Posts in: General News

Bañagale Composes Music for CC, FAC Production

The alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is striking a musical chord.

Colorado College Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Bañagale has composed the original score for “Enchanted April,” a production opening Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Fine Arts Center. The romantic comedy, based on the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, is coming to the FAC for the first time, following 500 critically-acclaimed productions worldwide.

“I think this foreshadows the exciting ways that we can think about collaboration and innovation in the arts as we move forward with the CC and FAC alliance,” Bañagale says.

The music has been scored for a Colorado College student string quartet comprised of Anna Lynn-Palevsky ’18 and Naomi Sherman ’17, violin; Emily Fitzgerald ’20, viola; and Cirl Lee ’17, cello. In addition to the musicians, Max Sarkowsky ’20 and Caleb Cofsky ’17 have been assisting with the recording set-up and process, providing them with exposure to professional-level production techniques and procedures. The students have been recording in Packard Hall with the assistance of the FAC’s sound designer, Ben Heston.

Bañagale notes that there are more than a dozen individual cues, ranging from 10 seconds to several minutes in duration.  Says Bañagale of the score, “The interesting challenge has been how to sonically set the dreary mood of post-World War I London that dominates the first act with the lighter, brighter location of Act Two — a villa on the Italian coast.

An added benefit of the collaboration was the addition of the language skills of Amy Brooks, Tutt Library’s special collections coordinator and regional performing artist. Brooks, who often works as a dialect coach, met with the cast individually and in groups, helping them hone their upper-class British accents. She also coached three non-Italian-speaking actors for a show in which their characters speak fluent Italian. Says Brooks, “I see this alliance as presenting wonderful possibilities for cross-pollination.”

“Working collaboratively with the students, the FAC production team, Amy Brooks, and director Joye Levy has been a truly wonderful experience,” adds Bañagale.

An additional perk of the alliance is that Colorado College students can show up an hour prior to any performance and receive a free ticket (as available) by showing their CC ID.

“Enchanted April” runs Feb. 9-27, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Embracing the “Roma Experience”

Vatican Hall of Maps Students 1480

If education is all about breaking boundaries and surpassing limits, studying abroad may be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to learn, at least according to Davide Bolognesi, former visiting professor of Italian.

“I was particularly impressed by the students,” he says of his time teaching at CC during the Spring 2014 semester. “They all were eager, talented, and curious about Italian culture. We conducted excellent projects together.” Though he’d taught in the U.S. previously, this was his first experience on the Block Plan. Bolognesi says the format lends itself specifically to foreign languages by providing students with an immersive experience, citing the “transformational power of travel.”

Incorporating a variety of projects related to Italy and Italian culture in his Ph.D. work, from educational movie production to travel, led Bolognesi to his current role. He is applying his extensive knowledge of Italian culture to a new venture, working with Roma Experience, an organization that promotes knowledge of Italy, and of Rome in particular, through experiential itineraries designed to provide a cultural context, in-depth information about the history of the visited sites, and powerful storytelling presented by talented guides.

“Roma Experience takes the interaction with Italian culture and its great beauty one step further by offering authentic experiences to curious and eager non-Italians. It feels like a continuation of my teaching because I am providing an introduction to Italy and Italian culture through my work,” he says. From private Vatican tours, to intimate group tours through Rome, to Italian cuisine tours and shore excursions to Rome and Florence for cruise passengers, Bologesi says Roma Experience customizes itineraries to meet the desires of visitors.

Heather Powell Browne, assistant director of off-campus study, had the opportunity to experience Rome firsthand while in Italy visiting CC’s partner study abroad programs. She was able to take additional time to visit some of the lesser-known sites and “hidden gems” of the city by connecting with Bolognesi and Roma Experience.

“It was very cool to have the ‘academic experience’ of learning in-depth cultural and historical information when I was there. I really enjoyed connecting with our former visiting professor Davide, and seeing how he is still sharing his knowledge and passion for Italian history and culture. This art history undergrad learned things I’d never heard on my own study abroad program!”

As he guides visitors – Bolognesi notes that his work with Roma Experience caters to travelers more than tourists – moments of silence can be just as important as the dialogue about various locales. “In a guided tour, people need time to admire and feel in awe, and to stand before incredible art masterpieces that represent some of the greatest achievements of history’s greatest men and women. The experience is something they would never forget. Something that changed them.”

