Posts in: Around Campus

Creativity and Creativity Come to Life in Contemporary Poetry Course

Here, Jane Hilberry’s Contemporary Poetry class gathered for an intuitive art session, finding creativity and a sense of self in unfiltered expression. Photo by Skye Schelz ’21

By Sarah Senese ’23

Jane Hilberry, professor of creativity and innovation, led the second-ever block of her Contemporary Poetry: Investigation and Innovation class in Block 3. Hilberry, who has been a professor of English specializing in poetry and creative writing  at CC, has turned her expertise to a different but, as she would put it, equally important department — Creativity & Innovation.

Hilberry sought to join the two things she loves and believes in most: poetry and creativity. Upon their arrival to class, 18 students were all given a brand new, shiny sketchbook, courtesy of the Creativity & Innovation at CC, and told that they were encouraged to sketch, collage, draw, paint, and express what they felt during class whenever they wanted. The back of the classroom was lined with every art supply one could think of, and the students were eager to begin.

Jane Hilberry’s approach is to show students that there’s more than one way to analyze poetry other than analytically. Poetry, like all other forms of art, is one that can be manipulated and viewed through a number of lenses. Hilberry wants to instill in her students that, even though they’ve always been taught to respond analytically to writing, they can respond in any creative way that speaks to them, resonates with them, and inspires them.

When asked what she hoped her students would take from the class, Hilberry conveys the importance of leading students “to a more embodied multi-dimensional knowledge of what they were studying.”

Students Alonso Rios ’23 and Mariel Zech ’23 are full of gratitude towards Hilberry when reflecting on their Block 3 experience. “She helped us realize that poetry can be more engaging than just when responded to with more writing. She taught us so much about poetry in a way we never could have imagined, and we’re so grateful to her.”

Hilberry and her 18 poetry students learned not only about contemporary poets and their importance in the world of creative writing, but about their own creative processes and approaches to understanding art. Although it may not have been her immediate intention, Hilberry inspires her students to dig deeper — not just to understand poetry, but also to understand themselves.

You can find Jane Hilberry in the innovation space at 232 E. Cache La Poudre St. during Creative Mondays, 3-5 p.m., making art and responding to poetry.

Qi Gong Deepens Connection with Chinese Courses

By Sarah Senese ’23

In Professor Tamara Bentley’s Block 4 Art of China class, physical art isn’t the only aspect of the culture students explore. Bentley invites Mauro Saachi, who’s trained in the art of qi gong (movement meditation), to teach workshops to students each fall.

Qi gong, a traditional Chinese movement exercise and spiritual practice, allows for students to both better their understanding of the cultures they study and also interact directly with their learning. Bentley, who usually partners with Professor Hong Jiang in these workshops, says that qi gong workshops help their students “not only academically, but in kinesthetic ways.” Here, Bentley’s class, Jiang’s class, and Professor Christian Sorace’s political science class “Power and Everyday Life” converged in the Cossitt dance space to learn the Chinese art of Qigong.

In Bentley’s Art of China class, there’s a lot to learn about qi, which is often portrayed in visual art, the primary focus of students’ studies, through flowing lines. In Jiang’s Chinese language class, culture is also taught to give students a background on the language, connecting her class as well to the ancient physical practice of qi gong.

Students Zoey Zhou ’20 and Carter Norfleet ’22, who participated in the session with Saachi, share how the experience translated to the class and their general knowledge of qi gong and the Chinese culture surrounding it. “It was a very relaxing and mindful experience. I found qi gong very meditative in terms of its emphasis on the connection to earth and air around us. It is rare for us to pay such close attention to nature as we live in such a fast-moving world,” says Zhou. Norfleet notes that over the course of the block, he found it “interesting to compare lessons from ancient China with this qi gong experience.”

Bentley and Jiang take pride in the benefits qi gong practices have instilled in their students each fall. “[Qi gong] helps our students nurture the energy in their bodies even when they are under a lot of work or school pressure,” says Bentley, who hopes that Saachi’s workshops continue for students in blocks to come.

Students of All Ages Connect at Creative Mondays

Creative Mondays

By Emma Brossman ’20

Creative Mondays at CC’s innovation space is a creative escape from the fast-paced days on the Block Plan.

Jane Hilberry, professor of creativity and innovation, says, “We wanted to give the students a break from the scheduled days and expectations, and give them a space where they could be creative.”

The concept, which has been happening for about a year, was inspired by the class The Moving Line. The class looks to create a space to nourish the creative spirit. CC’s program, Creativity & Innovation at CC, has been working to create new spaces inside and outside the classroom that break away from the educational norm.

On a recent Monday, the space – a remodeled house on Weber Street – was full of students chatting and focusing on creating with a vast array of supplies. Many of the students come weekly, often bringing friends to experience creativity as a break from their busy lives.

