Posts in: Upcoming Events

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.

“Woodcuts and Weavings:” Jeanne Steiner, Jean Gumpper Create Quietude in New Exhibit

By Miriam Brown ’21

Arts and Crafts Director Jeanne Steiner creates textile work inspired by high-rise architecture, such as in New York City and Chicago. Printmaking professor Jean Gumpper creates woodcuts inspired by the open landscapes of Hawaii, Michigan, and Colorado. In their new exhibition “Woodcuts and Weavings,” their art works together to create a new environment entirely.

Steiner and Gumpper have done three shows together in the past, and the owners of the Bridge Gallery in downtown Colorado Springs were among their visitors. They invited Steiner and Gumpper to install new work in a two-person exhibit at the Bridge Gallery, which Gumpper said is unusual for a gallery.

Steiner and Gumpper had a vision for the space to be contemplative, arranged in a manner that leads visitors to experience and ponder new things as they move through the exhibition.

“My hope is that we have created a ‘quiet’ environment in which to view the complexities of the woodcuts and weavings,” Steiner said.

Though their work is inspired by such different landscapes, they both are fascinated with spaces that make them pause. For Steiner, changing reflections in the glass of high-rise buildings cause her to stop and pay closer attention. For Gumpper, images of springs in the desert and signs of the changing seasons remind her of the beauty of new beginnings in the midst of continuous change.

“We feel there is a conversation among the pieces in the show, and we hope the viewers participate in that conversation by looking closely,” Gumpper said.

Visitors can view the exhibit at 218 W. Colorado Ave. from noon–4 p.m. on Saturdays, or by scheduling an appointment with jgumpper@coloradocollege.eduor jsteiner@coloradocollege.edu.

Visiting Lecturer, Playwright Lisa Marie Rollins Explores Cultural Identities

Lisa Marie Rollins

Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Lisa Marie Rollins is an acclaimed playwright, director and poet based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This semester, Rollins is a visiting lecturer at CC, teaching two classes and directing a play at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Among many other accolades, Rollins has been a Sundance Theatre fellow and a writing fellow with the San Francisco Writers Grotto, and has written and directed award-winning plays and poetry.

With her work, Rollins is particularly interested “in ensuring that institutions that produce and develop plays move to a place where they are considering deeply what kind of ‘diverse’ plays they are putting up.” She explains, “my work is to require anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, anti-homophobic practices in how you assemble and hire creative teams and select or commission plays.”

Currently, Rollins is teaching a course called Rewriting America: Playwrights and Cultural Identity. The class is focused on “plays from multiple American diasporic identities,” Rollins explains. “We are having lots of discussions about how these playwrights and their characters imagine ‘America’ and the challenges they encounter or struggles they endure either around identity or around the notions of ‘success’ and the ‘American Dream,’” she continues.

During Block 6, Rollins will teach Writing for Performance, in which she’ll use “immigrant or people of color narratives including some strong feminist perspectives.” With these courses, Rollins hopes to push students to consider themselves in relation to the world around them. “There is so much fear in the ways we communicate, fear about making mistakes and being called out, fear of being ridiculed, of being ostracized, of being rejected from community or from people we love, so much fear. I think about Audre Lorde and her question to us after she told us that “your silence will not protect you,” Rollins says. “My hope is that I can provide a place to begin to find and voice those small truths.”

In addition to teaching, Rollins is directing the world premiere of former CC Professor of Theatre and Dance Idris Goodwin’s play “American Prom.” It is the story of a segregated prom in current-day America, and “asks us to push ourselves to acknowledge the world as it is, so we can actually find a way to begin to change it, to change ourselves,” Rollins says. The play is showing at UCCS until Feb. 10.

Carlton Gamer Celebrates 90 Years of Life with Special Concert

Carlton Gamer

By: Miriam Brown ’21

When Carlton Gamer first joined the Department of Music at Colorado College, the school’s trademark Block Plan system wasn’t even in the works yet. Now a professor emeritus, Gamer will turn 90 this year, and CC faculty are throwing him a concert in celebration.

