TAG Ranch fundraiser was a success | ParkRecord.com

TAG Ranch fundraiser was a success

Internationally renowned visual artist Josee Nadeau is seen here with Tore Steen, left, and his wife Mona, right. Steen bought the painting, which Nadeau created during a performance with the Salt Lake Symphony at a fundraiser for the TAG Ranch. The money will help build a softball field at the ranch. The TAG Ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides teamwork, art and horse-care sessions for children ages nine to 14. (Photo courtesy of Josee Nadeau)

MaryLee K. Robinson, owner and director of the TAG Ranch, is seeing her dreams unfold.

She founded the ranch, a nonprofit organization in Wanship, to provide teamwork, art and horse-care sessions for children between the ages of nine and 14.

TAG is an acronym for The Authentic Generation, which, Robinson said, is what all children are a part of.

So far the art and horse-care are well underway, and the teamwork is coming along.

In a few months, Robinson’s teamwork dream will be complete when the TAG Ranch gets a new softball diamond called the Field of Dreams, thanks to money raised at the ranch during a fundraiser on June 29.

"We’re still collecting the funds, but the total will be in an excess of $100,000, which is so exciting because we can build the Field of Dreams for the kids," said Robinson, who is a former softball coach. "There are three pastures at the TAG Ranch and the field will be built in the one near the fence line that goes out to the road."

CTI Construction will spearhead the project.

"I’ve had this dream for TAG Ranch all these years," Robinson said. "We have kids working on art and working with the horses. Their self-confidence is just going off the charts."

Robinson said she is grateful for all who participated in the fundraiser, including High West Distillery, who catered the event, and internationally renowned visual artist Josee Nadeau who painted to the live music performed by the Salt Lake Symphony, conducted by Robert Baldwin.

Nadeau, a protégé of Gerald Van der Kemp — curator of the Palace of Louis XIV and the man who saved the Mona Lisa from the Nazis — who has painted for Harry Belafonte and at Dionne Warwick’s 50th Anniversary Celebration gala, said she enjoyed the event.

"It was magical because we were out in the middle of nowhere and it was so airy," said Nadeau, who has lived in Park City for five years. "I got on stage and painted for a total of 20 minutes."

The stage was a small stone fireplace hearth.

"It was such a small space and proved to be challenging," Nadeau said. "I just went on and did it, because when you have a bunch of people looking at you, you just have to do something."

At one point, Nadeau’s friend, actress Frances Fisher, who was also in attendance, tried to help Nadeau navigate the space.

"She tied my dress around my legs so I couldn’t move," Nadeau said with a laugh. "I couldn’t reach my brushes, so I started painting with my hands."

Tore Steen and his wife Mona purchased the finished improvisational work.

Steen, who lives in Park City, is a ski instructor and former racer and coach and a trustee with the Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to provide clean water to communities all around the world.

In all, the ranch was adorned with 35 works Nadeau had previously painted, and some of them were also sold during the fundraiser.

"Having Josee share her talent, friendship and love made the evening special for everyone," Robinson said. "Having all of her paintings on display just mesmerized the audience, and then to see her paint to the live music was amazing. It was so joyful."

Before Nadeau began painting, the event featured two alpine horns and a dance number presented by a group of girls who attend the camp.

"That performance was just inspiring all into itself," Robinson said. "They danced a piece about the prevention of bullying. It emulated the feeling of a girl who was isolated and bullied, and at the end, they all came together as friends.

"The best way I can describe the night is it was magical for everyone," she said. "I couldn’t imagine a more perfect evening."

For more information about the TAG Ranch, visit http://www.tagranch.com.

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