ARTWORK > Written in the Trees

Written in the Trees is a Kickstarter campaign for an open-air meditation temple made from glass suspended in the forest at Beyul Retreat. The campaign runs 30 days: February 9-March 11. You're invited to join the creative journey:



Skye Gallery to Host Launch Party for “Written in the Trees” Project on Feb 9

Feb. 9, 2022 (Aspen, Colo.) A trio of local art makers — Skye Gallery, Beyul Retreat and artist Lara Whitley — are inviting the community to join them on a creative mission to build a glass meditation temple in the forest for all to enjoy. On Wednesday, February 9, from 5pm to 7pm, Skye Gallery will host a launch party for the “Written in the Trees'' project, with Whitley, Beyul team members, and gallery founder Skye Weinglass, to introduce the project and its makers and to announce a matching grant initiative. Whitley will participate in an artist conversation with the Beyul crew, who will also host a DJ and serve their famous apple cider hot toddies. The event is free and open to the public.

While the collaborators have worked together in pairs on various art initiatives (including Imagine Climate; Roaring Stories; collaborations with artists Spencer Hansen and Heather Hansen at both the gallery and at Beyul; and more), the Skye Gallery launch party will be their first three-way program. It’s a natural convening for the triad who share a belief in the restorative power of art and nature.

The Project
“Written in the Trees” is an open-air meditation temple made of mountain glass conceived by Whitley, an Aspen artist who creates contemplative spaces in nature using glass she forages in the mountains. A 2021 Aspen Art Museum Artistic Fellow, Whitley’s work was most recently featured in the Aspen Space Station, an immersive art experience on the backside of Aspen Mountain led by artist Ajax Axe in the summer of 2021.

Whitley harvests glass in abandoned dumping grounds from the mining era, before there were modern landfills. Her finds are the hard bits that have endured for more than 100 years: metal, pottery and bottles, which she calls “mountain glass.” It’s like sea glass, but tumbled by gravity and dirt, instead of waves and water. She uses these materials as the basis for her sculptures and installations.

“Written in the Trees” will be Whitley’s most impactful project to date, a long-term outdoor installation, 18 by 25 by 20 feet in size, located at Beyul, a 32-acre retreat center above Reudi Reservoir that offers programs to reconnect with nature, community, and self. The collaborators hope to install “Written in the Trees” in May, as soon as the snow clears. “Written in the Trees” will be a part of Beyul’s “art path,” designed by artist Heather Hansen during an artist residency last summer.

Free Public Access
“Written in the Trees” will be sited along the 10th Mountain Trail, which transects Beyul land, providing access to art and space for contemplation for residents and visitors of the Upper Frying Pan River Valley. Its unique location on a public trail easement ensures that the forest temple will remain free and open to the community.

Goal: Positive Mental Health Outcomes
The goal of the project is to create a listening room in the woods: a space to listen to one’s innermost thoughts and to listen to the forest. Whitley’s installation last summer at the Aspen Space Station provided proof of concept as well as useful data for “Written in the Trees”: visitors spent an average of 15 minutes in the installation and emerged with positive mental health outcomes that the artist documented. As one visitor said after visiting the shrine: "I felt more at peace, more in tune with my surroundings, and better aware of my own mind in that moment. A moment of meditation.”

With "Written in the Trees," Whitley and Beyul hope to continue to build sacred spaces in nature and share these transformative experiences with the community. The artist looks forward to welcoming school children to the site for mindfulness and hiking field trips and to collaborating with community groups on programming. She is in talks with the Aspen Indigenous Foundation, The Art Base, and Carbondale Arts, among others. The Beyul Team plans to offer guided meditations, rituals and ceremonies at the Forest Spiral.

“Written in the Trees” is part of Beyul’s art vision: to put art, culture and music at the forefront of their mission. They’ve hosted multiple artist residencies at the retreat center in the last year and have begun to curate a number of land-art installations on the property. “Written in the Trees” is their third artistic collaboration of 2022, including projects with Spencer Hansen and Rising Appalachia scheduled for next month.

Skye Gallery is located at 535 E. Cooper Avenue in Aspen and welcomes visitors 10am - 8pm daily or by appointment. The gallery is currently showing “Anima,” a solo exhibition by Spencer Hansen. More at learn about Beyul Retreat, visit:

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