After five years of putting up with hearing that “there’s nothing to do in Taos,” Kyle Butler put his foot down and decided to create the needed change.
After several months of cleaning and sweeping a dusty warehouse, Butler and his partner, Paige McCluggage, are nearly ready to open the doors of their new creative makerspace and activity center, The Taos Launchpad, for the public. Located at 218 Paseo del Cañón, Butler plans to open the space to members of the community seeking a learning environment in everything from sound engineering to 3-D printing and electronics. While working on rough drafts of curricula for classes for both students and adults, the space will provide an environment, complete with tools, for nearly any type of creative work one can imagine.
“I just saw a need for a makerspace here,” Butler said. “I just wanted more collaboration with community members, more like-minded people who are creators and innovators.”
With several years of learning various trades, Butler hopes to transfer his vault of knowledge to be able to help those within the community learn a skill they have been wanting to learn. From auto mechanics to carpentry, Butler has experience in it all. He’s translated his experience into designing a place where people can learn the ins and out of different industries under one roof and create something with their new skills. Sectioned-off portions of his recently acquired warehouse space are designated for different classes and activities he plans to have going for members.
Offering technical and vocational classes will be the focus of the budding makerspace, which is also looking at hosting open mics, movie nights and other ways to engage members of the community in a safe environment and to raise a bit of revenue to keep the lights on. While the space will largely be for learning, Butler and McCluggage are also hoping to inspire others to create art, projects and other engaging activities in their warehouse.
“I feel like this is what I was made for,” Butler said. “I’m working here and I get these feelings that I had as a child, that I haven’t had since and just knowing I’m on the right path. I’m very passionate about it. I don’t know why, but I just am.”
Pieces thrift store owner Becky Holsinger offered the location to Butler and McCluggage rent free for a few months, allowing them to get the space cleaned and up to codes. Holsinger had the extra space available and contacted the two when she saw their call for help on social media. Having a background in the creative arts, Holsinger said she is excited to be a part of the new space and is hopeful for the business to take off, despite the several difficulties of running a business in town.
“It’s hard to start a business here in Taos because it is expensive and there’s a lot of hoops to jump through,” said Holsinger. “He’s a very smart young man with a lot of ideas. They’ve worked hard to get it cleaned up.”
Currently, the team is set for a late October grand opening, but it’s still testing some activities, such as movie nights, to generate interest in the space. In the future, Butler plans to gather some volunteers and hire teachers to teach the classes. Scholarship opportunities and possible sponsorship are the next goals for the couple so they can begin generating basic revenue for teachers, materials and other costs. Monthly and weekly fees will most likely be assessed for those using the space. However, Butler said he does not want to turn anyone away due to lack of funds.
For more information on the space and the availability of classes, visit taoslaunchpad.org.