This space is open to all, including the preschoolers from the on-campus Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center. It was a happy accident that the young children started to attend Creative Mondays; initially, they were drawn over by a snow cone truck at a Creativity & Innovation open house event; they have been attending ever since. This offers an opportunity for CC students to work with some of the most creative people: young kids.

The Creative Mondays program plans to continue allowing students to have a space to be creative and connect over the arts. The innovation program continues to integrate creativity into other classes such as creative writing, and also brings in faculty who contribute a focus on creativity in the classroom. Creative Mondays, open to anyone on campus, is a space where everyone can feel creative without judgement or assignment, and maybe start to feel creative, just like being a kid again.

CC Students Join Local Institutions in One-of-a-Kind Partnership

Quad Innovation Partnership

By Miriam Brown ’21

Twice a week for two hours, Andre Dufresne ’21, Caroline James ’20, Mia Altenau ’21, and Associate Professor of Psychology Tricia Waters can be found in the basement below Loyal Coffee in downtown Colorado Springs.

There, they met seven other students from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak Community College, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The group is brought together by the Quad Innovation Partnership, which connects students and faculty from the four institutions to work on strategic projects with real clients, aiming for hands-on solutions. QIP is the only higher education partnership in the United States that combines a community college, private liberal arts college, state university, and a service academy.

QIP has several project groups assigned to work for different clients. The group including Dufresne, James, and Altenau has spent the semester working for Partners for Children’s Mental Health, a new center developed by Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado. Their assignment? To create a portfolio of suicide prevention programs to implement in Colorado elementary and middle schools, James says, as well as a feasibility index of how to implement them.

As a senior psychology major interested in child development, the project with QIP has helped James think about what kind of work she wants to do after graduating.

“I’m applying for jobs and I can advocate for myself more because I’ve done important work and here’s what I have to show for it,” James said. “So I think it’s helping me going into that to be more confident in my skills.”

Together, the students have given a few presentations on their work to PCMH and presented at a “demonstration day” for the broader Colorado Springs community. A typical week required six to eight hours of work outside of the biweekly meetings, Dufresne says, and right now, they’re working on a end-of-semester report for PCMH that he expects to be about 60 pages.

But for Dufresne, the work was never stressful.

“You’re doing something important that has real implications, so it doesn’t always feel like work,” Dufresne says. “It’s exciting work, and you can always find the energy to do it. … I think it’s definitely worth it if any student is considering doing it.”

Learn more about upcoming Quad Innovation Partnership programs and opportunities.

Sharing Perspective at ‘Food for Economic Thought’ Talks

By Emma Holinko-Brossman ’20

Food for Economic Thought talks are hosted by the Department of Economics and range in topics from the interesting lives of CC alumni to insights from visiting professors to  relevant economic news. Assistant Professor of Economics Jessica Hoel presented a recent talk titled “Who Won the Nobel Prize and Why?” This year, the Nobel Prize in Economics was won by Michael Kremer, Abhijit Banerjee, and Esther Duflo for their work in poverty alleviation. Hoel discussed the economists’ award-winning research, and how she had herself worked with Kremer in Kenya where they researched clean water and water access. There, Hoel was also able to work with many governmental, local, and international entities.

A solid turnout of students and faculty participated at Hoel’s FEET talk. She shared an interactive presentation looking at the randomized controlled experiments for deworming students to increase school attendance rates. Hoel humanized some of the highest levels of economic research into an accessible topic for the audience. The discussion turned to students asking about the ethical implications of the research along with other external factors. And, Hoel is teaching a Block 4 class — Economics of Poverty — in conjunction with Associate Professor of Economics Kristina Acri, which may extend the exploration of the topics raised.

FEET talks range in topic, but there is always an interesting discussion of current events explored through the lens of economics. Anybody at CC is invited to join these talks to bring new perspectives and learn about some of the cutting edge-research of alumni and faculty in the field of economics. The FEET talk series is one of the hidden jewels of CC; small groups are able to gather and conduct discussions that bring together people from all backgrounds and disciplines outside the classroom.


Reaching for a Sense of Community with Women Wednesdays

By Sarah Senese ’23

On Wednesdays at the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, you can find female-identifying students enjoying women-only climbing from 4-6 p.m. Women’s Wednesdays, which began only a couple of years ago, encourages women to get involved and excited about climbing while providing a space for those who may be new to climbing or dislike the usual crowded evenings at the gym.

Many students who are new to climbing, including Mariel Zech ’23, find Women’s Wednesdays a comfortable space to try out new routes and techniques in the gym without the pressure of those who may be more experienced. Zech shares, during Women’s Wednesday, that she finds it “really cool to have an opportunity to climb in a relaxed atmosphere, especially because Women’s Wednesday generally isn’t as crowded as some other times — not to mention that the staff are fun and helpful.”

