Maggie Mehlman ’19, Sophia Pray ’19, and Jilly Gibbs ’20 sit in front of a large painting of a man and woman with boxes of strawberries and fields in the distance, part of artist Don Coen’s visiting migrant series on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Pray tells a group of fourth- and fifth-graders from nearby Taylor Elementary School that she likes the painting because it reminds her of California, where she is from.
“That’s good,” Mehlman says of Pray’s explanation as to why she likes the painting. “She didn’t just say ‘I like it’ or ‘it makes me happy,’ but told us why. She provided evidence for her personal connection to the art.”
David Figel ’20, Ana Ortiz-Mejias ’19, and Emily Gardner ’19 tell the students to look at various paintings in the museum, asking them to find one they make a connection with. Prompts for connections include: Which piece of art reminds you of yourself? Someone you know? A place you have been? A time when you felt a strong emotion?
Students put their hand on their head when they find a piece of art they connect to, then share their connections with their classmates. As they sit in a circle on the museum floor, Figel asks them what they learned.
“We learn more about each other when we share connections,” one student replies.
“You can always learn something new about somebody,” says another.
The 13 Colorado College students working with the elementary-school children are in Associate Chair and Lecturer in Education Kris Stanec’s Power of the Arts course, one of CC’s community-based-learning classes. Intertwined with the class was a project called “Multiple Narratives,” which fosters engagement with art through a writing curriculum that begins with students making connections between themselves and a piece of art.
The project also seeks to validate and support individual’s various narratives and relationships to art. “My approach challenges the common dominant narrative of museum education, in which the museum has the knowledge and visitors come to listen.” Stanec says.
Stanec is the Spring 2017 Mellon Faculty Fellow for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum. The fellowship supports Stanec’s work developing a curriculum to bring together CC students, Colorado Springs School District 11 teachers and students, and FAC docents with the museum’s collections. The Mellon grant supports the development of the Colorado College and Fine Arts Center alliance, and provides funding for supplies such as art cards, schools’ transportation and museum admissions, and pays for the near para-professional assistance of Paige Harari ’17, who has worked closely with Stanec on the project.
Every day during the first two weeks of Block 6, Stanec’s class visited Taylor Elementary (full name: Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary, a serendipitous tie-in with the Fine Arts Center), working with the students in a series of writer workshops. There they used art cards, or photographs, of pieces in the FAC’s permanent collection as writing prompts, engaging students with the art before they even entered the museum. The connections the students made with the artwork generated ideas, or “seeds” for their narrative pieces.
In his combined class fourth- and fifth-grade class at Taylor Elementary, Kyle Gilliam stresses the importance of taking a seed and growing it into a small moment, or snapshot. Working with the children, CC students taking Stanec’s class remind them to use emotion, the five senses, similes, and metaphors in their writing. The result: One girl selects a photo of a Western scene and writes, “Bang, bang! I hear the sounds of gunshots in my ears. Popcorn bursts with flavor inside my mouth.” She explains that the painting reminds her of watching Western movies with her grandmother.
After the two weeks with the CC class, Gilliam says improvement in his students’ writing was clearly evident. “Students went from a few sentences, mostly ‘telling’ about the art card, then transformed into ‘showing’ a wonderfully written narrative,” he says. Asked who benefits most from the CC-Taylor Elementary partnership, Gilliam says he sees it as a win-win for everyone. “I know that our young students benefit from the opportunity to interact with positive role models. Furthermore, this collaboration forms a connection between two learning communities that produces long-lasting benefits for all involved.”
The CC course culminated with a visit to the Fine Arts Center by the children, many of whom had never been there. Prior to the big day, FAC docents joined the CC education course, discussing research on how people learn in informal contexts. The CC students and museum docents used education theory to co-create museum experiences that would meet the goals of both elementary school teachers and museum educators. Understanding how people learn enacted transformation that motivated viewers to look longer at the art.
“I was left speechless as I watched the students interact with art in a way that I’ve never seen before,” says Gilliam. “They were fully engaged and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and appreciated art in a new way.”
A highlight of the aptly named “Multiple Narratives” project was the elementary author-sharing portion of the venture, which took place at the FAC.