Guiding tours to the less-frequented, though still extraordinary, cultural sites, reminds Bolognesi of his time guiding students through their educational experiences. “When I witness somebody with their eyes wet with tears and mouth opened in awe, it reminds me of my time teaching at CC where I got to see students light up about Dante, Caravaggio, and Italian culture and literature. It is a pleasure to watch them grow excited about all the things we Italians grew up with which have been so important in our lives. These moments reinforce the feeling that I am doing the right thing, and making my time and energy worthwhile.”

Bolognesi is a sincere advocate for inter-cultural and experiential learning – a value from his time at CC that extends to his work with Roma Experience. “There cannot be personal, cultural, or intellectual growth without experience and there is no experience unless we leave our comfort zones,” he says. “We must travel abroad and immerse ourselves in new cultures to evolve. Perhaps this does not come without risk, but I believe it is a greater risk not to try — especially in a globalized world like the one in which we now live.”

Bolognesi welcomes collaboration with members of the CC community traveling or studying abroad.

Finding (and Folding) Gratitude on Campus

Origami Cranes

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

A shift in perspective can go a long way. That’s the thinking behind the Gratitude Project coordinated by the CC Wellness Resource Center. The project involves programming aimed at helping individuals and the campus community connect with feelings of gratitude for positive aspects of their lives.

To wrap up Block 4, the Gratitude Project invited students, faculty, and staff to fold origami paper cranes that will be made into an art installation. They were also able to find out what makes members of the campus community feel grateful. During Block 3, there was a display of sticky notes on a window of the Worner Campus Center and members of the CC community were encouraged to write what they were grateful for and put their own sticky note on the window. The origami paper for the cranes is printed with the many things people wrote on their sticky notes.

In the second week of Block 5, the instillation of cranes will go on display in Worner Campus Center and while the exact design of the exhibit is yet to be determined, Heather Horton, director of the Wellness Resource Center, says the art will embody the idea of “gratitude flying around campus.”

According to Horton, there were many reasons to initiate this project. The overarching goal is to, “help individuals and the community as a whole connect on a more regular basis with a sense of gratitude for the people, places, and practices that make our lives better,” she says. Inspiration came from national dialogue and research on gratitude from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Greater Good Gratitude Research. Horton says that “it’s easy to focus on what we feel is lacking in our lives or what isn’t going well, but when we are able to shift our attention to what we have, we are likely to feel better.” This idea ties in with Horton and the Wellness Resource Center’s desire to “create a different kind of culture on our campus, where we can be honest and talk and understand across differences, but also appreciate the people around us even when (perhaps even especially when) they have different beliefs and ideas than we do.” Horton says engaging gratitude can help with that.

Other aspects of the Gratitude Project include the journaling series put on by the Wellness Resource Center the second Tuesday of every block at 3:30 p.m. in Worner Room 226, and Qigong every Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. in Shove Memorial Chapel’s side chapel, as well as gratitude yoga; check with the Office of the Chaplain for dates and times.

 

Carlos Santistevan Talks Art, Influence, and Inspiration with Students

Carlos Santistevan

Carlos Santistevan, the first Coloradan to have art displayed at the famous Santa Fe Spanish Market, brought his expertise to campus, presenting a lecture and teaching a class at CC earlier this month. Santistevan, a Denver native, is a descendent of Pedro Antonio Fresquis, an artist famos for his religious artwork and known as the “Truchas Master” after the town north of Santa Fe where the artist’s major works were found. Santistevan himself is famous for his own works of colonial New Mexican art; some of his pieces are owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art. He gave a lecture Dec. 6 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center that explored the history of New Mexican folk art.

According to Santistevan, early New Mexico consisted of very isolated, agrarian communities that depended completely on weather and natural elements for survival. These communities developed a strong belief in God and saints; it’s a culture that fostered the distinctive art of colonial New Mexico, which, as demonstrated by Santistevan, continues today. Santistevan explains the unique style of this folk art is attributed to its influences: Folk art of the American east has strong European influences, and folk art from New Mexico folk has only native influences. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has the largest collection of colonial New Mexican art in the world, which is one of the reasons Santistevan was excited to visit CC.

In addition to his lecture at the Fine Arts Center, Santistevan also spent time with Assistant Professor Karen Roybal’s Southwestern arts and culture course during his visit. According to Roybal, Santistevan talked with her class about “his methods, influence, and take on creating Spanish colonial art from a New Mexico tradition,” and “how history and heritage influence artist’s work.” Santistevan was also influential in starting one of the first Chicano art galleries in Denver and spoke with students about his role there. Prior to their class discussion with Santistevan, students experienced the FAC collection of colonial New Mexico art firsthand.

 

 

 

Catch Up, Get Ahead, or Explore with Summer Session

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Whether students are looking to study a language abroad or knock out a major requirement, Summer Session 2017 offers them the opportunity to catch up, get ahead, or explore a new topic.

