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TACAW leader faces challenges in first months on job

The Arts Campus at Willits in Basalt had a summer full of ups and downs. The group hired its first managing director, Ryan Honey, but also faced lots of drama surrounding its budget and future funding.

Ryan Honey’s background in fundraising made him seem like a good fit for the position at the fledgling arts nonprofit, known as TACAW.


TACAW is a 2.3-acre plot of vacant land where, hopefully, in the next three years, a facility will be built, and performances can start happening. There will be kitchen space, computer labs and performing art spaces.


Honey’s transition into the job hasn't been easy. The first hint of trouble came up when Basalt town officials were reconsidering whether to fund the group. That was in August.


“In Basalt there’s a real need for more performing arts, culinary arts and cinematic arts,” said Honey. “I don’t think people should have to drive their kids half an hour to see a show.”


Honey was the primary fundraiser for a theater group in Los Angeles, but when he took the job of managing director in May, he was in a tough spot. He was trying to sell something that didn’t really exist yet.


Basalt town officials were confused about where money was going. TACAW’s budget this year is $139,000, most of which comes from the Town of Basalt.


Honey said he had concerns about the nonprofit, and he shared those with his wife.


“...We never really entertained it not working,” said Honey. “We kept working at it, and the board and I kept meeting. As someone who has been in theater, and has worked in arts groups all my life, things never go as you rehearsed them.”


Though construction won’t start until at least 2018, the plan is to start sponsoring performances next year. The estimated $7 million facility will put a face to a name.


Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.