The Taylor Elementary students had been revising and rehearsing their art-inspired narratives based on the FAC art cards for two weeks. During their visit to the Fine Arts Center, Weston Taylor and Chris Bittner of CC’s ITS: Innovative Technology staff videoed each child as they read their narrative about their connection to a piece of art. The videos will preserve the students’ narratives and be available for other museum visitors to experience through a free augmented-reality app, Aurasma.
Aurasma will allow the students to view themselves reading their narratives in front of the actual piece of art that inspired it. And, even more importantly, they can share their experience with their family, as each student received a free family pass to the Fine Arts Center. Through the app, other visitors can use the students’ stories as models for finding their own connections to the artwork, Stanec says.
“My hope is that the elementary students’ videos as well as the CC students’ augmented reality ‘auras’ created as assignments in the class are accessible to museum visitors in the future, as well as expanded upon by community members, artists, and museum educators for additional exhibits,” she says. “If this technology and the writers’ workshop curriculum with art cards used in this Mellon-funded pilot program become a sustainable part of the FAC, we can continue to work toward the co-creation of multiple narratives beyond this project.”
Jacob Eichengreen gets excited when a plan comes together. In fact, it’s actually his job to connect dots, strike up conversations, and match resources with ideas. Eichengreen is executive director for the Quad Innovation Partnership, a joint initiative between the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, the United States Air Force Academy, and Colorado College. He’s spent months digging in to the Colorado Springs community and building a set of programs that connects students with opportunities to implement new ideas, with the goal of integrating recent graduates into the Colorado Springs workforce. Now, he says, it’s time for action.
Applications just opened for the Quad’s signature Summer Intensive. The intensive will run the month of June and is open to current students and recent alumni from the four partner institutions, with preference given to rising juniors and seniors. Ten students from each school will be selected for the opportunity to build, test, and validate a commercially viable solution to some of Colorado Springs’ “most gripping problems” as identified by city and industry leaders. Submitted problems range from homelessness and food insecurity to the implementation of new technologies in a business context. Participants choose which problem they find most interesting to work on and will work in cross-campus teams to realize their ideas.
The program will be facilitated by Air Force Academy faculty with support from Eichengreen, but most actual teaching will be done by members of the community. For example, a unit on design thinking will be led by a premier design-thinking consultant from the area. Other units that touch on marketing, feasibility analysis, branding, fundraising, and legal will all be taught by local experts. The end result is an opportunity for students to learn step-by-step what it takes to bring an idea out into the marketplace from some of the region’s most compelling practitioners. Interested students can attend an information session: Thursday, March 30, 4 p.m. at the CC Career Center.
The summer intensive isn’t the only thing that excites Eichengreen or the community about the partnership.
“The most exciting thing about this partnership is the range of opportunities that I’ve come across; the breadth of opportunities that are right here is awesome,” he says. The partnership’s mission focuses on students from the four participating institutions, working to elevate, educate, and create innovators in Colorado Springs. The elevate component focuses on events programming and celebrating the opportunities for innovation in Colorado Springs, and the four institutions. Educate specifically involves developing skills and providing hands-on opportunities for students through workshops and classes, and offering ways for the students to engage with the broader community. The create component encompasses just about everything else, says Eichengreen.
“That could mean opportunities for students to serve as project-based consultants in the community. The Air Force Academy, for example does problem-solving work with the IndyGive campaign, and has offered their framework to the Quad to create a way for students to earn payment for their work. It’s work that can be lower-risk than an internship, because it’s just for one project. It provides students portfolio development and can offer transitional opportunities for newer alumni, lowering the barrier for entry to smaller for-profits and nonprofits.”
But that’s just one example. Eichengreen doesn’t want the partnership to be limited by a strict definition of innovation. “We’re really trying to be responsive to needs and opportunities,” he says of developing programming. “We have a framework, but it’s flexible. If students are passionate about something, we want to build that in — homelessness, robotics, bitcoin, take your pick on the socioeconomic spectrum. Because our community is smaller, opportunities to get involved at a meaningful level are way more abundant here.” He says innovation can be anything that turns ideas into “valuable action.”