Women’s Wednesdays origins stem from the rising popularity of recreational climbing. When climbing became a more and more popular and accessible, the staff and students who help run the Ritt Kellogg Gym decided to create a space where female-identifying students — whether they be seasoned climbers or first-timers — can try new skills and enjoy the gym in the company of other like-minded people.

The energy in the climbing gym on Wednesdays radiates community and comfort. No matter the year or the skill level, every student is willing and ready to give helpful advice and welcome new climbers into the space that belongs to them. Even the monitors, who do enjoy working during crowded gym hours to help climbers with their skills and to assist in belaying, love to work on Women’s Wednesdays. The space is calm and positive, and you can see the monitors’ love for helping new climbers and being a part of what has become such a special CC climbing tradition.

“I don’t know if I’d be able to climb so often if Women’s Wednesdays didn’t exist,” says Zech. “I’m new to climbing, and it’s sometimes hard to get into it when there are so many other skilled climbers in the gym. Women’s Wednesdays is probably my favorite activity on campus so far.” You can find Zech and other women and female-identifying students in the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.


Día de los Muertos: Bringing the Community Alive

Dia de los Muertos
Madi Stuart

Madi Stuart ’13, MAT ’14 is a Spanish teacher at Manitou Middle School where she incorporated the life and artwork of local artist Charles Rockey to teach her students lessons on the cultural significance of Day of the Dead. Students visited Rockey’s studio and studied his art to create an afendra alter in his honor. The afendra will be set up at the Colorado Fine Arts Center along with alters created by other schools and invited artists.

By Emma Holinko-Brossman ’20

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College has created a unique interpretation of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) through a celebratory exhibit Nov. 1-2. The museum’s permanent collection includes Southwestern art from artist Jerry Vigil and prints created by José Guadalupe Posada, both of which use themes from Día de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated in the U.S. and Mexico to honor deceased loved ones and keep their memory alive.

Polly Nordstrand, curator of Southwest art at the FAC, Kris Stanec, director of museum education, and countless others collaborated to create a community celebration, working with local schools and artists. Stanec sums up the experience saying, “It’s funny how these things spiral around each other, a generation of depth from all of the inter-connections.” She points out how the FAC has connected culture, community, and the CC alumni network in a creative display highlighting these beautiful relationships.

Madi Stuart ’13, MAT ’14, who majored in Spanish and also received her Master’s in Teaching, works at Manitou Springs Middle School. She and her students are creating an ofrenda that will celebrate the life and memory of Charles Rockey, an iconic local artist who passed away over the summer. Rockey captured impressionist depictions of the unique nature of Manitou Springs, nestled at the base of Pikes Peak. He spent 25 years teaching art at local schools and sharing his talent and joy with future generations of creative minds. Stuart’s students’ ofrenda, an offering or collection of objects, will be on display during the FAC’s Día de los Muertos celebration,

Students at Wilson Elementary School in Colorado Springs are also participating through its English language learning program. The school currently has 134 students enrolled in ELL, and many are still in the early stages of learning English. The FAC, through generous donations, has been able to provide transportation for all 134 students to come to the FAC on Friday, Nov. 1, to see their art come to life.

This holiday provides the catalyst for a connection between culture and perspective, exploring how to respect the traditions of Indigenous cultures over time. Maruca Salazar, a prominent artist located in Denver, will be creating a traditional Aztec altar for the FAC as part of this special exhibit, celebrating the power of tradition, community, and art.

The free community event Nov. 1-2, features a traditional Aztec altar by Salazar, ofrendas by area school groups, free art making activities, and more. Check out the altar building at the FAC Friday, Nov. 1, beginning at 11 a.m. Learn more about festivities and performances.

Street Artist Leads Graffiti Workshop on Campus

Street Art

By Sarah Senese ’23

Eder Muniz, Brazilian street artist and co-founder of the art collective Calangos, led an all-day workshop for advanced art students and is displaying his work as an art installation on the side of the 3-D Arts building, at 117 East Cache La Poudre Street, as well as a mural at Bemis School of Art.

Known also as Calangos de Rua (street lizard), Muniz began drawing and painting the walls of his house at a young age, inspired by the graffiti tags he saw on the streets. Muniz is completely self-taught; he developed his distinct style over the years, inspired by the natural beauty of Brazil and the relationship its ecosystem shared with humans.

Muniz’s art collective Calangos, based in Salvador, Brazil, seeks to empower graffiti artists to replace the traditional, obtrusive graffiti tags in the streets of Brazil with art that conveys social messages, both improving the lives of artists and empowering the culture of favelas(slums) with beauty and deliberate, relevant messages. Muniz’s work has allowed him to travel the world, sharing his vibrant street art with cultures, cities, and artists of all ages.

