Host CC Students and Join Friends of CC Program

Students CookingCC faculty and staff are invited to participate in the Friends of CC program during Fall, Winter and/or Spring breaks during the academic year. The Friends of CC program is a host offering for students whose families reside 100 miles or more from Colorado Springs, or plan to stay on campus during the break(s). The program is coordinated by CC’s Butler Center.

If you’re interested in spending time with CC students, there are a number of days available to do so this academic year. These days are: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, during CC’s Fall Break; any day between Friday, Dec. 23 and New Year’s Day Sunday, Jan. 1, during CC’s Winter Break; or any day between Thursday, March 16, and Saturday, March 25, during CC’s Spring Break.

The Butler Center will coordinate with international students and others who plan to stay on campus during a break period. The Butler Center will connect them with faculty and staff who’ve expressed interest in hosting and spending time with students.

If you have already established a connection with a student, you are welcome to continue that relationship and you’re invited to share that information with the Butler Center to include your “host” status in the Friends of CC program.

It is important for CC to consider background checks of host families, and because CC faculty and staff had a background check before being hired, this program is a cost-effective way to offer opportunities for students to feel connected to adults in a familial way.

To participate in the program during Fall Break, please contact Pearl Leonard-Rock by Monday, Oct. 24, by 4 p.m. If you would like to participate during Winter or Spring Break, respond no later than the first Monday of Block 4 or 6.
Thank you for helping support CC students!



Get to Know Michael Howell

Michael Howell

As CC and the Fine Arts Center begin to join forces, planning for the CC-FAC alliance to get underway, both institutions gained new expertise, and four individuals from the Fine Arts Center are officially CC employees. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to two of them; this week get to know Michael Howell, registrar and collections manager at the Fine Arts Center.

Before his work at the FAC, Howell was director of the Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Pennsylvania where he also taught the modern and contemporary component of the art history program.

Howell says his role as FAC registrar and collections manager is challenging and stimulating as, “I get to work with all of the art and the legal component involved with art contracts.  My favorite part is being back in an academic environment and working with students.”

As he recently told the Pikes Peak Bulletin, Howell is looking forward to expanding the FAC intern program he started five years ago, comprised mainly of CC students who will study contemporary museum theory. He will also continue a project he started with CC student Abby Stein ’15 to return Native American sacred and cultural objects to appropriate entities.

Howell is trained as a studio artist and holds a master’s degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He says he’s learned that his strengths are in facilitating the production and dissemination of art within a broader cultural context.

As for what he’s looking forward to as the CC-FAC alliance moves forward: “I am extremely excited to be involved with expanding the museum to incorporate a stronger and broader educational role.”

You can reach Howell at or by visiting him at the Fine Arts Center.


Susan Hoff ’06 Returns to CC to Share Sustainable Creations

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Recycling art workshopSusan Hoff ’06, artist and designer, visited the Studio Art Department’s Design Workshop class last week to lead a three-day recycling workshop.

Hoff creates bags and accessories inspired by her years spent at sea and her upbringing on a Midwestern horse farm. Reclaimed sailcloth and vintage horse tack are brought together to create products that are not only sustainable but rich with character, evoking stories of their former lives.

Over the course of three days, Hoff helped students find inspiration from a multitude of recycled materials, turning them into structural forms and useful items. Materials included salvaged fabric, stone, metal, wood, bike tires, and cans as well as leather and sails provided by Hoff. After Hoff’s crash course in sewing and her creative advice, students produced backpacks, lampshades, seats, and shoes.

Colorado College helped Hoff get her start in design in more ways than one. An art major and outdoor enthusiast during her time as a student, Hoff received a Ritt Kellogg Expedition Grant for a multi-week sailing trip around Maine the summer after her junior year. The Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund, created by the Kellogg family to honor their son Ritt, a CC alumnus who died in a mountain climbing accident, provides CC students money for thoroughly planned backcountry trips.

Recycling Workshop

Photos by Niels Davis


Hoff researched Ritt Kellogg’s life before applying for her grant and discovered that he was also an avid sailor. To learn more, she contacted an old friend of Kellogg’s who worked for Outward Bound’s sailing program in Maine, beginning a friendship that eventually procured her a job. After her expedition and later, after graduation, she returned to Maine to work as a sailing instructor for Outward Bound.