Gamer is most known for being a composer of over 70 works and a musical theorist whose articles have been published and cited in a number of academic journals, books, and dissertations. At CC, he taught courses on piano, music theory, music history, and comparative musicology — but he also co-taught courses in the feminist and gender studies, Asian studies, mathematics, and political science departments.

“Over the years, I’ve taught a number of interdisciplinary courses, and I love to do that.” he says. “When you’re teaching a course with somebody, they’re your teacher, and you’re their teacher. So for me, teaching has been an ongoing educational experience.”

If the faculty support for Gamer’s birthday celebration is any indication, then the feeling is mutual. Ten years ago, Professor of Music Ofer Ben-Amots, co-chair of the CC Department of Music, and Susan Grace, artist-in-residence and associate chair, decided to celebrate Gamer’s 80th birthday by producing a concert with performances of some of his best work. This year’s concert will feature artists such as Grace, pianist Steven Beck, former student Mark Arnest, George Preston of KCME classical radio, visiting dance professor Sue Lauther, and the Veronika String Quartet. They will perform a piece that Gamer composed in the very beginning of his career, but they will also perform another that he finished last week.

“I just hope they’ll enjoy the music,” Gamer said. The Carlton Gamer Birthday Celebration Concert is Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. in Packard Hall.

Back to the Future: Students Learn From Artist-In-Residence Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz convergence class

By: Miriam Brown ’21

Most students never meet or interact with artists whose work they study in class. But thanks to Colorado College’s artist-in-residence program, students in the classes Human/Being Anthropological Perspectives
and Southwest Arts and Culture learned about Virgil Ortiz’s art from Ortiz himself.

Ortiz, a Pueblo artist who lives in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, joined CC’s campus this fall as a Mellon Artist-in-Residence. His exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College titled “Revolution: Rise Against the Invasion” combines the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 with a sci-fi twist, imagining what the event might have looked like in the year 2180 to make it more accessible for the next generations.

For the first and second Wednesdays of Block 4, Ortiz met with Assistant Professor Scott Ingram’s anthropology class and Assistant Professor Karen Roybal’s Southwest studies class to teach them about his background, the revolt, and his art, including his FAC exhibit. In addition to these meetings, Ingram’s class met with Ortiz in Bemis School of Art on the third Wednesday of the block for an informal question and answer session, and students have had an open invitation to attend any of Ortiz’s studio hours.

“Virgil is one of the most open, kind people that I’ve ever met in my life,” said Cristina Garcia ’19, a Southwest studies and religion double major. “It’s amazing to see his enthusiasm about his work, and also the fact that he gives all the credit to his community and where he comes from. It’s amazing to see that he’s never forgotten that, [and] that he really expands people’s minds of what indigenous art looks like.”

As co-chair of the Native American Student Union, Garcia had met Ortiz twice before, at the FAC and even at Ortiz’s house for dinner. Other students reported that Ortiz gave them his personal email, invited them to his home back in New Mexico, and even sent copies of his work to a student who wanted to recreate them as drawings.

In the final meeting with Ingram’s class, students took turns thanking Ortiz for his honesty, patience, and humility in sharing his work and life with them.

“This time with you is more than just learning … [it’s] transformative,” Ingram said to Ortiz. “Rise Against the Invasion” is on view at the FAC now-Jan. 6.

Students Perform Poetry-Songwriting Collaboration

By Ritik Shrestha ’22

 Student performers at CC are pushing the boundaries of expressionism with exciting pieces.

An example of this innovation can be found in the collaboration between the Art of Songwriting course taught by Assistant Professor of Music Iddo Aharony and Contemporary Poetry taught by Professor of English Jane Hilberry. With the help of artist Reiko Yamada, CC’s innovator-in-residence, both classes have come together to create a workshop that allows students to explore the relationship between songs and poetry and how both aspects can be combined to open a whole range of possibilities in performance.

