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Aspen Real Estate | Aspen Property Brothers

Despite the lockdowns and the pandemic, the team behind The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) continues to make progress on The Contemporary, a 10,000 square foot center for performing arts at the heart of the campus’ land.


Ryan Honey, TACAW’s managing director, is confident in the plan to make TACAW a prime example of what a green energy performing arts center could look like.


Granted, green energy is a long-term investment and building a net zero building is expensive.


What it takes to go green


TACAW already received $942,000 from its Willits Town Center real estate transfer assessment (RETA), plus more from other sources.


They also got a $60,000 grant from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) to create a 68-kilowatt energy efficient solar and all-electric facility.


Marty Treadway, CORE’s program director, confirmed that once built, the facility also has the potential to have on-site battery power storage for redundancies.


TACAW’s team is also collaborating with utility company Holy Cross Energy and Rocky Mountain Institute.


Building in the Pandemic Period

Fundraising for the arts may have been a challenge because of the pandemic, but TACAW already hit its financial goals even while they were operating The Temporary, The Contemporary’s predecessor.


In any case, this project will be funded through the Alpine Bank in cooperation with the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority, an organization with the ability to issue municipal bond debts.


While there may have been some delays in construction, Aspen News Daily reports that Honey used this time to identify how the facility will deal with COVID and other pandemics in the future.


Aside from installing an HVAC circulation system, they now also plan to install a video production system capable of live-streaming performances.


TACAW’s outdoor spaces can also be used for performances and other events.



Room to Expand for the Arts Campus at Willits and the Contemporary


the art campus at willits

Not including land costs, the whole facility is estimated to cost $4.5 million.


Honey and the other stakeholders are confident, however, that they have enough funds to continue building.


Once built, The Contemporary will have a multiuse theater for 270 seated or 400 standing occupants.


It will also have a café, informal workspace, teaching kitchen, rehearsal room, outdoor terrace, expansive outdoor area, and more facilities.


Phase two of the construction plan includes a Harris-Hall like performance facility, while Phase 3 will offer programs and services similar to that of Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.


Support from a Community that Appreciates the Arts

Even with the pandemic, TACAW’s drive-in movie screening of “Havana Moon: The Rolling Stones Live in Cuba” sold out in less than an hour a few months ago.


Early in October they hosted a well-attended Pumpkin Jazz Festival, and just yesterday they had a Halloween drive-in event for families.


The arts center isn’t just supporting hard-hit musicians and performers, they’re also bringing much needed entertainment to everyone.