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All work but all play.

The Anderson Ranch teaches you how to work your fingers to the bone while having the time of your life.

Each summer at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado, men, women, ,and children eschew the usual sightseeing Western vacation and instead master new skills taught by respected artists-experts in woodworking, ceramics, painting, printmaking, and photography.

The rustic enclave is surrounded by Snowmass Resort, originally conceived as a winter playground for skiers but now a year-round vacation destination. In addition to the programs at the ranch, visitors can take advantage of cultural events, hiking, fishing, rafting, tennis, horseback riding, golf, swimming, biking, jeeping-even early-morning rides in hotair balloons. There's no shortage of things to do, just time in which to do them.

The center is situated in the upper part of Brush Creek Valley, surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks of the Elk Range of the Rocky Mountains. At an elevation of 8,200 feet, the air is crisp and clear with cool nights and crystalline days frequently marked by midafternoon summer showers.

Anderson Ranch's eclectic combination of well-weathered buildings once formed a working sheep farm, and workshops are housed in converted buildings whose humble origins were as barns, stables, sheds, and log cabins. The Fischer Photography Center-4,700 square feet-the Lyeth/Lyon Kiln Building, and the new 10,000-foot-square Wyly dormitory with adjoining cafeteria and dining hall provide exceptions to the rule.

The photography class headed by William Albert Allard has students running from first light to dusk, and this same effort is evident in other workshops. Potter's wheels whir into the night, and shavings fly from the workbenches of the woodworkers at all hours. But the general mood is one of relaxation and renewal, of challenges met and overcome.

Unfettered by the adult strivings, the children behave as children do the world over-energetically and joyously splashing paint on paper or quietly listening to their teachers while lessons in observation discreetly masquerade as stories.

The ranch attracts a broad spectrum of students with a variety of ages, occupations, and hometowns. One businessman came back for his second course in furniture making. Working on a footstool, he mused, "My father was killed when I was very young, and I never got the opportunity to learn from him. This fills the gap and gives me a lot of satisfaction."

A woman attended her first ceramics workshop during her family's vacation in nearby Aspen"Working on the wheel provides me with a relaxing diversion," she said. "My husband and the boys enjoy being in the mountains, and I get a respite from my studies toward a master's degree."

In spite of the students' wide geographical distribution, travel to the ranch was not difficult. Snowmass Village, about 200 miles west of Denver, is easily accessible by plane or car. Aspen airport, 7 miles from the village, is served from Denver by United Express (Aspen Airways) or Continental Express.
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Title Annotation:Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado
Author:Moore, Sally
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1988
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