Camp, art museum, Pitkin County Senior Services collaborated on daylong art program

Article written by Kaya Williams of Aspen Times on June 1, 2022

Around a dozen Pitkin County seniors participated in an all-day arts and crafts experience on Tuesday with a morning art-making activity at the Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Old Snowmass and an afternoon visit to the Aspen Art Museum in downtown Aspen.

The Aspen Camp, Aspen Art Museum and Pitkin County Senior Services collaborated to offer the free program; a grant from the town of Snowmass Village helped fund it.

The idea was inspired in part by Aspen Camp board member Karen Immerso’s own experience with the beginning stages of hearing loss, she told the group Tuesday morning at the camp. Immerso knows sign language already but said the experience is still an “interesting process” that she figured other people dealing with hearing loss might also be navigating.

The camp has already hosted a winter retreat and a job skills training camp this year for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, some of whom traveled from out of state to visit the camp. The aim of Tuesday’s event was to reach people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It doesn’t matter if people have hearing loss or visual challenges or whatever — we want a place that serves this (local) community as well as the deaf and hard of hearing community,” Immerso said.

Ryan Prince, the public programs manager for the Aspen Art Museum, led the art-making activity, which focused on the creation of an interactive scrapbook that would represent themes of time, archives and mapping. Gabriela Galindez, the museum’s new schools, youth and family programs manager, also helped guide participants through the craft.

Those themes are also at the core of the current “Mountain/Time” exhibit at the museum, which features a series of immersive audio visual works.

“Thinking about how all three of those things (time, archives and mapping) connect and are intertwined, it just really can be really a guiding way of living through life, but also just discovering the show and what we’re going to do today,” Prince said.

Participants headed to the museum after lunch to experience the exhibit, with accommodations available for those with hearing loss. The camp has been working with the museum to improve accessibility, according to Immerso.

“It’s super important to the museum and it’s growing more and more and more important to have everything as accessible as possible,” Prince said.

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