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Commemorating Juneteenth

Junteenth 2020

By Shannon Zander

A Brief History of Juneteenth

 Juneteenth, a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth,” is today! Juneteenth

commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and a half years prior, there was no one to ensure that the proclamation was known and upheld in the absence of federal troops.

Manya Whitaker, associate professor of education and interim director of the Butler Center, likened Juneteenth to the Fourth of July: “for many Black descendants of enslaved people, Juneteenth — or Jubilee — is our independence day. Just as July 4th is celebrated in memory of the colonies gaining independence from England, Juneteenth is when the last enslaved people, 2 ½ years after slavery was supposed to have ended, were finally set free in Texas.”

Whitaker noted that the marginalization and oppression of Black individuals certainly did not cease on June 19, 1865, as many of the previous enslaved individuals “had no choice but to remain on the plantation where they’d lived their entire lives and continue working as they’d always worked as ‘paid’ labor, never earning enough to be able to leave.”

“Nevertheless, this day is historic and is celebrated in Black communities nationwide as a moment to remind ourselves that we’ve overcome the unimaginable and we will continue to fight for our humanity.”

Why Awareness of Juneteenth Has Been On the Rise:
Awareness of Juneteenth is on the rise in the United States. In June 2018, the number of Google searches for the term “Juneteenth” nearly tripled. Currently, the interest in Juneteenth is the highest Google Trends has ever recorded.

Whitaker attributes the increased interest in Juneteenth to two reasons: “the Black community is re-grounding itself in its roots” and “we are telling our history beyond the borders of our own homes.” She notes that oral tradition has been a core way that Black individuals have passed stories and history down through generations, “but in recent years with the support of social media and technology we have many more options for documenting our stories and Juneteenth is one story that clearly needs to be told. That people are googling it tells me that at least some people want to listen.”

Here’s how you can commemorate Juneteenth
While many in-person, local events to celebrate Juneteenth have been canceled, you can still participate from anywhere in the world through these virtual events:

View more events and read more about the history of Juneteenth here.

Acknowledging and Supporting Those Observing Ramadan

By Jen Kulier

The holy month of Ramadan began at sundown on Friday, April 23, over block break, and runs throughout Block 8, ending around May 23 in North America. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, extra prayer, reflection, and increased charity and generosity. It is also a time of community, celebration, and joy. A commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation, the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and lasts for a month, from one sighting of the cresent moon to the next.

During Ramadan, some Muslim students, staff, and faculty will be fasting from sunrise to sundown. According to Chaplain Kate Holbrook, this can be a very spiritually centering, rewarding, and also demanding time for students, as well as for staff and faculty.

The Chaplain’s Office at Colorado College offers support and resources for members of the campus community who are observing Ramadan, just as they do for those who celebrate and follow other faith traditions.

“In partnership with faculty within the CC Muslim community, we will be hosting a dessert gathering late one night, post Iftar meal; students are in all different time zones now, which means they are breaking fast at all different times,” says Holbrook. Contact Chaplain Holbrook for more information (kholbrook@coloradocollege.edu).

The CC Muslim community is invited to join the Yale Muslim community for “Friday Reflections” (a virtual Jumma reflection) at 12:30 p.m. EST. and “Ramadan Reflections” which will happen on Mondays and Wednesdays. Email Holbrook (kholbrook@coloradocollege.edu) if you are interested and she will send you the links.

Eid al Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, will occur at sunset around May 23.

Ramadan Resources:

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/chaplainsoffice/resources/religious-holidays-2020/ramadan.html

Students Deal with Distance Through Weekly Gaming Meet-Ups

By Miriam Brown ’21

As Colorado College settles into its first block of distance learning, some students are using online gaming as a way to stay connected.

Every Tuesday from 2-4 p.m., Esports Coordinator Josh Lauer ’19 hosts a virtual meet-up on Jackbox, a platform of multi-player party games that people can play together from anywhere with internet. Lauer will start a game and share his screen, and students can join his game remotely through voice chat. A lot of the games can be done in 10-20 minutes, Lauer says, so some students will jump in for one game, while others will stick around for the full two hours.

Lauer himself has been using Jackbox for a while to keep in touch with busy or out-of-state friends, so when CC students moved off campus, he knew it could be a way to keep people together. For his session during CC’s scheduled Spring Break, about 15 people joined in, and though the number went down once the block started, it’s accomplishing his goal just the same.

“I think it is accomplishing at least getting people back together and getting people talking,” Lauer says. “Even though it was only a couple students last time, it was just nice to join a voice chat, and they could talk with me or vent.”

And Lauer’s not the only one noticing the current benefits of remote gaming. Other members of CC’s community have since contacted Lauer asking for assistance on how to set Jackbox up, and CC’s board game club has also been hosting virtual meet-ups of their own. Some CC students even teamed up to build a virtual version of Tutt Library in Minecraft.

“It’s just nice knowing that the word has spread,” Lauer says. “Then if Tuesdays don’t work for people, there are still other options for more student engagement.”

It’s not too late to join CC’s broader gaming community. Interested students can contact Lauer for information on how to join the CC Esports Discord Server, which currently has about 300 students.

 

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.

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.

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.”

