What Ann Korologos leaves behind | AspenTimes.com

What Ann Korologos leaves behind

Ann Korologos, founder of the Ann Korologos Gallery in downtown Basalt and former secretary of labor under the Reagan administration, passed away Jan. 30.
Courtesy photo

In downtown Basalt, the Ann Korologos Gallery carries on the legacy of its groundbreaking founder. The gallery is one of many fingerprints Ann left in the Roaring Fork Valley, though her work touched many corners of the world. 

Ann was a philanthropist, a leader, a public servant and an art enthusiast who made U.S history and helped expand the arts scene in the Roaring Fork Valley.

On Jan. 30, she passed away in a hospital in Salt Lake City from complications of bacterial meningitis, according to a statement from the Ann Korologos Gallery. She was 81. 

The news of her passing sparked national headlines. While she was a Basalt resident for over 20 years, she was a well-known figure in Washington, D.C, having worked with two U.S presidents: Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

“Her ​​generosity was legendary in the Roaring Fork Valley, nationally and internationally,” said Tom Korologos, Ann’s husband. 

According to The New York Times, Ann’s career in politics began in 1972 when she served as a spokeswoman for President-elect Richard Nixon. After he was elected, she served as the director of press relations for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Following Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Ann took a break from working in politics, until Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1981. 

According to The Times, “Mrs. Korologos was a loyal if not doctrinaire Reaganite.”

In 1981, she became the spokeswoman for the Treasury Department and spent three years as the deputy secretary of the interior in the Reagan administration. 

From 1987 to 1989, Korologos served as the secretary of labor, the second woman to hold this position in history. 

“She was not afraid to strive forward for women,” said Sue Edmonds, director of the Ann Korologos Gallery. “She really had a great impact on a lot of people.”

Following her time as the secretary of labor, she oversaw the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. She went on to serve on numerous corporate boards, including Microsoft, RAND and Nordstrom.

“She was a path-breaking leader in government and business many times. She was the first woman to serve on a corporate board across many industries,” said Dan Porterfield, CEO and president of the Aspen Institute. 

“At the same time, she was deeply generous as a public servant and a philanthropist, helping numerous Aspen institutions and many institutions around the country,” he said.

D.C to Roaring Fork

According to Tom Korologos, Ann was looking for a quiet place to break away from Washington, D.C. Over 25 years ago, she heard of a place called Snowmass Village from her friend Bob Wright, former president and CEO of NBC. When she visited the Roaring Fork Valley, she fell in love with the mountains and the community.

“She really loved Aspen and Basalt,” said Porterfield. “They (Tom and Ann Korlogos) loved the people of our community. They loved the mountains. They loved the art scene.”

“This was their home and they weren’t shy about telling everybody else around the country what a great place Basalt and Aspen are,” he said.

According to Porterfield, Korologos joined the board of trustees at the Aspen Institute in 1989. She was then the first woman to serve as the chair of the organization in 1996, a position she held until 2000. 

“She really helped put the Institute on sound financial footing, along with a few other trustees,” said Porterfield.

During her time in Basalt, Korologos spent her time working with local organizations like Anderson Ranch and Colorado Mountain College.

“She really got to know the leaders of those and other organizations, and was a regular presence at our activities. She was an advocate for the greater Aspen nonprofit community,” said Porterfield.

In addition to her passion for leadership, Korologos was a trailblazer for the ever-expanding arts scene in the Roaring Fork Valley.

According to Peter Waanders, president and CEO of Anderson Ranch, Ann began attending events and regularly taking workshops at Anderson Ranch over 20 years ago. From 2010 to 2021, she served on the board of trustees for the organization, then served as the chair of the board from 2011 to 2017. 

“Ann was a renaissance woman, and her amazing impact on Anderson Ranch and arts in the Roaring Fork Valley are a part of what made her so special,” said Waanders. “Her acumen in business and politics was always intertwined with big ideas, a love of nature, and both making and appreciating art. To Ann, art was a central part of making a good life and a good community.”

In 2007, Ann purchased what was formerly known as the Basalt Art Gallery. A few years later, Ann moved the gallery into a larger space in Basalt and changed the name to the Ann Korologos Gallery. The gallery is filled with one of Ann’s greatest passions, Western art.

“Ann was a rare woman, particularly for a small town like Basalt,” said Claire de L’Arbre, marketing director for the Ann Korologos Gallery. “Rare not for her accomplishments — which were extraordinary — but for the shine of her presence: polished, reflective, brilliant.” 

“While her accomplishments were many, the success of her work is not to be measured, always to be growing and expanding through the people, places and organizations that rise through Ann’s care,” she said.

Ann is survived by her husband, Tom, along with her stepchildren, grandchildren and great-grandson.

“Ann’s going to leave behind a legacy that will live for a long time,” said Edmonds.