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Aspen is a little town with a cosmopolitan spirit, and its cultural scene can be traced back to one man: Walter Paepcke. He founded the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Skiing Company in the early 1950s, which transformed the town into an international resort destination and helped to popularize skiing in the United States. Paepcke came up with “the Aspen Idea,” the concept of creating a place for the mind, body and spirit to thrive. That philosophy has expanded over the years to encompass many of Aspen’s cultural organizations, from Theatre Aspen, an independent theater that puts on original productions, and the Aspen Art Museum, which focuses on contemporary art.
Tap into your inner Hemmingway and check out author readings and writing retreats thanks to the Aspen Writers Foundation, or performances at the Aspen Music Festival and School. These organizations are collectively responsible for hosting a bevy of events that keeps the calendar jam-packed with cultural happenings all summer long. It really is enough to rival living in any major city, especially when you consider the quality of art, fashion, food, and wine that is also accessible here.
From art galleries to the acclaimed Aspen Music Festival, Aspen is swimming in culture. With lectures at the Aspen Institute, along with films during the Aspen Film Fest, performances at the historic Wheeler Opera House and late-night acts at the Belly Up, there is no shortage of entertainment. Other favorites include the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the popular theater in the park at Theatre Aspen. The Aspen Art Museum recently broke ground on a new building, which was designed by acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban; and other organizations like the Aspen Center for Physics and the Aspen Writer’s Foundation bring a variety of speakers and programming to town throughout the year.