While Summer Session provides an opportunity to enroll in some of the same academic courses offered during the regular school year, there are also courses that explore more unique topics, such as American bluegrass and videogame culture and design. Off-campus summer courses apply academic subjects to specific locations; this summer offers study of Portuguese in Brazil, arts and culture of Bali, and environment and culture in the Himalayas.

Jim Burke, CC’s new director of Summer Sesison, says he’s excited for his second summer on campus and he, “wants Summer Session to continue to serve our students with dynamic and rewarding academics that explore a new subject matter or fulfill degree requirements.” He is also excited at the opportunity Summer Session provides for faculty, as they are able to “work on new projects and courses, and delve into new topics they may not get a chance to teach during the regular acadmic year.” For Summer 2017, more than half of the courses fulfill a degree requirement and/or one of CC’s general academic requirements, something Burke says many students have requested.

One new course being offered partially on campus this summer is Advanced Topics: On the Road — American Bluegrass, taught by Keith Reed, music instructor and director of the CC bluegrass ensembles. The music course focuses on how live performance has affected the development of American bluegrass. Students will spend half of the block in Nashville, Tennessee, working with professional musicians, recording their own music, and attending music festivals. Reed says the idea for the course grew from a grant he received two years ago for a student ensemble. He says, “that experience inspired students so much that I wanted to open it up to all students looking to experience the music industry through the process of touring, performing, jamming, and speaking to professionals in the music industry.” According to Reed, the course will “create a lasting bond with others through music and traveling as a group.”

Off campus, professors Miro Kummel, associate professor in the Environmental Program, and Brot Coburn, visting professor, are teaching the course Himalayan Odyssey: Environment, Culture, and Change in Nepal. Students will spend a block and a half looking at how the environment of the upper Buri Gandaki Valley is intertwined with the traditions and culture. This course fits in with what Burke explained as the “diverse range of topics and departments represented” in the summer courses. Combining ecology, geology, and climatology with culture and history, the course offers an intriguing mix of topics in a location across the world from CC.

Registration for Summer Session 2017 is open now.  Also coming up after Winter Break, the “Summer in January” event is a partnership between the Offices of the Dean and Student Life to promote all opportunities available to students over the summer and offer coordinated guidance on how students can be intentional when planning their summers.

You’re invited Thursday, Jan. 26, noon-1:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall to learn about Summer 2017 opportunities, funding resources, applications and deadlines, and/or experiences to consider. No RSVP is needed and lunch is provided. Resources involved include: Summer Session, Career Center, research offices (Public Interest Fellowship Program, Venture Grants), Collaborative for Community Engagement, Outdoor Education, The Quad, and State of the Rockies.

CC Students Take Stand at Standing Rock

Standing Rock protest

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota made national news for months as members of the Sioux tribe, as well as many other tribes and non-Native American people, protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

CC students were among the thousands who participated in the protests. A number of native students, as well as the Native American Student Union, or NASU, drove to North Dakota during the first block break to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux.

According to Zunneh-Bah Martin ’19, the chair of NASU, the goal of the trip was “to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and to help in any way that we could while we were there in person.” The students brought winter clothes, food, and other necessary items to the camp in Standing Rock, after collecting donations. For Martin, the impact of the trip was substantial. She says that her time in Standing Rock made her want to extend her visit, because she felt her presence there could make a difference. Martin says her own experience growing up on the reservation of the Diné/Navajo people shaped her experience at the protest.

“I could relate to what the Standing Rock Lakota people were going through,” she says. “I know what it feels like to be treated as the minority of the minorities and as a second-class citizen as indigenous people.” Martin also returned to Standing Rock over Fall Break with her family, as they view the Thanksgiving holiday as a “time to educate others as to why this is not a holiday that should be celebrated.”

On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying a permit for construction of a key section of the pipeline, which is a major victory for the people of Standing Rock and other indigenous people around the country who are involved in the protest. They say the pipeline would destroy sacred lands for the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as greatly restrict their water access. The protest has also sparked controversy over Native American rights to their own land.

 

Brewing and Biology Foster Community Connection for Julian Dahl ’17

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Colorado is a great place to be a craft beer enthusiast and Julian Dahl ’17, senior at CC, is taking advantage of it. President of the recently founded CC Homebrew Club, and previously a summer intern at Triple S brewing in Colorado Springs, Dahl engages his passion for beer throughout the community.

