Philanthropist Jamie Tisch On Aspen, Art And Why She Gives Back

Jamie TischPhoto Credit: Nick Tininenko

Philanthropist Jamie Tisch, co-founder of the entertainment industry’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, sat down with Haute Living to talk about Pitkin Projects, the concept gallery she opened during the pandemic that features an eclectic collective of artists and artisans from all over the United States, Mexico, Italy, the UK, Colombia, Spain, Netherlands, and more and co-chairing ArtCrush, an annual charitable event held each August by the Aspen Art Museum in celebration of art and artists whose creativity and vision have the greatest impact on the field of contemporary art.

Jamie TischPhoto Credit: Nick Tininenko

In terms of your personal collection, when did you start collecting and why?

I started collecting contemporary art when I moved to Los Angeles. It’s there where I met with some amazing artists who inspired me. Each showed me a different perspective on how to look at things and perceive art, everything ranging from my upbringing in the south to today’s current events.

You call Aspen home. Give us a little insight into your day to day life and your love for the city.

I have a deep love for Aspen. My children grew up coming to Aspen and consider it a second home. I knew from my first visit that I would always come back. I spent a gap year here after college and I have been coming to Aspen ever since. I worked all kinds of jobs here —from Fanny Hill lift tickets to hostessing at the Hard Rock Cafe. After I moved to Los Angeles, I continued to visit several times a year until I bought my first home here in 2004.

Your Aspen based store, Pitkin Projects, has completely taken off and allows local and global artists to showcase their work. Tell us about your vision behind the store, how it got its start and what shoppers can expect.

Working as the co-chair of the Aspen Art Museum’s ArtCrush benefit, I was inspired and knew it was time to take on a new project. I reached out to friends, artists and associates that I had worked with to curate an eclectic mix of work. I reached out to Lisa Eisner, Brett Heyman (Edie Parker), David Netto, Gregory Parkinson, Salon 94 Design, Meredith Darrow, Friedman Benda and many more incredible talents, with the goal of fostering a collaborative design-concept gallery environment. The doors opened in July of 2020 as with the goal of continuing through Labor Day. We were overwhelmed by the reception. By the end of August, I decided that the concept deserved to live on as its own entity. PP features a collective of eclectic products from local, U.S.-based, Mexican, European, New Zealand and Colombian artists and more.

  Jamie TischPhoto Credit: Nick Tininenko


With travel on pause during the pandemic, how were you able to curate the global pieces for the shop?

Travel has been on pause but artists work has not. I have worked via FaceTime with most artists abroad and in the states. I am able to walk them through to show them how their work would “live” organically in our space. I have also been able to do many “virtual” studio visits which have worked well.

You’re taking the store on the road. Tell us about the concept for your pop up and where it will “pop up.”

Details are still being finalized regarding my next Aspen location. I still have a bit more to iron out but I’m excited to be scoping out another location as well as helping to curate for a couple of other shops. I think these amazing artists will be great to showcase in a new city!

You just co-chaired ArtCrush. Tell us about your involvement and what you hoped the event will achieve?

This year’s ArtCrush was a huge success, raising more money than ever before! I’m always excited to help in some way to raise money for the Aspen Art Museum. Outside of incredible museum programming, the institution has wonderful Programing for schools in a 250 mile radius that would otherwise not have access to art.

Jamie Tisch
Jamie Tisch and Mary Weatherford

Photo Credit: BFA/Owen Kolinski

Were there any specific pieces you had your eye on from this year’s ArtCrush live auction?

I am sad to say I was outbid on the Vaugh Spann, the Rita Ackerman and the Mary Weatherford! I have to up my game next year!

Why do you give back? Why is it so personally important to you, and when did your background in philanthropy start? What sparked it?

Giving back is extremely important to me and has been for decades. I co-founded the Women’s Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) which is a program of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The WCRF mobilizes the influential entertainment community to raise critical funds. I am working on something new for WCRF that several Pitkin Projects vendors have said they would like to participate in. It’s still in the early stages, but I’m excited to have a way to combine two things that I care deeply about.

What is your earliest philanthropic memory/experience?

I entered a “read-a-thon” when I was 11 to raise money for underprivileged kids in Alabama. The contest was sponsored by Paul “Bear “Bryant who was not only a great football coach , but a true leader in the community . I won the contest (having the most sponsors and most books read). I remember what a great feeling that was to be able to raise money for those in need.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

The greatest gift in life is being able to travel and spend time with my family.

Jamie Tisch
Bethany Williams, Sarah Zilkha, Jamie Tisch, Christine Heller

Photo Credit: BFA/Owen Kolinski