About the Catto Center at Toklat
The Catto Center at Toklat was once the family home of one of ACES’ most influential founders, Stuart Mace, and holds great meaning for the Aspen community. Toklat, an Inuit word meaning “headwaters,” was built by Stuart and and his wife Isabel in 1948 as a wilderness lodge and family home. The early dog sledding trips, the pristine sub-alpine environment, and tall tales told around the hearth in the evening drew both locals and visitors from all over the world.
In 2004, with the help of long-time ACES supporters Jessica Hobby Catto and her husband Henry, ACES bought Toklat to preserve Stuart’s legacy and this community touchstone. The Catto Center at Toklat is located near the headwaters of Castle Creek in a dramatic landscape and serves as a gathering place for cultural and ecological discourse.
Artist-in-Residence Program: Elena Gonzalez Ruiz
Elena Gonzalez Ruiz and her family have been an integral part of the Catto Center at Toklat even before it became an ACES' site. A native of Oaxaca, Mexico, Elena has been a long-standing Artist-in-Residence at the Catto Center at Toklat, traveling back to the Castle Creek valley each summer. Elena contributes to ACES’ mission by providing educational opportunities related to traditional and environmentally-responsible textile production.
Through interactions with visitors at the Catto Center at Toklat and presenting daily Cochinilla Color Demonstrations, Elena teaches the art of weaving and dyeing as her indigenous community has sustainably practiced for generations in the Oaxacan region of Mexico. Elena's community has successfully fostered a thriving textile industry while protecting and nourishing its natural resources, specifically its vast and critical watershed.
Elena fulfills critical environmental education roles at the Catto Center at Toklat. Additionally, Elena and her family generously donate 5% of Oacaxan weaving sales to ACES' Kids Naturalist Field School scholarship program. The Gonzalez family's unique, original Oaxacan woven rugs are available for purchase at the Catto Center at Toklat during the summer months.