Over the course of four years, Hoff lived and worked on 30-foot open sailboats, teaching sailing for weeks straight. She recounts having to sleep like sardines in the boat next to ten students, stepping onto land very occasionally. To conserve space and bring a personal touch onboard, she began crafting journals and bags for her sailing journeys — things that were small and durable.

Starting to tire of constant life on the water, Hoff thought to sell the journals and bags made from scraps of paper and old sails to shops in Maine. “This was kind of a revelation,” she says of her surprise of being able to just walk into a shop and sell her work, “I realized this could be a viable job.”

At one point, Hoff’s mom sent her some old horse tack (leather used in horse equipment) from their farm in Illinois thinking she might be able to use it. This, combined with the sailcloth, evolved into the basis of her current bag designs. Selling to small shops in Maine allowed Hoff to eventually show her work at a trade show. Consequently, orders came in and she moved to New York City, becoming a one-woman designer and producer of bags. “I didn’t have a studio,” Hoff tells, “I was driving a launch boat on the Hudson and making bags on the floor of my apartment in Brooklyn on the side.”

After about a year, Hoff moved to San Francisco, where she currently resides, and has had no trouble finding horse tack and sails to recycle. She is in the process of opening a shop and continues to experiment with sailcloth. Versatile and durable, she has used it for wall dividers, upholstery, drapery, and outdoor furniture.

Although inexpensive, recycled materials present other challenges, says Hoff — they’re inconsistent, requires a lot of cleaning, and their supply is not guaranteed. However challenging, she is drawn to the material itself and keeps with it because it’s sustainable and possesses other less tangible qualities: “It has stories to tell, it has age, it has character.”

Hoff will be running another recycling workshop during the Block 6 Design Workshop class. The class, taught by Carl Reed, professor emeritus of art, will work with CC’s student-led Integrative Design Group and Hoff to create recycled items for the Wellness Resource Center. Anything from window coverings to lamps to chairs may be created, bringing student-made character and comfort to this vital facility on campus.

You can check out Hoff’s work on her website.

SpeakEasy Makes Space for Creative Expression on Campus

Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Until this year, Colorado College has not had a spoken word poetry group. Now, thanks to the inspiration of Eliza Mott ’16 and Hollis Schmidt ’17, CC has its own troupe for spoken word. In its inaugural year, SpeakEasy was recently awarded “Excellence in Poetry Programming” by the Pikes Peak Arts Council, granting the group an honorary membership within the council and official recognition within the Colorado Springs art community, an accolade featured recently by the Catalyst.

Mott and Schmidt began the group in Fall 2016, but both had been thinking about it long before then. As Schmidt, the vice president of the group, SpeakEasy, says, the community of spoken word “just didn’t exist at CC. There were a few workshops for poetry, but nothing like slam poetry or spoken word.” For Mott, SpeakEasy’s president, her inspiration to start the group came last year, when Yolany Gonell, director of residential life and campus activities, began the “I am” poetry performance. Mott says that “the impact of that performance on myself, the other performers, and the students who watched, was incredible.” Mott says she wanted to continue to share the experience of spoken word with others and, while performing at other open mic events, noticed that there were other talented poets at CC. Schmidt and Mott recognized the lack of “space for these poets to gather” on CC’s campus.

With these ideas in mind, Mott began collaborating with Gonell and Schmidt, and SpeakEasy began to come together. Both students had their own visions for the group, but at the core, their goal was to create a place for students to come together to write and perform poetry that explores interesting and sometimes difficult topics. As a creative writing major with an emphasis on poetry, Schmidt says she hopes to provide a community “outside of the academic classroom where students can be creative and also be held accountable for continuing to write.” Mott says her goal for the group is to “create spoken word poetry and art that addresses issues of identity and personhood” and to “put on performances with our troupe that create conversation regarding these issues.” Mott also emphasizes her goal to explore powerful issues and allow people to share their own story though poetry.

SpeakEasy’s purpose has resonated with many CC students; after holding tryouts on campus, the troupe already has 18 members. Their first official performance is this Sunday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. in the screening room at Cornerstone Arts Center.

Indy: CC, FAC Net $3.5 Million in Grants for Educational Initiatives

Colorado Springs Independent covers announcement of grants from three foundations.