Here, in the Pikes Peak Region, Eichengreen says, there are numerous opportunities to practice innovation professionally, and they’re more accessible here than they might be in other parts of the country. He lists several local organizations off the top of his head that are leading the way locally: “Innovations in Aging is located here, for example, translating cutting-edge research in aging from a research group at UCCS into real-world action; there’s the Olympic sports and outdoor infrastructure; the National Cybersecurity Center; food justice – at least two CC grads are making tremendous waves in food equity, translating waste into plenty and disrupting the food distribution system; and the city itself is looking for new ways to deliver better services, be more agile, and be more responsible with limited funds.” With so many opportunities, Eichengreen says, it’s hard to focus the program because there’s so much happening.
The Quad Partnership is putting the finishing touches on its own dedicated space, a 2,000-square-foot facility right downstairs from Loyal Coffee on the south side of downtown Colorado Springs. “One component is an open workspace, accessible to students, faculty, and staff from our participating institutions to use in a way that’s beneficial,” says Eichengreen. “We have the capability to host art installations, or performance showcases, anything that doesn’t have a home on campus or would benefit by immersion in community. This becomes a neutral, third-party space where the partner campuses and broader community can interact and build relationships. Celebrate the grand opening Wednesday, April 19, 5-7 p.m. at 408 S. Nevada.
He says local and alumni-founded companies can use it as a test marketplace or a space to conduct student, alumni, or faculty-based research. “One week, we could have a demonstration of the national winner of the search-and-rescue robot competition that PPCC did last year; over the holidays, we can host a pop-up retail shop; and if there’s sufficient demand,” he says of the possibilities. There are so many areas in which innovation can be applied and practiced. I hope our space will be compelling, cool, fun to be around, and contribute broadly to applying new thinking and turning ideas into valuable action in our community.”
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Ever wonder what it takes to turn a passion into a career? Anton Krupicka ’05, an ultra-runner, provides insight into his journey to success as a professional athlete as part of the “Just Curious Show.” He was one of the first people to make a career out of the curious sport of running more than 26.2 miles, usually much longer, in his case often 100-mile races, usually on trails in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve ever wondered about how and why different people follow and succeed in various career paths, the “Just Curious Show” podcast is a perfect place to turn. The program, launched by Daniel Bedell, explores a variety of careers through conversations with people working in those areas. The most recent episode, and so far the show’s most popular, features Krupicka, who graduated CC in 2005 with a BA in philosophy and physics, and earned a BA in geology in 2006.
Bedell was compelled to start the podcast because he says he wanted to provide a substantive way of educating students about what it really takes to enter specific careers. He says “the media often only features people at the top of their game and only features the good parts of their lives and jobs.” Bedell hopes his podcast will counteract this lack of information, and educate students on “the good, the bad, the real, and the fake, so they can make the best choices possible for their future.”
Bedell says he was excited to profile Krupicka, someone often considered “one of the godfathers of pro ultra-running.” Bedell is also a runner himself, and wondered what it would take to be a professional runner, especially since there often isn’t a lot of prize money. By featuring Krupicka, he was able to answer his own questions, as well as educate students on what it takes to be a professional athlete. While at CC, Krupicka ran cross-country, but didn’t consider himself a stand-out runner. That changed when, the summer after graduating from CC, he won the Leadville Trail 100 ultra-marathon. The Leadville 100 is a prestigious and difficult race, and winning so early in his ultra career was an impressive feat. Since then, he has gone on to win the Leadville 100 again, and gained many sponsorships to make ultra-running his career.
Beyond his success in running, Krupicka says he is “someone who really is just a nerd of the sport he loves and is happy to talk about it in an honest way.” Krupicka is quite grounded, Bedell says, and “realizes he serves as a marketer for his sponsor companies; and marketing pays his bills.” He isn’t above talking to people like Bedell about the nitty gritty aspects of his job, and is a perfect example of someone who is making a career out of what he loves. To hear about Krupicka’s experience at CC, and his life as a professional ultra-runner, listen to the “Professional Athlete” episode.
