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
23 large group sessions
(including area young professionals) 582
13 focus groups 94
One electronic survey 298
Number of actual comments received:
Listening sessions 181
Website online input 273
Comment cards 367
Comments are still being accepted (webpage includes a comment area) and more information is available at: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/
Sharon Corwin, professor of art, chief curator, and the Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art, delivered a presentation on Nov. 3 titled “The Future of College Art Museums,” highlighting the bridge the Colby College Museum of Art is building between academic and public communities. Many affiliated with the historic Colorado College-Fine Arts Center alliance attended the presentation and subsequent panel discussion, which was moderated by Rebecca Tucker, CC professor of art and FAC museum director.
Corwin praised Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for the innovative, collaborative model that is being developed between the two, noting that the partnership can serve a model for others in the field.
Corwin says the Colby College Museum of Art’s primary goals are: to serve as a teaching resource for faculty and students; be a destination for visitors to the area; and contribute to the cultural landscape of the region. But, she says, “Academic engagement is the heart and soul of what we do.”
The Colby College Museum of Art, founded in 1959, has nearly 8,000 works and a collection that specializes in American and contemporary art with additional, select collections of Chinese antiquities and European paintings and works on paper.
The Colby College Museum of Art actively is partnering with other regional cultural institutions such as the Asia Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York City, which is helping to raise the museum’s national profile and level of scholarship, Corwin says.
The Colby museum also seeks to build professional experiences, mentorships, and networking opportunities for its students by offering internships at the museum as well as partnering with other institutions. Among those are the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Glasgow. “We want our students to have rich professional experiences,” Corwin says.
Colorado College’s I.D.E.A. Space programming, now in place for more than a decade, already incorporates many of these themes. CC’s program, begun in 2006, was designed from the outset so that exhibitions would be integrated into the teaching mission of the college.
The program has evolved over the years, says I.D.E.A. Space Curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen. “It has developed not so much through the establishment of a template, but through relationships with faculty to build understandings of their needs and how interaction with the visual arts can support teaching.”
She notes that curated projects allow students to respond to exhibition themes, contribute original research, analysis, or creative work to the exhibitions. “In what I’m calling an iterative exhibition model, some exhibitions continue to evolve over the course of two blocks, as we add students’ contributions. Exhibits are not ‘done,’ but evolve as layers of scholarship and multi-interpretations are added,” she says.
Additionally, students often present their work to the public. “It holds them accountable to a larger audience than their professors, makes them really think through the subject material,” she says. “You have to understand your topic thoroughly to describe it in 300 words or less to a novice audience.”
Some projects comprise a large portion of work over a block. One example is “Atomic Landscapes,” an exhibition that examined the nuclear history of the Southwest through the work of five contemporary artists. In the block prior to the Atomic Landscapes exhibition, students in Eric Perramond’s class Nature, Region and Society of the Southwest researched nuclear-related sites in New Mexico and wrote exhibition text that was included when the exhibit opened. Perramond is director of the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies and director of the State of the Rockies Project.
Highlighting the program’s interdisciplinary nature, three other classes contributed to the exhibition during its run in Blocks 7 and 8: Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy Marion Hourdequin’s class Environmental Ethics contributed text; a Sound Art class created a sonic landscape inspired by the exhibition’s theme and visual materials that was included in the exhibition; and students in Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre and Dance Shawn Womack’s Participatory Art class interviewed senior citizens at a local community center about their memories of the bombing of Hiroshima or Cold War experiences, then performed monologues based on those narratives.
Another project highlighted in the presentation was a community partnership with Kris Stanec’s Power of the Arts in Education class. Stanec, assistant chair and lecturer in CC’s Education Department, says students work with area teachers to establish learning outcomes for an interaction with an IDEA exhibition. Students then develop and lead “tours” for area schoolchildren. The goal is to develop dynamic, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based interactions that meet teachers’ specific learning objectives and fulfill common core requirements. Stanec hopes to demonstrate that learning in a museum can occur through means other than lectures, wall text, and head phones.
Says Hunter-Larsen, “these programs have been successful due to the experimental nature of CC’s faculty, their willingness to take risks with teaching.”
“There are boundless collaborative opportunities here,” says Perramond. The alliance “can enrich faculty approaches in new ways. I’m excited about this because it re-engages us in what drew many of us to the liberal arts in the first place,” he says.