Joy Armstrong, FAC Curator, Featured in the Catalyst

Joy Armstrong

The Catalyst sat down with Joy Armstrong, curator at the Fine Arts Center, for a feature article in the latest issue.

Theater Colorado Talks with FAC’s Scott Levy

Scott Levy

Check out an interview with Scott Levy, producing artistic director at the Fine Arts Center. He talks with “Theater Colorado Springs” about the CC-FAC Alliance.

Students Explore Past and Present with Prison Project

Past, Present, Prison

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

History students are making strides to educate the large community of southern Colorado about mass incarceration, and why Colorado is an essential part of this discussion through a digital project called “Past, Present, Prison.

Starting with the Social Issues and Historical Context Initiative in 2014, the “Past, Present, Prison” project was created by students in the Colorado College Department of History. The initiative is funded by a grant from an anonymous donor that provides $200,000 over three years. The initiative’s goal is to inform people on how history shapes current issues and focuses on creating courses on the history of prisons in Colorado, as well as inviting visiting speakers on the topic. This fall, the initiative is also putting on an exhibit at the I.D.E.A. Space called “Incarceration Nation.”

As a whole, the SIHC initiative’s goal is to engage CC students, faculty, and staff with the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Canon City communities in conversations about the impact of prisons in southern Colorado. The “Past, Present, Prison” digital project is one of the main ways the grant is attempting to do so.

The project began, with help from the SIHC grant, in the history department with the goal of raising awareness of mass incarceration in the United States, and specifically how Colorado prisons play a role. Mass incarceration is a modern concept based on how quickly the prison industry is growing, the racial disparities within it, and the sheer numbers of incarcerated people. According to Carol Neel, professor of history, mass incarceration is a problem because “of a systematic racism and classism, and because the American people have let politicians blind them to the imprisonment of over two million of us.”

Helping young people learn about the past by demonstrating the connections between history and current issues is also an important aspect of the project. The digital project is a collaboration between students, faculty, and staff. On the “Past, Present, Prison” webpage, CC students have posted their extensive research pulled from archives of the Museum of Colorado Prisons and the Royal Gorge Museum and History Center, both in Canon City, Colorado. The two sets of archives cover many aspects of prison in a local and historical context.

The posted articles originated as papers written by students in the course Encountering the Past – The Long History of the Colorado State Penitentiary at Canon City, taught by Neel. The articles include topics such as the beginning of incarceration and criminalization, the economics of incarceration, and social dynamics in and around prisons. Right now, the webpage only contains the articles profiling the history of Colorado prisons, but the students hope to expand its reach. Neel explains that adding a blog to the project would aim to better engage the Colorado Department of Corrections in the conversation about mass incarceration and to explore the impact of the many prisons on the state of Colorado.


First-Year Students Explore Wilderness on FOOT


By Alana Aamodt ’18

From climbing fourteeners in the Collegiate Peaks, to rafting in Moab canyons, to hiking up to lakes and hot springs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, dozens of first-year students spent their first block break experiencing some of the most beautiful parts of the Southwest’s wilderness. Each year, more than 150 students participate in trips like these, free of cost, thanks to the Outdoor Recreation Committee’s First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips program.

The program, affectionately called FOOT trips, has been bringing together first-year students and upper-class student leaders during every Block 1 block break since 1984. The student-led trips are open to all experience levels with 15-20 FOOT trips taking place every year.

Student leaders plan out FOOT trips at the end of each school year for the next year’s first block break. In September, leaders are randomly assigned a group of about nine first-year students. Right after class on Wednesday of fourth week of Block 1, groups depart in vans for the FOOT trips.

Over the course of an extended weekend, first-year students are introduced to outdoor skills like backcountry cooking, reading topographic maps, and “Leave No Trace” principles. While often challenging, FOOT trips largely focus on bonding within the group and taking in the beauty of the outdoors.

Eliza Guion ’20 participated in a FOOT trip this year and spent four days camping in the San Isabel National Forest outside Leadville, Colorado. Trip highlights included swimming in North Halfmoon Lake, summiting Mount Massive at 14,428 feet, and enjoying campfires under clear starry skies.