Dahl admits he “didn’t really like beer” until he was exposed to “good, Colorado craft beer.” He describes the evolution of his affinity for the beverage: a brew journal of his favorite beers and their details turned into what’s called extract brewing, where he would buy a company produced malt extract and create his own brew from it. Now, he has upgraded his one-gallon system to a five-gallon set, where he makes his own recipes from different combinations of grains and hops.

“Our goal is to think about what we’re tasting,” Dahl says of CC’s Homebrew Club. Additionally, the club helps engage CC students with the community through interactions with local brewers. “There are 28 breweries in Colorado Springs, which is a ton, and it creates a culture of brewing,” he explains.

The Homebrew Club is where Dahl met Steve Stowell, a community mentor to the club who works for Triple S brewing. The relationship evolved, as Dahl began working for Triple S brewing over the summer as the “resident microbiologist,” where he combined his skills as a biology major with his interest in beer.

For his internship with Triple S, Dahl set up a simple lab at the brewing company, using a microscope to evaluate the yeast and testing samples for contamination. “It’s 15 barrels of microbes’ paradise” Dahl jokes of the yeast and sugar concoctions that will eventually be beer. His job was to determine the right ratios of yeast based on the current state of the yeast and “quantitatively find infection.” When he did find contaminants, the brewery could better clean that section of their equipment before risking their whole batch.

Dahl was lucky enough to find an overlap in his longtime interest in biology and developing desire to make beer. By following his interests, he has been introduced to a “friendly, supportive community,” one he describes as an incredibly “sharing community among competitors,” grounded in helping each other out and enjoying good beer. As Dahl approaches graduation, he knows he wants to stay involved in brewing and has toyed with idea of a microbiology startup that utilizes what he learned over the summer. In the meantime, contact Dahl if you want to learn more about home brewing, see the process, or help him bottle: julian.dahl@coloradocollege.edu.

Sub-committees Begin Work on CC, FAC Program Plans

The first major phase in the strategic planning process undertaken by Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center wrapped up in October. A series of community listening sessions were held, as well as small- group focus sessions and large group discussions, in order to seek input from various community constituents regarding the re-envisioning and redefining of the FAC and CC roles in the arts in the region. Nearly 1,600 people participated in the listening and information gathering process.

In addition, 821 comments have been recorded from the four community listening sessions, comment cards and online comment forms.

“I am so pleased with the number of community members who have participated in this process, and so grateful for the care and thought that were captured in their comments. This input gives everyone involved in planning an excellent foundation for moving forward,” said Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.

“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of thoughtful input from the community into this important process,” said Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center CEO David Dahlin. “The value of the community’s perspectives can’t be overstated as our mission continues to be primarily to the community at large. Hearing from so many what they value about the FAC and what they hope for the future will inform this next phase as we begin to develop programmatic directions that integrate the needs and hopes of both the CC community and the Colorado Springs community.”

The community comments will now be compiled, reviewed and considered in the next phase of the strategic planning process. The subcommittees will review the emerging themes for each of the Fine Arts Center’s three program areas (click on the link to see the emerging themes in each area): the museum, Bemis School of Art and performing arts, and begin to draft program planning.

The community comments and feedback reveal several overlapping themes that have surfaced in the various subcommittees’ work. These include:

  • Using the unique opportunities presented by the CC-FAC alliance to serve as a bridge to and between various communities
  •  Increasing access to and engagement with broader communities
  •  Preserving and enhancing programming for new and existing communities
  •  Leveraging resources and proximity of programs between CC and the FAC

On Feb. 1, 2017, the draft program plans will be shared with the broader community. From there, the timeline is as follows:

  •  March 15, 2017: Subcommittees submit final program plans to the Strategic Planning Committee
  •  April 2017: Strategic Planning Committee shares the draft comprehensive plan with the broader community
  •  May 1, 2017: Strategic Planning Committee submits the final comprehensive plan to the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee
  •  On or before June 30, 2017: Strategic Plan Oversight Committee approves the plan  

Community Engagement By the Numbers

Broad community outreach:                                # of participants

Four listening sessions                                                     287
One faculty/staff open house                                          106
Five CC academic department meetings                      34
Online input at the CSFAC website                               60
Physical comment cards                                                  81
Total:                                                                                   = 568

Subcommittee outreach:

23 large group sessions
(including area young professionals)                            582
13 focus groups                                                                  94
One electronic survey                                                       298

= 974

Number of actual comments received:

Listening sessions                                                               181
Website online input                                                          273
Comment cards                                                                   367

= 821

Comments are still being accepted (webpage includes a comment area) and more information is available at: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/

 

Students in Dakar

Montana Bass ’18 Teaching, Fundraising in Dakar, Senegal

 Montana Bass ’18 and Toni Burdick, a student at Hamilton College, have joined forces while studying abroad in Senegal. The students have launched a fundraising campaign to bring sanitary equipment and running water to Ker Xaleyi, a primary school in Guinaw Rails Sud, Pikine, Dakar, where both students are intern teachers this semester.

