ASPEN 1952

In the early 1950’s Aspen, Chicago visionaries Walter & Elizabeth Paepke invited great musicians, thinkers, designers and world-leaders from Stravinsky to Schweitzer and more, for creation, reflection & dialogue…the birth of the Aspen Idea: Mind, Body & Spirit. Meanwhile in 1952, the Red Onion (built 1892) quietly achieved international recognition presenting such iconic jazz legends as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown…suggesting that jazz itself was a great American art form and deserved a seat at the table.


Decades later, the JAS Center will be a new, permanent year-round multi-purpose Creative Sanctuary. Imagine live music spilling out into Aspen’s pedestrian core throughout the week. With flexible layout capabilities, the JAS Center is a space for Legendary artists recording albums one week and Music education classes the next. Interspersed between, there will be TED Talk style meetings or gatherings of other community not-for-profits…all seated, standing or both. All these programs will be backed by 21st century broadcast capabilities to fuel wider learning and engage new audiences. The JAS Center will infuse Aspen’s core with new vitality and energy, touching residents & visitors. Re-Imagining the Red Onion and creating a permanent seat at the table for jazz & related forms of music for generations to come.