By Alana Aamodt ’18
New this academic year, the Community Engaged Scholars Program offers students a comprehensive, structured plan for sustained, informed, and deliberate community engagement. Beyond just requiring a certain number of hours of community engagement, the program helps students find personal meaning and interconnectedness in their activities. Community engagement includes any pursuit that works with a community or campus partner to address a social or environmental need, or indirectly contributes to the mission of those partners through raising awareness around social or environmental issues.
“I am thrilled at the number of students — more than 120 — who joined the Community Engaged Scholars Program in its inaugural year,” says Jordan Travis Radke, director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement. “To me, it demonstrates the passion and drive our students have for living lives dedicated to positive social change. I am excited to see what the future holds, given that this program seems to deeply resonate with our students.”
The program’s goal is to encourage students to consider and articulate how what they’re doing constitutes engaged citizenship and addresses social and environmental needs, rather than just setting generic bounds to what community engagement means. To do this, the program requires on average 10 hours of community engagement each block, as well as participation in skills trainings, and co-curricular learning events, such as lectures on related topics. The program culminates in a senior reflection retreat and the creation of an engagement portfolio that serves as a record of their work, and as a reflective articulation of their progress.
“I have enjoyed community service work since I was in high school,” says Emma Kepes, ’17, a community engaged scholar, “so being a part of clubs to continue that work in college was the natural choice. Through these clubs, I have also found that I enjoy working with kids the most, so I have stuck with AMA and Cool Science since freshman year for that reason.” AMA, Aprender Mediante Amistad, which is Spanish for “learning through friends,” provides mentorship and tutoring for local students between the ages of 5 and 18 whose first language is Spanish, and Cool Science brings local kids to campus for fun and easy science experiments. Kepes is the co-leader of AMA. “I hope to do more important work like this after I graduate,” Kepes adds.
CCE also offers a Community Engaged Leadership Certificate, whose mission is to “develop civic leaders by cultivating students’ ability to integrate and apply learning toward solving complex social challenges.” The resulting structure, initially implemented in 2010, is a three-phase program starting a student’s sophomore year with exploring unmet community-driven needs and committing time to address those needs; then focusing skills and commitment towards one social issue during junior year; and implementing what they’ve learned through a capstone project of the student’s own design senior year.
“The main [difference] is that the leadership program has a capstone project,” shares Montana Bass ’18. “The project involves a partnership with a local community and can be related to your thesis, so it’s an awesome way to tie your studies into community work that might not be there otherwise.” The CEL program is also a smaller, more selective cohort than CES. While both programs require 75 hours of service per year, the CEL program asks for those hours to be at a higher responsibility during the student’s junior year, such as taking the lead on a project, group, or organization, and then devoting hours in the student’s senior year to an integrative capstone project.
“My favorite part so far has been getting to know the other people in the leadership certificate program. It’s a really small group so conversations are really intimate and everyone can get involved,” Bass adds, referring to the cohort model of the program.
These programs both work to strengthen CC’s commitment to community engagement and engaged learning. Read more and apply for the CES program, and learn more about the requirements and timeline for the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
This year, the Colorado College Nordic ski team grew immensely, and qualified the most skiers ever in school history for the Collegiate National Championships in Bend, Oregon in this month. Team captain Ines Siepmann ’18, along with Alice Oline ’18, Kelsi Anderson ’18, and Oliver Jones ’20, qualified for the National Championships by accruing points throughout the season and competing in a specific number of races.
Siepmann says the many new members of the team aided in making a great group dynamic across the team. Last year, the team had 6-10 skiers at each race, while this year a range of 13-21 CC athletes competed. Many had never skied before, meaning a lot of the team’s success was measured by progress and time spent on the snow. The most recent competition for the team was the Cowboy Chase and Laramie Loppet in Laramie, WY over the Block 5 block break. The team competed in four other races over the course of Block 5, performing well and racing hard. While it’s an exciting marker to qualify for the national competition, none of CC’s skiers will be able to attend the meet, which is taking place March 5-11. Siepmann says it is just too much school to miss on the Block Plan.
Sieppman says balancing schoolwork and skiing is generally manageable. The team trains mostly on dry land, since the closest Nordic area is in Monument and hasn’t received enough snow this year for good skiing. The next closest Nordic area is at Breckenridge, which is a two-hour drive from campus, so a lot of training happens at or near campus. According to Siepmann, the team places a lot of importance on inclusivity by providing all the necessary equipment, so “different athletes participate with the team in different ways.” Not every skier comes to all practices and meets, so students are able to tailor their participation to their school work load.