Aharony explains that “language has music in it, and music has language, so the overlapping nature of these the two fields means they really aren’t that different.”

Through four sessions, students have participated in a variety of activities such as learning how to communicate and collaborate without speaking, studying different aspects of performance, and using the poem “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbertas inspiration to create their own project. Even though these workshop topics might not be similar to each other, they were designed to show students how the dividing lines between fields can be blurred to create one unified piece. “One of the most fruitful ways is to collaborate,” explains Hilberry “it requires everyone to bring their skills together but also give up some control.”

Students in the songwriting and poetry workshop are enthusiastic about the whole experience. When asked about her experience, Maya Day ’20says, “the workshop has taught me how to collaborate and mix mediums, and it has expanded the possibilities of poetry for me.”

Now that the block is coming to an end, the students of this workshop are taking the skills they have learned and presenting them in a final performance called “Broken Songs: A Poetry and Songwriting Collaboration,” Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. in Packard Hall.

Groups of students will finally be able to show off the pieces they have been working on for the last few weeks. When asked about the content of the show, the instructors were hesitant to give many details but stressed that audience members should come in with an open mind about what a performance is because  the poets and songwriters of the class have merged their talents to produce a show that is far from traditional. “Each performance is special and shouldn’t be missed because it will never be replicated in exactly the same way,” remarks Yamada.

Experience Buck Walsky’s Art at Silent Disco at FAC “Snow Ball”

Snow Ball 2017

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College hosts a silent disco dance party underneath Buck Walsky’s “Beach Front,” an interactive art installation featuring fiber optics and LED lights. Artist William “Buck” Walsky is a Colorado native and proud parent of a CC hockey alumnus. He has one piece on display in the FAC permanent collection, and continues to create works of art, including an installation for the Burning Man festival.

Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the FAC, says she was excited to see Walsky’s art in the interactive experience of the Snow Ball. “I’ve long admired a sculptural work in the FAC permanent collection that is a large wood carving of a bird taking flight,” she says. “I was delighted to discover a few years ago that not only was he still making remarkable works of art, but that he had been commissioned by the Anchorage Art Museum to create a monumental installation for Burning Man.”

“One of my greatest passions as a curator of contemporary art is to engage with living artists and help facilitate the creation of their dream projects, specifically ones that are site-specific, immersive, and/or interactive,” she says. “Walsky’s “Beach Front” was a perfect fit for the Fine Arts Center in all regards: a celebration of a regional artist, an exciting transformation of an unexpected and under-used location, and an opportunity for Walsky to re-envision his initial concept by tailoring it to the FAC and constructing it the way he had only dreamt of the first time around.”

Armstrong says the installation was a labor of love that involved many hands, generous donors of heavy equipment and specialized skills, and ultimately resulted in a “magical experience that we’re honored to share with our community.”

“My aspiration is to create a piece that holds people’s interest and continues to draw them back in, that defines a community, and is a public gathering space,” Walsky has said about the “Beach Front” installation.

The Anchorage Art Museum presented a silent disco with its installation, and Armstrong says that video was her first introduction to Walsky’s piece. “I was inspired to bring this unusual dance party to Colorado Springs and keep it tied to the installation. I love any opportunity to engage with art in new ways, and the Snow Ball is certain to be a one-in-a-million night, and one to remember.”

You’re invited to attend the Snow Ball, Saturday, Dec. 16, 8-10:30 p.m. at the FAC. Grab a pair of wireless headphones (provided), tune in to the channel of your choice, and dance to your own beat under this stunning work of art. Cash bar and small plates will be available. Tickets: $10; $5 members; free for students (with ID).

“Beach Frontis sponsored by: Colorado Industrial Recycling, Colorado Springs, CO, RMS Cranes, Denver, CO.