In addition to Corwin, Hunter-Larsen, Stanec, and Perramond, panelists included Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Mario Montano, CC professor of anthropology.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Cynthia Lowen ’01, poet, writer, and producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary “Bully,” is visiting CC this block, sharing insight into her creative process, her experience as an artist, and how she innovates social change through her own creativity.
She spoke on campus Thursday, Nov. 3, as part of CC’s Innovative Minds series, which features speakers from various industries and backgrounds and allows them to share insights from their personal and professional experiences, and is a block visitor teaching a screenwriting course in the Department of Film and Media Studies during Block 3.
According to Jill Lange, program manager for Innovation at CC, Lowen “has maintained ties with the college in various capacities over the years” and Lange was excited when Lowen accepted the invitation to speak. Lange says she’s proud to showcase Lowen’s success in “navigating her own innovative, artistic career path.”
Lowen is an award-winning poet and film writer and a recipient of the Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Prize. She wrote and produced the 2012 documentary “Bully,” which focuses on childhood bullying in America’s schools. “Bully” was nominated for two Emmys, and was awarded the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism and the 2013 Stanley Cramer Award, among others. After the production of “Bully,” Lowen co-wrote “The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention and Intervention.” She has also published a poetry collection called “The Cloud That Contained the Lightning,” which won the 2012 National Poetry Series.
Next up on Innovation Thursdays: A Big Idea workshop titled “Minimum Viable Product” Thursday, Nov. 10, 4-5p.m. Morreale Carriage House for students interested in participating in the Big Idea competition to understand “what is a MVP, why it’s important and what it’s used for.
By Alana Aadmot ’18
Keller Venture Grants, made possible by the Keller Family Foundation, allow hundreds of Colorado College students to create and implement their own research projects by providing students up to $1,000. Last year, the program provided nearly $150,000 in student research funds and saw 146 CC students pursue their own individual research projects on campus, across the United States, and around the world.
Last Spring Break, Celia O’Brien ’18 pursued her project titled “Teachers at Busesa Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School, Uganda.” O’Brien spent three months teaching fifth grade students at this same school back in 2014 as part of her gap year, which served as inspiration for her project.
“I was really affected by my time there,” she elaborates, “I knew I needed to somehow find my way back. I took Professor Charlotte Mendoza’s Globalization of Education course my first year, and that sparked the idea to apply for a Venture Grant to return to the school and dig a little deeper.”
O’Brien formulate her idea into a plan to investigate the teachers at a particular school and the growing role of English in their classrooms. Particularly, she wanted to study what factors shape teachers’ lives, the daily and long-term challenges they face, and the experiences that shape and motivate them as teachers.
O’Brien’s research involved a series of interviews with teachers as well as classroom observations to learn “how the teachers interacted with the students, how they organized the class, and especially how they used English versus their local language,” she says.
“I was surprised to learn how much of themselves they invest in their students in unseen, or at least subtler ways,” O’Brien says of her results. “They spend so much time and energy and thought on the kids. This quality, I learned, isn’t very common in Ugandan schools; at this one (Busesa), the high quality and dedication of the teachers attracted new students every day I was there.” This popularity, O’Brien learned, brought new challenges to the school, leading her to explore not only the successes of the school but also the consequences of a success, all thanks to her Venture Grant.
Soren Frykholm ’17 also received Venture Grant funding, on two separate occasions, to enact his own projects. He pursued his first Venture Grant, “Going the Distance: The Effects of Travel on Team,” in the summer of 2015. Frykholm, a member of CC’s varsity men’s soccer team, traveled to England, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany with the team to play soccer, and with the aid of a Venture Grant, he was able to create a documentary film of their experiences.
“During our travels, I used my camera and some audio gear that I borrowed from CC’s film department to conduct interviews with all my teammates and many of the people we encountered on our trip,” describes Frykholm. “Over the course of 18 days, we played ten soccer games in four countries, toured many historic cities, volunteered at several local schools, and much more. I captured many of our best moments on camera.” The result was a ten-minute documentary, with a 25-minute extended edition, that examined the travel’s effect on the team and helped Frykholm grow his filmmaking skills.