During his workshop Oct. 7, Muniz worked with advanced art students to draw and create images with spray paint, giving students a chance to experience the art form of graffiti hands-on. Muniz also helped the students understand the unifying power that street art can have, allowing them to create a collaborative mural of their own, working together to form one cohesive image. Muniz says he hopes to instill the idea that art is not an individual task, but one thatmust be collective.

You can see his mural now on the 3-D Arts building east of Campus Safety, but it, along with the building, will soon to be demolished to make way for the future Robson Arena. The mural’s themes center on the human-animal relationship, incorporating a range of bright colors and symbols that reflect Muniz’s interpretation of nature. He aims to provoke both students and the greater Colorado Springs community to consider the connection between humans and nature and our place in a greater ecosystem, as well as instill an appreciation of graffiti art. The murals can be seen on the 3-D Arts building until December and also in Bemis School of Art.

Ben Wright ’01 Returns to Campus, Goes Behind the Scenes of ‘Meow Wolf’

By Sarah Senese 23

On Oct. 21, Ben Wright ’01returns to Colorado College to share his experiences working with the artistic collective Meow Wolf. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wright describes Meow Wolf as “an immersive, interdisciplinary collaboration between a large community of creatives and intellectuals,” connecting visual, auditory, and theatrical arts.

Working as the director for “House of Eternal Return,” Meow Wolf’s first full-scale installation, and as the senior creative lead for the sound team, Wright sees projects from the beginning to the end, aiding in the process of using sound to support new ways of storytelling through immersive arts experiences. Wright will discuss his work with Meow Wolf, various projects and exhibits, and the upcoming installation under construction in Denver.

Meow Wolf uses non-linear composition techniques for sound and interactive installations, a unique arts experience which Wright has had the privilege of working with so closely. The concept development at Meow Wolf always begins with the seed of an idea, necessitating collaboration with others to grow an artistic concept into a dynamic and immersive experience, a process for which Wright says CC has prepared him greatly. For Wright, Meow Wolf is directly “applicable to the CC culture in that it crosses all these boundaries between different areas of expertise including tech and sound, stage design, theatrical and performative elements.” The collaborative and community-based skills established at CC hit close to home for Wright, reminding him of the Department of Music and the feedback he received from professors and peers, specifically.

Wright presents on Oct. 21, in Cornerstone 130 at 7 p.m.; the event is open to the public and all students are encouraged to attend. Learn about Wright’s work with the collective, both the creative process and musically, and how he took his Colorado College experience and turned it into a career, utilizing CC’s creative community and engaging deeply with other artists. For Wright, his liberal arts education defines how he approaches problems and collaborates with others, “there’s strength in numbers here at Colorado College, and a great potential for success in every student.”

Get to Know: Kyle Cunningham, New General Manager of KRCC

By Miriam Brown ’21

Kyle Cunningham was named KRCC’s new general manager in September. But he’s not new to KRCC, or to public media, or even to the general manager position.

Cunningham says that “people kind of just fall into public media,” and he was no exception. While studying at Oklahoma State University for his bachelor’s degree in English, he started working at KOSU, the university’s public radio station. After graduation, he started working for KOSU full-time, eventually moving to KRCC to serve as membership manager in 2016, and the interim general manager in January.

“The history of our region, I think it’s very rich, and the idea that I could serve that community in a greater capacity as general manager is something that really appealed to me,” he said. “And I was just having a lot of fun being interim general manager, so I figured, well why not go for the job and see if I can do this?”

For Cunningham, Colorado Springs has been a special place to work and live. He loves being able to take his three dogs on hikes, exploring Old Colorado City with his wife, and meeting a unique mix of residents with adventurous spirits and “can-do” attitudes. He says he feels the energy and growth of Colorado Springs, and he thinks KRCC, as a public media organization, is best poised to match that growth.

“There’s plenty of awesome news outlets out there that do a good job, but I really think that public media stands alone in the sense that it is … truly nonpartisan and really strives to be that space for everyone,” he said. “We bring stories, human stories, stories of our own community, and I’ve always liked that.”

As general manager, he hopes to see KRCC grow in staff, in coverage, and in its ability to reflect the community and meet its needs. As for his goals for himself, he hopes to be at KRCC for a “very long time.”

“I’m incredibly lucky to be where I’m at right now,” Cunningham said. “I’m happy to be part of the Colorado College community, the KRCC community … I’m hoping that I can give back to this community in the same way it’s given so much to me so far.”

To support KRCC, those interested can tune in at 91.5 FM, read news at, and donate at Students interested in internships can contact Managing Editor Andrea Chalfin at