Pikine resident Abdoulaye Ba founded Ker Xaleyi in 2012 to combat poverty and illiteracy. Many Pikine students cannot afford public schools and those that do face inadequate learning conditions. Many public schools in Pikine average 90 students per classroom and 1,000 students per bathroom. Of those students, 56 percent do not graduate elementary school.

For half the price of public schools, Ker Xaleyi school offers a safe place for students to gain a bilingual education from Senegalese volunteer teachers and international interns such as Bass and Burdick, who are working with more than 150 students. Unfortunately, the school currently lacks funding for basic resources. Bass invites the CC community to help them raise funds that will bring two toilets and running water to Ker Xaleyi in the Spring 2017, ensuring safer, more structured school days.

Do Mountains Matter to Millennials?

Mountains Matter to Millennials event

By James Rajasingh ’17, student summer researcher for Innovation at CC, and Walt Hecox, professor emeritus of economics and environmental program

Why even ask this question of CC students? Consistently, more than 75 percent say they are super-oriented toward the outdoors, which is part of what attracted them to choose CC in the first place, and it’s where they spend much of their spare time and block breaks.

But widening the view, “millennials” are sometimes categorized in ways that question their orientation to the outdoors. Take, for instance, this statement made by Jonathan Jarvis, director of the U.S. National Park Service: “Young people are more separated from the natural world than perhaps any generation before them.” Or consider this comment from Bozeman-based writer Todd Wilkinson: “Sentiment persists that younger recreationists, who tend to like things faster and steeper than their elders do, don’t care about the land the way their backpacking forebears did.”

So what do millennials in the Pikes Peak region have to say on the issue? Over the summer, Innovation at CC partnered with El Pomar Foundation’s Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series to carry out a survey of outdoor leisure and recreation engagement. Survey results were then used to inform and guide a brainstorming session.

About 150 people, mostly young professionals, attended the “Mountains Matter to Millennials,” public session held this fall by the Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series. Attendees participated in an energetic question-and-answer portion of the program, moving from table to table, tackling a variety of questions pertaining to outdoor recreation.

Information from the survey and public listening session indicates that millennials, at least in the Pikes Peak region, value the outdoors for leisure and recreation, and they are engaged in volunteering to help manage and protect the region’s valuable mountain backdrop and open spaces.

Millennials who filled out the survey ranked Colorado Springs top among Front Range cities for desirability of living, ranking the Springs higher than Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo, indicating that young professionals who live here seem to be enjoying their lifestyle.

What are the Pikes Peak region’s greatest strengths? According to the survey, participants touted the natural surroundings. For example, one millennial wrote that the region serves as “the gateway to all outdoor recreation.” The 18-33 year olds made up a quarter of survey respondents and they were quite vocal about how nature enriches life in Colorado Springs. Millennials, along with all age groups, rated accessibility to the outdoors as the number one feature of the region. Ironically, young people also ranked accessibility as the region’s greatest challenge, summarized by one respondent as ‘difficulty accessing Pikes Peak.’  Older survey respondents identified growth management and infrastructure as more critical.

What would help millennials become more involved in the outdoors? A more coordinated avenue of information surfaced as the top answer, or perhaps a centralized website or database with regularly updated information to serve both locals and visitors. Other ideas included an annual community festival focusing on leisure and recreation; using digital apps, such as Virtual Storytelling and Google Earth Backpack, to generate interest; and employing social media, like Snapchat and Instagram to engage millennials with a sense of ownership.

The need for sustainable funding sources is a concern that crosses generational lines, as does the importance of coordinating outdoor and leisure interests. As for what would bring more millennials to the region, the dialogue focused on creating a fun, sustainable youth culture, that encourages living downtown by adding amenities such as grocery stores and more diverse night life. Participants also suggested providing incentives for businesses that support a millennial workforce, and shifting the narrative from “no opportunities” to “many opportunities,” for young professionals.

This information about the millennial demographic in the Pikes Peak region and their engagement with the outdoors will advance plans to identify how Colorado’s natural assets can be leveraged to make this a region for young leaders to work, play, and stay. Continued CC student involvement can bring energy and innovative ideas to a region made special across generations and decades. If you are interested in opportunities to help our Pikes Peak “backyard,” contact the authors.