As the vice president, operations and business units for Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Ashley Todey has the inside track to the Roarking Fork Valley's artistic scene.
The phrase most people use to describe the Anderson Ranch Arts Center is “life-changing.” This hub of creativity offers a world-class experience with a genuine, casual feel. Ashley Todey, who’s the center’s vice president of operations and business units, says it’s a maker’s paradise. “We bring together aspiring and internationally recognized artists from across the country and around the world to test new ideas, explore new disciplines and techniques, hone their art-making skills, engage in meaningful dialogue and connect with thought leaders and world-renowned collectors, critics and influencers,” she says. She adores the diversity the center attracts too. “In one class, you might have a partnership student from the Chicago High School for the Arts, a CEO of a major corporation and a local Roaring Fork Valley artist. People may come to the Ranch for different reasons, but when you’re here, it’s all about engaging with the community.” Todey, who arrived at the center in 2011, has an impressive résumé, including work at Atlanta’s High Museum, but now feels like a local.
What’s your favorite thing to do outdoors? During the fall, I love hiking the Rim Trail. The views from the top are truly surreal when the leaves are changing. During the winter, I’m often in Snowmass for local clinics. They are a great way for locals to become better skiers and to meet other people living in the area.
Best-kept secret in town? Anderson Ranch. Even people who know us generally only see a slice of the pie. Anderson Ranch offers rich, diverse and abundant opportunities. We have everything from beginner workshops to advanced classes.
Fridays on the Mall
Favorite place to dine around town? The Ranch Cafe [at the center], which is overseen by Director of Culinary Arts and Operations David Wang. We are really fortunate to have Chef David on the Ranch team. He has completely retooled the cafe and is doing some fun and unique things with the menu. This winter, we’ll host a series of special dinners. We also have quick access to a selection of ready-made items inspired by the konbini, or a Japanese convenience shop. Items such as onigiris, bentos and sandos will be available.
What would you suggest to someone looking for a unique experience at the center? Take a workshop at the Ranch. Lifelong learning and being open to trying new things is the key to being a happy, balanced and resilient person. It also allows us to relate to people who are outside of our direct network, which today is more important than ever.
For more Valley insiders, see also: This Local Fine Jewelry Pro Spills Aspen's Best Kept Secrets
Photography by: Portrait courtesy of Anderson Ranch; photos by Elle Logan/courtesy of Aspen Chamber Association