seeking warmth from the cold start to January, working parents looking for a lively yet unstructured day for their kids, and shoppers who may want to sip a glass of wine while browsing the holiday market have created a hub for vitality and Snowmass community events.
The Collective, long known as Building 6 in the Base Village plan, came into the town’s ownership as partial mitigation for development approvals by former owner Related Cos.
Related’s Base Village assets were sold to a partnership of Aspen Skiing Co., KSL Capital and East West Partners in December 2016 for $56.5 million. East West took the lead in developing the core of this phase of the base area development and in 18 months completed the Limelight Hotel, Lumin building, the plaza area and The Collective, all of which debuted Dec. 15.
“We’re trying to create a pulse here,” said Sara Halferty, who is curating The Collective’s activities and art on behalf of East West, the building’s manager. “We want this to be the heart and soul of the community,” she said Thursday morning.
Downstairs, children enrolled in Camp SmashBox were creating art with beads while others were playing four square with director Ben Belinski, a senior at Middlebury College. The camp, open to ages 5-12, has operated out of the building since Dec. 26 in a partnership that continues until the building closes for construction in April.
Started in 2011 by Kara and Adam Gilbert, Camp SmashBox has been based out of the Snowmass Chapel, where Kara is the children, youth and family director. The camp returns to the chapel located on Owl Creek Road this summer “and we are so grateful for their partnership, space and support,” she said.
The camp’s philosophy was borne out of a four-month wilderness trip the Gilberts once took; they believe unstructured and un-plugged playtime is the way to go. “Creative outdoor play is so important,” Kara Gilbert said. “All the literature shows kids have lost nine hours of unstructured play time every week.”
The directors ask that campers leave their electronic devices at home.
When the moment strikes, there are snowmen and forts to build, snow bikes to ride, an ice skating rink out the back door and a climbing wall at the new hotel, just a snowball’s throw away. Information:campsmashbox.com .
Venue like The Temporary
Nina Gabianelli was walking up to The Collective on Thursday with a sense of purpose. This season at The Collective she’ll be sharing nature stories through a partnership with ACES to complement a traveling exhibit on the Ute tribe from the Aspen Historical Society. She will also offer Spellbinders storytelling, coordinate an improv show in February and a Crystal Palace revue in March. A schedule of events is available at thecollectivesnowmass.com.
“This kind of space doesn’t exist” in the upper valley, Gabianelli said, pointing out the gap in fluid venues, on the order of The Temporary in the midvalley. It’s something the Wheeler Opera House Board, of which Gabianelli is a member, has discussed.
Inside on this brisk January morning, an artist was inquiring about how to get his work shown on walls that will need animation this winter. Film programs are also on this season’s schedule.
“Art is always going to be a main theme of this building,” Halferty said. That even includes the furniture by online retailer Hayneedle, which sponsors the living room-lounge area that’s open to the public.
Sharing space with the retailers are the Resort Barbers, offering cuts, clips and hot beard shaves. “It’s been wildly popular,” Halferty said. Some days the scent of CODough goods from the deck wafts in the door near the barber chairs.
Lucky are those who seek haircuts during pianist David Dyer’s apres-ski sets on Monday and Tuesday
Discovery center plans revealed Jan. 7
Downstairs in the building, in the permanent space where the camps now take place, are plans for the Ice Age center to showcase the finds from the Ziegler Reservoir dig that began in October 2010 with the discovery of a mastodon bone and would yield more than 5,000 bones, plants and other fossils. Plans for the facility will be shared Jan. 7 with the Snowmass Village Town Council.
The building was originally designed as a museum, but Snowmass Discovery, a 501c(3), had struggled to find a development partner after the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in 2017 declined that role, citing a lack of fundraising capacity for the project.
Michael Miracle, director of community engagement for Aspen Skiing Co., said he plans to present to council on Monday “a high level overview of where the initiative stands. I’ll briefly touch on the big picture programming concepts for the Discovery Center from the museum consultants we have hired,” Miracle wrote in an email.