Award-Winning Poet Dominique Christina to Perform at CC

By Miriam Brown ’21

Dominique Christina has performed her poetry for National Poetry Slam Championships, TEDx stages, YouTube videos with thousands of hits, and conferences across the country. Next Monday, she will add Colorado College to the list.

Christina is an award-winning writer, educator, and activist who has written and performed poems broaching topics such as police brutality and menstruation. On Oct. 7, Christina will perform in Kathryn Mohrman Theatre with SpeakEasy, CC’s spoken word troupe, and Poetry 719, a Colorado Springs-based group, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Montana Bass ’18, health education paraprofessional at the Wellness Resource Center, says the WRC sponsors ongoing programming throughout the month, but this performance is probably their biggest event.

Last year, they hosted spoken word poet Olivia Gatwood as part of their Domestic Violence Awareness Month events. This year, they’re also collaborating with the Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team to follow the performance by providing relevant resources available to community members.

“I [hope] that students and community members who attend the event … develop a better understanding of the dynamics in intimate partner violence of power and control and the way that that is related to systems of oppression and other forms of identity-based violence,” Bass says. “I think Dominique is going to be really wonderful at drawing those topics together.”

Christina will perform on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in Kathryn Mohrman Theatre in Armstrong Hall. She will also be holding two workshops open to the CC community on Tuesday, Oct. 8: “Ally’s a Bad Word” at 12:15 p.m. in Sacred Grounds, and a writing workshop at 4 p.m. in the Cornerstone Flex Room.

Good Luck to CC Rugby, Heading to Nationals this Weekend

Cutthroat Rugby

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

CC’s Cutthroat rugby team recently beat Western Colorado University 19-0 in the National Small College Rugby Organization Rocky Mountain 7s. This win qualified the team for SCRO National Rugby 7s playoffs in Pittsburgh, April 27-28. The team calls themselves the Cutthroats rather than the women’s rugby team to be gender inclusive; they heads off to play in Pittsburgh this weekend.

Bridget Galaty ’21 has been playing rugby since fifth grade, and has been on the Cutthroats their entire time at CC. In fact, Galaty considered rugby when choosing a college and says “when I was a prospective student at CC, I sat in on a class and ended up being seated next to a few people who played on the rugby team. They were super nice and helpful and I could already tell this was a group of people I wanted to get to know and play with.” Galaty’s choice turned out to be a great one. “The Cutthroat team is so kind and loving and we really are a family. I know that my teammates have my back and will be there to support me both on and off the field. Further, I feel comfortable being myself around them and I never feel judged for being my authentic self,” Galaty explains.

In Pittsburgh, Galaty is “looking forward to playing games that are competitive and force us to play our best game.” As evidenced by their 19-0 win over Western Colorado, Galaty says, “We are a really good team…so I just want to see us doing what we know how to do and hopefully that will help lead us to victory!” The Cutthroats begin with their first game against Endicott College on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. in Pittsburgh and will then play Eckerd College at noon.

Celebrating Destruction: Amaury Bargioni ’19 Creates Mural on Demolition Site

By: Miriam Brown ’21

Amaury Bargioni ’19 has been painting a mural on the side of the Whitney Electric Building for the last two blocks. Soon, it will all be destroyed, and he can’t wait.

The Whitney Electric Building, located behind Wooglin’s Deli on North Tejon Street, is one of many buildings that will be knocked down to make room for the new Robson Arena. Most students don’t know the building by its name, but instead by its colorfully painted walls and long history with Colorado College artist-activists.

In 2014, the CC InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts program commissioned Pueblo artist Jaque Fragua to paint a mural on the north side of the building, as part of an exhibition entitled “Rhythm Nations: Transnational Hip Hop In the Gallery, in the Street, and on the Stage.” For his part, Fragua painted rug patterns from different Native American tribes, commenting on the inability for many to see distinctions between tribes. On the top, he painted bar codes to express frustration with feeling like “just a census number” in the United States.

In addition, murals on the east side of the building were painted by Mike 360, a street artist working in Albuquerque, as part of a collaboration with Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies Jamal Ratchford’s class on hip hop culture during the 2016-17 academic year. The murals stayed on the Whitney Building over the years — until now.

When Bargioni and members of the Art Department heard about plans for the building’s demolition, they saw an opportunity to turn the destruction into a celebration, all while honoring the building’s history with Fragua and his use of graffiti art for social commentary.

“People are mad about the hockey arena, and they’re mad about the buildings being taken down,” Bargioni says. “So I guess the project was born from the aim to make it not a problem that it’s being taken down, but more like it’s a good thing.”

The mural, titled the “Wall of Negativity,” will feature objects, ideas, and concepts that CC students want to see disappear from the community. Bargioni took the first turn, painting enlarged images of chains and a gun. The mural spans two walls, designed to look like one cohesive image from a distance. The walls are currently painted black, but members of the CC community will be invited to paint what they want to be rid of in white.

When the building is knocked down, Bargioni hopes to document its demolition along with the destruction of the Wall of Negativity, serving as a ritual cleansing of the CC community.

CC students, faculty, and staff can participate by painting on the mural on Sunday, April 14, from 1-5 p.m. at the Whitney Building. Supplies will be provided.

“I’d love for people to show up,” Bargioni says.