Sep 25


ASPEN, Colo. – On October 12, two iconic mountain towns and sister cities — Aspen and Bariloche, Argentina — will renew their bond through art, as the exhibition “Common Ground” opens featuring artists Soledad Escudero from Bariloche and Deborah Jones of the Roaring Fork Valley (RFV). The two-person show is the latest collaboration between the Sister Cities Arts + Culture Exchange Program and the Red Brick Center for the Arts (RBCA) and a celebration of almost ten years of art exchange between the two alpine communities. The exhibition will take place at the RBCA’s West Gallery with an artists’ reception from 5 to 7pm. Both artists will be present for the event, which is free and open to the public. Escudero will preview this event during an artist talk on October 10 at 5:30pm at The Art Base in Basalt.

The artists’ shared love of the natural world is evident in “Common Ground,” an organic byproduct of living, visiting and working in places where the landscape is as much an inspiration and presence as it is a community identity. “As both artists’ works are influenced by the natural environments where they live, the exhibition allows viewers to consider the uniqueness of each of the artist’s interpretation of and relationship with the landscape in Argentina,” said Sarah Roy, executive director of the RBCA. Escudero will present works that show her performances “in search of a spiritual and physical connection with nature, through scents, textures and sounds, becoming one.” Jones’ series of mixed media artwork, entitled “Images of Argentina 2023,” explores her relationship with nature, memory and wonder influenced by her time in Argentina. 

“It is very inspiring to see what happens when people from different communities with similar interests and passions come together in these exchanges: artists sharing ideas and perspectives; exploring beauty; learning about other cultures and their own; and creating friendships that grow year to year,” said Lala Caffarone, Aspen-Bariloche Sister Cities Co-coordinator. 

“The Red Brick Center for the Arts and the Sister Cities Arts + Culture Exchange program share similar missions and belief in the power of art to foster learning, understanding, and inspiration,” added Roy.

The Arts + Culture Exchange Program with Bariloche began in 2014 as an initiative by RFV artist Missy Prudden and Bariloche artist Paula Fischer.  The cultural exchange is a natural extension of the Aspen Sister Cities (ASC) organization established in 1966, whose mission is to share ideas and cultures through the international exchange of students and community members — including doctors, ski patrollers, adaptive ski instructors and artists — from Aspen and the greater RFV. Through these exchanges ASC supports the Sister Cities International mission statement of promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation- one individual, one community at a time. In 2002, Aspen City Council unanimously voted to add Bariloche to its roster of sister cities around the world, currently including Abetone, Italy; Chamonix, France; Davos, Switzerland; Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany; Queenstown, New Zealand; and Shimakappu, Japan. 

As a part of the Arts + Culture Exchange, each year a local artist travels to Bariloche and/or the local organization hosts an artist from Bariloche. Jones and Escudero are the most recent artists to make the 6,000-mile round trip, with Jones visiting Bariloche in September 2022 and meeting Escudero, who will arrive in early October for a two-week residency. They are the twelfth and thirteenth artists to have participated in exchanges.

The exchange program is 100% volunteer-led and community-based. A small team of volunteers at each destination organizes the exchange for the visiting artist and arranges exhibition, workshop, sightseeing, and community engagement opportunities for them. Artists pay for their own transportation; are hosted at family homestays, meals and events; conduct classes and talks; show and sometimes sell their artwork; and meet with local art makers within the community they are visiting.

Friendship is one of the highest goals — and true outcomes — of the program. “It is about the people that you get to meet, their kindness and generosity that is contagious, and those meaningful moments that touch each participant in a special way,” said Caffarone. 

Bariloche artist Valeria Fiala is one example of an exchange participant who will make a return trip to the RFV, deeping and expanding the ties between the communities. As a 2022 participant, Fiala came to the valley for a two-month residency that included spearheading The Art Base’s “Home” program, an annual art exhibition that explores migrant students’ sense of home — past, present and future. Fiala will return this November to again lead the collaborative effort between Basalt High School, The Art Base and the Sister Cities Arts + Culture Exchange Program.

For the first time the Arts + Culture Exchange Program is  also offering an “Art in Nature” retreat in Patagonia, another programmatic deep dive into “the natural world as source for creative inspiration.” Registration is open now for the one-week retreat, which will take place April 9-16, 2024 near Bariloche. The adventure in creativity spans art classes led by RFV and Bariloche artists (including local watercolor painters Missy Prudden and Amy Beidelman), along with mountain lodging and cultural exchanges.

The ASC Arts + Culture Exchange with Bariloche  is made possible thanks to the support of the Aspen Sister Cities Program, The Art Base, the Red Brick Center for the Arts, and the Asociación Artistas Plásticos Bariloche. To learn more and to register for the “Art in Nature” retreat, visit

Artist Statement: Deborah Jones

Images of Argentina 2023  is a series of mixed media pieces that are my response to a variety of experiences while visiting Argentina in September 2022. This was my first trip to South America and I arrived with anticipation and much excitement. I was there both as a first-time visitor and as a visiting artist as part of the Sister Cities Arts + Culture Exchange Program. I took a number of photographs with the intention of using them as a reference for future art-making. I was enthralled with every cracked sidewalk, the otherworldly vegetation, the vintage feel of a well-worn country, a shadow here, a scrape on a table there, and the artists and artifacts of the present and past. These pieces are evidence of my deep connection with the people, the culture, and the environment encompassing the love of one’s homeland and of a foreign country capturing a sense of an unforgettable experience. To learn more, visit and follow her on Instagram @chichimarple.

Artist Statement: Soledad Escudero

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961. I studied printmaking at St Anne Fine Arts School in Buenos Aires, while attending Kenneth Kemble’s art studio. In 1985 I settled in Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina, and worked as an English and Art teacher. Since 2010, I have attended seminars and workshops by renowned curators and artists, such as Claudio Ongaro Haelterman, Rodrigo Alonso, Florencia Battiti and Daniel Fischer, among others.
I have also performed in Musicals for children and taken drama lessons. My work was shown in Bariloche many times, in Buenos Aires as well as various cities of Argentina, in Málaga, Spain and in Berlín, Germany where I was awarded the Lufthansa City Centre Prize. I have also given lectures and workshops in Bariloche and performed in private and public venues. I belong to the Artists’ Association in Bariloche and I’m involved in several groups of Artists such as “Tres a la Deriva” (Three Adrift), “5 en Transito” and “Iceberg.” As a cultural manager, with “Agua Viva” (a contemporary art platform) we organized seminars and workshops in Bariloche. I couldn’t define myself as an artist in any specific discipline, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation or printmaking… although these last years I feel engaged in textile art and performance, connected to nature and the wild outdoors. I enjoy trekking in the woods and in the mountains that surround me. I perform in search of a spiritual and physical connection with the natural world through scents, textures and sounds, becoming one with nature. Follow Soledad Escudero on Instagram @escuderosoleu and Facebook @Soledad Escudero.

About The Author