Looking ahead to next year, Siepmann says the team will get together to decide goals for the upcoming season. They have already decided to continue practicing throughout this spring, and have had a pancake breakfast for the team. Siepmann says she’s excited for the continued team bonding activities, and is also looking forward to discussing next year’s intentions and leadership.
Photo of Ines Siepmann ’18 (right) and Alice Oline ’18 by CJ Monson ’20.
By Montana Bass ’18
In a creative and fun-spirited performance, the docents of Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center tell the history of the FAC, contextualizing this important cultural monument and reemphasizing its continuing contemporary cultural impact. The play comes at a particularly important moment in FAC history, as soon the museum will merge with CC and begin a new era of partnership. This relationship will allow for sharing of resources between the college and the museum and revamped programming of presentations, classes, and workshops for both the college’s and Colorado Springs’ community members.
The play was adapted from a skit that was part of the FAC’s “Off the Wall” program, which was designed to familiarize children with the museum and bring its art to life. FAC staff were looking for a presentation on the museum’s founding for the popular “First Saturdays” members tour, FAC docents took on the challenge of writing and staging a 45-minute “founding women” play.
Docent Specialty Co-Chair Cindi Zenkert-Strange, a former writer and editor, scripted the play and Wendy Gray, professor of theatre at Pikes Peak Community College, directed. The new, full-length performance describes the founding of the FAC by three incredible women, Julie Penrose, Alice Bemis Taylor, and Elizabeth Sage Hare.
“We spent a lot of time researching,” said docent Kathy Olson, who plays Julie Penrose, “We wanted to add a lot of tidbits about their personal lives, really develop their personalities. These were really incredible, interesting women.” Much of the plot centers around how the three founders incorporated their three very different backgrounds and visions into one cohesive museum. All three were part of Colorado Springs’ elite, although their interests and personalities varied widely.
Julie Penrose and husband Spencer Penrose, the multimillionaire entrepreneur who developed the Broadmoor Hotel, donated their home on Dale Street to be used by the prestigious Broadmoor Art Academy. This, in turn, became the site for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which incorporated a museum, art school, theatre, and music performance space under one roof. Julie Penrose’s vision for the FAC was based on her love of beauty and classical art. In contrast, Alice Bemis Taylor had an impressive Native American Southwest and Spanish Colonial art collection, so she held that as her primary interest. “She realized she couldn’t continue to house the collection in her own home,” explained Zenkert-Strange. Bemis Hall was named after Judson Moss Bemis, Alice’s father. Alice herself made significant contributions to Colorado College in the form of student scholarships and building funds. “Also, the Bemises really wanted to give back to the community, so her interest was really in making her collection more widely accessible.” Lastly, Elizabeth Sage Hare’s involvement in the New York City modern arts scene added a third vision for the museum. “She wanted everything to be modern, cutting-edge,” said Zenkert-Strange.
The docents will give their next performance on March 8 to members of the Cheyenne Mountain Newcomers Club and will perform at four other venues through May. They look forward to continuing to share this story with FAC visitors and members of the CC and Colorado Springs community. “I think we want to express what a gem we have in the building and in the collection,” adds Zenkert-Strange. “When you understand history, you can better appreciate the present, and plan for an exciting future.”
Check out events and exhibits at the FAC and look out for a CC-focused showing of the docent’s performance next block!
Saturday, March 4, more than 300 students, staff, faculty, and community members took part in the Student Art Show, hosted by President’s Council. Over two dozen artists were featured in the largest display of student art of the year. Three jurors – Dean of Students Mike Edmonds, Professor of Art and Fine Arts Center Director Rebecca Tucker, and Fine Arts Center Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Joy Armstrong – awarded twelve “Juror’s Choice” awards to student artists.
Hannah Seabright ’18, “Shadows in Tiananmen”
Amelia Eskenazi ’19, “Moonlight Rollaway”
Suzanna McMurtry ’17, “Mona H.”
