Plan tweaked for Basalt performing arts center after loss of The Temporary
The Aspen Times
THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
A group called The Arts Center At Willits has a vision for a performing arts center in Basalt.
It operated a temporary facility called The Temporary.
Now it is pursuing phase one of a permanent facility. It will be called The Contemporary.
The vision remains to build another phase for a facility called The Permanent.
A group pursuing a performing arts center in Basalt has downsized its initial plan so it can raise funds and start construction sooner.
The Arts Campus At Willits, also known as TACAW, aims to start construction on the first phase of its permanent arts center this fall and open one year later, according to executive director Ryan Honey.
“We’re committed to moving ahead,” he said.
TACAW has always intended to build a performing arts center known as The Permanent in Basalt. It has leased land along Willits Lane from the town government for the center.
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In the meantime, TACAW has operated a temporary performing arts center in rented space in Willits Town Center. That facility was named, appropriately enough, The Temporary. It was forced to close April 30 when owner and landlord Platform Ventures terminated the lease. The company said it has arranged to sell the space.
So, instead of sticking to the plan to pursue all the funds needed to build The Permanent, TACAW’s staff and board of directors decided to build the performing arts center in phases. The first phase will be known as The Contemporary. The name represents a transition step between The Temporary and The Permanent.
The Contemporary will feature a multipurpose theater capable of accommodating 240 people seated or 400 standing. The 8,900-square-foot building also will have a lobby, a kitchen for catering and teaching, a community/rehearsal room, a covered outdoor terrace and office space.
“We’re not moving forward (right now) on phase two, which includes the larger theater,” Honey said.
The Contemporary will be 35% larger and better organized than The Temporary, Honey said. Artistic director Marc Breslin said the bigger venue will allow him to pursue more big-name acts.
TACAW’s goal is to raise the funds for The Contemporary this spring and summer and break ground in October. It will take an estimated 12 months to construct the facility, so the opening is eyed for October 2020, according to Honey.
Honey and Breslin said they have heard from a lot of people who are disappointed that The Temporary has closed. People appreciated having such a facility in the midvalley and they witnessed how it added vitality.
“Our whole thing is, we’re trying to build community,” Honey said.
They are optimistic that the loss of The Temporary will spur financial support for The Contemporary.
“I think closing is a blessing in disguise,” Breslin said. “We have wind at our backs.”
While the Temporary’s last events in the venue were in April, TACAW will present numerous midvalley events this summer, Breslin said. It will book all the bands that play free concerts on Wednesday nights at downtown Basalt and Willits, he said. It also will present several individual events, from street parties to ad hoc parties.
“Basically we’re doing random acts of culture,” Honey quipped.
The Romero Group, the owner and manager of some of the Willits Town Center property, contributed office space for Honey and his staff in the upper floor of the building where The Temporary was located. Getting that space is a huge help in continuing to organize events and pursue funds for The Contemporary, Honey said.
While any financial contribution is welcome, Honey is currently pursuing “transformative gifts” — also known as big contributions — for The Contemporary. A community-wide fundraising effort will be launched later.
Phasing in a new facility proved successful for another nonprofit in Basalt recently. The Roaring Fork Conservancy scaled back the first phase of its River Center and was able to raise the funds needed for the office and educational center. It opened in August.
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