“One memorable moment on our FOOT trip happened when we were on our way up to the summit of Mount Massive,” Guion recounts of her trip. “We were pretty cold, the wind was blowing hail into our faces, the trail was steep, and the visibility was super low. We were just trudging up the gray rocks in the gray mist. Then out of nowhere a big gust of wind came and cleared the whole valley of the fog and the hail. Suddenly there was sun on our faces, and we turned around and watched as the whole view was unveiled before us. As the fog was swept away, we could see the red bushes and the yellow aspens, and miles and miles into the blue hills. It was magical!”

After completing a FOOT trip, students can continue to participate through ORC trips and may eventually choose to become trip leaders themselves. Through inclusive programs like FOOT, the ORC hopes to inspire new generations of outdoor leaders within the CC student community.

Photo by Orren Fox ’20.

CC, FAC Receive $3.5 Million for Arts, Educational Initiatives

Fine Arts CenterColorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center have received grants from the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation to support arts in the community and new educational initiatives. The gifts, which total $3.5 million, come from local as well as national philanthropic foundations, and follow on the heels of the recent announcement about the historic alliance between CC and the FAC.

“These incredible investments in the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College are a resounding endorsement of our new partnership and our bright future together,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The support from these three foundations, as well as the enthusiasm we’ve heard from the community in the listening sessions, is creating great momentum as we develop a new vision that supports the missions of both the FAC and the college. We are imagining ways that the alliance will create new learning opportunities and enrich arts programming for the entire region. These gifts will help make this exciting future possible.”

The $2 million grant from the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation is committed to a permanent endowment held by Colorado College for the exclusive support of the Fine Arts Center. This newly established endowment will provide funding in perpetuity for the FAC’s diverse, ongoing mission to inspire community vitality through performing arts, visual arts, and arts education. The addition of these endowed funds enhances the ability of the Fine Arts Center to build on its decades-long tradition of producing art exhibitions in its museum, theatre, and performing arts experiences on its stages, and classes and workshops in the Bemis School of Art.

“We believe the mission of the Fine Arts Center is vital to the city of Colorado Springs,” says Phil Lane, trustee of the Lane Foundation. “We hope the Lane Foundation’s support will inspire others in our community to redouble their investment in this vital institution, now stewarded by Colorado College.”

Tony Rosendo, executive director of the Lane Foundation and a Colorado College trustee, says “Leveraging new partnerships that now exist as a result of the alliance will benefit both the Fine Arts Center and the college — and ultimately the Colorado Springs community and CC students. These grants represent the beginning of truly exciting possibilities for the arts in our region and for our region from a national perspective.”

The potential of the recent alliance also has aligned with the priorities of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a leading international foundation making grants in higher education, humanities, and the arts, which awarded a $1.2 million grant to forge deeper academic connections between Colorado College and the interdisciplinary arts. The grant will allow Colorado College to expand existing teaching strategies and introduce a more diverse set of individuals on campus and within the community to the arts, with particular focus on programs related to the American Southwest.

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is pleased to support Colorado College in this important initiative,” says Cristle Collins Judd, senior program officer of the Mellon Foundation. “The college’s historic dedication to innovative teaching and its commitment to diversity and inclusion now promise to integrate the arts and material culture within the liberal arts curriculum at Colorado College in ways that will benefit both students and, more broadly, the Colorado Springs community.”

A major gift to the Fine Arts Center from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation also supports educational initiatives by providing a scholarship fund for youth who show interest, initiative, and talent in visual arts and who don’t have the financial resources to undertake serious arts education. The $330,000 gift was made to the Fine Arts Center Foundation, which continues alongside the alliance with the college. The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation has funded arts education and aspiring visual artists for many years, and this year, their board made the decision to close the foundation and disperse its assets to like-minded arts programs. This carries on the legacy of their founder, Marie Walsh Sharpe, and is being made in honor of the foundation’s late executive director, Joyce Robinson, who had deep ties to the Fine Arts Center and served as the FAC’s director of education for many years.

“We are pleased to continue an important tradition of supporting youth in our community who aspire to achieve success in the visual arts through the Fine Arts Center’s excellent programming,” says Steve Mulliken, board president of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation. “Marie and Joyce would be happy to know that financial barriers will not keep young people in our community from receiving quality visual arts education, thanks to this scholarship fund at the FAC Foundation.”

“These new commitments provide validation of the synergy that is possible between these important institutions,” says David Dahlin, CEO of the Fine Arts Center. “We expect that this is only the beginning of exciting new developments as we begin planning for our combined future.”