Posts tagged as: FAC

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Gets Political with Don Coen, Force/Resistance

CS Fine Arts Center, Migrant Exhibit Get National Recognition

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been named the Best Gallery and Museum in Colorado, and one of the top 25 in the country by board of the American Art Awards.

Additionally, Don Coen’s exhibit of migrant workers, now on display at the museum and recently included in a Colorado College story, was featured April 8 on NBC Nightly News in a segment called “An Artist Paints the Nation’s Forgotten Migrants, One Canvas at a Time.”

Colorado College and the FAC are in the process of an historic alliance. The agreement between the two institutions calls for a four-year transition period to allow for careful planning and integration. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will retain its current name until July 1 of this year, when it will become known as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

CSFAC Named One Of America’s 25 Best Galleries And Museums

Planting the Seeds of Art and Writing

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.”

FAC Docents Stage Play Highlighting Female Founders

Docent performance

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!

 

CSBJ Analysis: Cultural shift part of FAC merger

Bañagale Composes Music for CC, FAC Production

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wide Community Input Gathered in CC, FAC Planning Process

The first major phase in the strategic planning process undertaken by Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has wrapped up, with nearly 1,600 people participating in the listening and information gathering process.

Four community listening sessions were held — two at Colorado College and two at the Fine Arts Center — as well as a series of small-group focus sessions and large group discussions, in order to seek input from various community constituents regarding the re-envisioning and redefining of CC and the FAC’s role in the arts in the region. In addition, more than 800 comments have been recorded from the 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 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,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.

“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of thoughtful input from the community into this important process,” says 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 are now being compiled, reviewed, and considered in the next phase of the strategic planning process. The subcommittees are reviewing the emerging themes for each of the Fine Arts Center’s three program areas (click on links to see the emerging themes in each area: museum, Bemis School of Art, and performing arts) and are beginning to draft program planning.

The community comments and feedback reveal several overlapping themes 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

More information is available at https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/

Sub-committees Begin Work on CC, FAC Program Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community Engagement By the Numbers

Broad community outreach:                                # of participants

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

Subcommittee outreach:

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

= 974

Number of actual comments received:

Listening sessions                                                               181
Website online input                                                          273
Comment cards                                                                   367

= 821

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

 

Presentation, Panel Looks at ‘The Future of College Art Museums’

Jessica Hunter-Larsen, left, and Sharon Corwin tour the collection at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

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.