“It slowly evolved to feature more of the people we were meeting instead of just the guys on our team,” he says of the progression of his project, “it became increasingly about not only the camaraderie forming between us, but also about the international connections we were making and the implications of the fact that we were acting as ambassadors for our school and our country. I ended up interviewing many of our hosts, some of whom were CC alumni, and others we met.”
Frykholm says he hopes that his work and the conversations it created inspired his team to do some deeper thinking “about the opportunities we have as CC students to expand our intellectual, cultural, and humanistic horizons,” like it did for him.
These are just two examples of the ways Venture Grants can be interpreted and enacted. Read more about Venture Grants and explore grants from years past. Or, hear from Venture Grant recipients at the 2016 Keller Venture Grant Forum Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Celeste Theatre. The event begins with presentations at 4:15 p.m., followed by a reception in Cornerstone Main Space at 5:15 p.m.
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.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
On Saturday, Nov. 5, just days before the 2016 presidential election, the CC departments of music, theatre, and political science, as well as Innovation at CC, will put on “Purple State, Purple Haze.” The event is a live combination of music, drama, and news clips that highlight stories from throughout the 2016 presidential primary campaign trail from across the country.
The CC constituents are partnering with New York musical theatre composer Michael Friedman and have been working on the event since January. According to Andy Post ’16, paraprofessional for Innovation at CC, Friedman traveled the country during the presidential primary elections, interviewing people and creating songs using the exact transcript of their stories. The Department of Music selected four students to work with Friedman to collect additional interviews to feature in “Purple State, Purple Haze.” As part of the process of developing the performance, Post and Ben Pitta ’18 traveled to New Orleans to collect more interviews from people living and working in the Ninth Ward.
The goal of the event is to highlight themes found throughout the interviews. Post says the themes range from memories of 9/11 and how it changed the national discourse, to Trump supporters’ celebration of his businessman acumen contrasted with a disillusionment with corporate America, to discussions of race in New Orleans. Post says the goal of the performance is “to be satirical, honest and provocative,” and to “delve into real people’s relationships with the political climate.” Instead of repeating the scandals and clichés of mainstream media, this event encourages people to ask: “how did we get here?” on issues like immigration, race relations, and other important current issues. Along with a live band, actors on stage will perform a script comprised of the interviews documented throughout the campaign season. It will tell an intriguing story of the country’s intricate political climate during the exhausting run up to election day.
With the performance only three days before the 2016 presidential election, its relevance is obvious. The show attempts to “imitate, satirize, and make sense of the wilderness of the media coverage and anxiety” that come with it, says Post. It is an attempt “to be jarring and raw” and make people laugh, as well as question their political beliefs and opinions. You’re invited to “Purple State, Purple Haze: A Political Performance,” Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Kathryn Mohrman Theatre.
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.
CC faculty and staff are invited to participate in the Friends of CC program during Fall, Winter and/or Spring breaks during the academic year. The Friends of CC program is a host offering for students whose families reside 100 miles or more from Colorado Springs, or plan to stay on campus during the break(s). The program is coordinated by CC’s Butler Center.
If you’re interested in spending time with CC students, there are a number of days available to do so this academic year. These days are: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, during CC’s Fall Break; any day between Friday, Dec. 23 and New Year’s Day Sunday, Jan. 1, during CC’s Winter Break; or any day between Thursday, March 16, and Saturday, March 25, during CC’s Spring Break.
The Butler Center will coordinate with international students and others who plan to stay on campus during a break period. The Butler Center will connect them with faculty and staff who’ve expressed interest in hosting and spending time with students.
If you have already established a connection with a student, you are welcome to continue that relationship and you’re invited to share that information with the Butler Center to include your “host” status in the Friends of CC program.
It is important for CC to consider background checks of host families, and because CC faculty and staff had a background check before being hired, this program is a cost-effective way to offer opportunities for students to feel connected to adults in a familial way.
To participate in the program during Fall Break, please contact Pearl Leonard-Rock by Monday, Oct. 24, by 4 p.m. If you would like to participate during Winter or Spring Break, respond no later than the first Monday of Block 4 or 6.
Thank you for helping support CC students!
As CC and the Fine Arts Center begin to join forces, planning for the CC-FAC alliance to get underway, both institutions gained new expertise, and four individuals from the Fine Arts Center are officially CC employees. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to two of them; this week get to know Michael Howell, registrar and collections manager at the Fine Arts Center.
