Smart Vacations

Snowmass Village, Colorado

Creative Paradise at an Artists' Community.

This is the place to go if you fantasize about spending a week with your family painting, sculpting, or snapping photos. Anderson Ranch, an artists' community nestled in the Rocky Mountains, is a veritable beehive of creative energy each summer, when it offers more than 100 workshops for adults and children ages 6 and up. Adults (including those with no artistic experience) can take classes in ceramics, watercolors, woodworking, or art history. Kids can enroll in classes such as "Global Art: Exploring the Art of Other Cultures," "Wild Animal Art," or "Bookmaking and Storytelling."

Ginny Bishop, a mother of six in Littleton, CO, has taken her three oldest children (now 10, 9, and 7) every summer for the last three years, mostly because she's so impressed by the caliber of the creative types on campus. Past visiting artists have included the performance artist Laurie Anderson, painters Red Grooms and Jim Dine, and Japanese ceramist Takashi Nakazato. "When you're there, you're literally walking among artists," says Bishop. Even better, she adds, the artists who teach children's classes "are really invested in the kids."

Anderson Ranch's setting alone is a work of art. Located 10 miles from Aspen, the community is housed on a former cattle and sheep ranch. Many of the studios were once barns or three-sided sheep sheds -- which means that one wall is missing, with Rocky Mountain views in its place.

There's limited housing at the Ranch, but the center offers nearby condominium apartments to families. Two-bedroom condos are $1,050 per week. Adult weeklong classes start at $395. Children's classes start at $125. For more information, call 970-923-3181 or visit www.andersonranch.org.

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