Jenny Welden ’18, “Nothing New Under the Sun”
Works on Paper
Amelia Atencio ’18, “Clothesline”
Abby Wigdale ’18, “Nasty Woman Pt. 1”
Liz Ellinger ’18, “Blue Noise”
Caitlin Taber ’17, “La Voyageur”
Catherine Sinow ’17, “Nonfunctional Objects”
Brian Chen ’18, “Weathered Bronze Vase”
Special Category: Most Relevant
Elsa Bonyhadi ’18
Special Category: All-Around Awesomeness
Jenny Welden ’18
Congratulations to all CC student artists on their exceptional work, we can’t wait to see what’s next!
By Montana Bass ’18
Whether you’re a seasoned dancer, elite rock-climber, campus leader, or simply looking for a new way to practice mindfulness, contact improvisation offers a way to explore the limits of one’s own physical boundaries.
Dance instructor Sue Lauther teaches the course, which will be available again in Block 7, and says it’s not just about dance or movement, but about learning to communicate with one another through touch. By doing so, “students will become more aware of the physics of their own bodies and learn how to better handle unexpected surprises or find their way through unplanned situations,” she says. Additionally, by creating physical awareness, dancers can also check in with themselves emotionally.
As Lauther explains, “Contact improv for me is another language. It’s learning to stand up for yourself. To reach out to others. To negotiate, communicate desires, joys, and disappointments. It’s good for any soul.”
It’s not just for any soul; contact is also beneficial to any body. Monica Black ’19 adds, “I’m not by any means a dancer, and it takes the onus off of figuring out something cool to do. Instead you can just focus on the energies that you and your partner are giving each other. It’s also a really vulnerable form of dance with lots of lifts and obviously very close contact, so you have to trust the other person to support your body.” This intimacy is important when our day-to-day lives often lack platonic physical touch, Lauther says. In contact improvisation, dancers learn to advocate for themselves as well as address group needs nonverbally.
As a dance major, Trevon Newmann ’18 finds benefits as well. “Contact improv has been about experimenting and adjusting. I’ve really learned how to work with a variety of people and how to give and earn trust. It’s good for getting out of your comfort zone.”
This experimentation leads dancers to a self-awareness pivotal in various aspects of their lives, and Lauther loves helping them find it. “It just delights me when somebody is amazed by the changes within themselves, doing things they didn’t think they could do,” she says.
Students, if you’d like to experience contact improvisation, you can enroll for the Block 7 course, running Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-4:30 p.m. Or, show up in the Cossitt South Studio on the first day of Block 7. Contact Sue Lauther with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Alana Aamodt ’18
Monday, March 6, marks the start of CC’s first Design Week, organized by the extended format art class Graphics Research Lab, taught by Kate Leonard, professor of art. “The idea behind the week is to generate an awareness of design and its role in our community,” explains Mikala Sterling ’17. Sterling and Naomi Van der Lande ’17 are the two students spearheading the week of events.
“The week will give students who are interested in this topic the chance to learn about resources on campus that work to create opportunities for students to get involved with these departments,” says Van der Lande. While CC does not have an explicit design program, this week helps demonstrate that there is no lack of involvement in design fields during and after a student’s time at CC.
Multiple open houses, showcasing the creative resources at CC, will occur throughout the week at places such as the arts and crafts studios, the Office of Communications, the costume shop in Cornerstone Arts Center, the CC Press, and Innovation at CC in the Morreale Carriage House. The Integrative Design Group, which is a club at CC, will also be involved throughout the week, and will run a trial of the Packard Projection Project on at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, in which student design work is projected onto the north wall of Packard Hall.
“The week is also meant to highlight successful CC graduates who have incorporated design into their careers, and to provide workshops and talks to encourage new conversations about how we think about design in our everyday lives,” Sterling says, referring to activities like the talk “Designing with Reclaimed Materials” with Susan Hoff ’06, and a typography workshop in the Visual Resource Center in Packard Hall.
The organizers share that they are especially excited for the Alumni Panel on Tuesday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Cornerstone Screening Room, where past students will be able to share their experiences and successes in the design world since graduating from CC.
View the events schedule for CC Design Week, an event Sterling and Van der Lande hope will continue in years to come, bringing awareness and consciousness to design in the CC community.