Before his work at the FAC, Howell was director of the Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Pennsylvania where he also taught the modern and contemporary component of the art history program.
Howell says his role as FAC registrar and collections manager is challenging and stimulating as, “I get to work with all of the art and the legal component involved with art contracts. My favorite part is being back in an academic environment and working with students.”
As he recently told the Pikes Peak Bulletin, Howell is looking forward to expanding the FAC intern program he started five years ago, comprised mainly of CC students who will study contemporary museum theory. He will also continue a project he started with CC student Abby Stein ’15 to return Native American sacred and cultural objects to appropriate entities.
Howell is trained as a studio artist and holds a master’s degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He says he’s learned that his strengths are in facilitating the production and dissemination of art within a broader cultural context.
As for what he’s looking forward to as the CC-FAC alliance moves forward: “I am extremely excited to be involved with expanding the museum to incorporate a stronger and broader educational role.”
You can reach Howell at email@example.com or by visiting him at the Fine Arts Center.
By Alana Aamodt ’18
Hoff creates bags and accessories inspired by her years spent at sea and her upbringing on a Midwestern horse farm. Reclaimed sailcloth and vintage horse tack are brought together to create products that are not only sustainable but rich with character, evoking stories of their former lives.
Over the course of three days, Hoff helped students find inspiration from a multitude of recycled materials, turning them into structural forms and useful items. Materials included salvaged fabric, stone, metal, wood, bike tires, and cans as well as leather and sails provided by Hoff. After Hoff’s crash course in sewing and her creative advice, students produced backpacks, lampshades, seats, and shoes.
Colorado College helped Hoff get her start in design in more ways than one. An art major and outdoor enthusiast during her time as a student, Hoff received a Ritt Kellogg Expedition Grant for a multi-week sailing trip around Maine the summer after her junior year. The Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund, created by the Kellogg family to honor their son Ritt, a CC alumnus who died in a mountain climbing accident, provides CC students money for thoroughly planned backcountry trips.
Hoff researched Ritt Kellogg’s life before applying for her grant and discovered that he was also an avid sailor. To learn more, she contacted an old friend of Kellogg’s who worked for Outward Bound’s sailing program in Maine, beginning a friendship that eventually procured her a job. After her expedition and later, after graduation, she returned to Maine to work as a sailing instructor for Outward Bound.
Over the course of four years, Hoff lived and worked on 30-foot open sailboats, teaching sailing for weeks straight. She recounts having to sleep like sardines in the boat next to ten students, stepping onto land very occasionally. To conserve space and bring a personal touch onboard, she began crafting journals and bags for her sailing journeys — things that were small and durable.
Starting to tire of constant life on the water, Hoff thought to sell the journals and bags made from scraps of paper and old sails to shops in Maine. “This was kind of a revelation,” she says of her surprise of being able to just walk into a shop and sell her work, “I realized this could be a viable job.”
At one point, Hoff’s mom sent her some old horse tack (leather used in horse equipment) from their farm in Illinois thinking she might be able to use it. This, combined with the sailcloth, evolved into the basis of her current bag designs. Selling to small shops in Maine allowed Hoff to eventually show her work at a trade show. Consequently, orders came in and she moved to New York City, becoming a one-woman designer and producer of bags. “I didn’t have a studio,” Hoff tells, “I was driving a launch boat on the Hudson and making bags on the floor of my apartment in Brooklyn on the side.”
After about a year, Hoff moved to San Francisco, where she currently resides, and has had no trouble finding horse tack and sails to recycle. She is in the process of opening a shop and continues to experiment with sailcloth. Versatile and durable, she has used it for wall dividers, upholstery, drapery, and outdoor furniture.
Although inexpensive, recycled materials present other challenges, says Hoff — they’re inconsistent, requires a lot of cleaning, and their supply is not guaranteed. However challenging, she is drawn to the material itself and keeps with it because it’s sustainable and possesses other less tangible qualities: “It has stories to tell, it has age, it has character.”
Hoff will be running another recycling workshop during the Block 6 Design Workshop class. The class, taught by Carl Reed, professor emeritus of art, will work with CC’s student-led Integrative Design Group and Hoff to create recycled items for the Wellness Resource Center. Anything from window coverings to lamps to chairs may be created, bringing student-made character and comfort to this vital facility on campus.
You can check out Hoff’s work on her website.