“Excellence, Access, and Collaboration,” the strategic plan for the alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, was unanimously approved by the Joint Board Oversight Committee on June 14 during Colorado College’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler described the alliance as a win-win, saying, “We have an amazing opportunity through this alliance to build a national model for a collaboration between a college and an arts center. Most partnerships focus on only one institution; our vision is thoroughly collaborative, and aims to enhance both CC and the FAC in new ways.”
Designed to go beyond simply merging the two organizations, the alliance seeks to create a new, forward-looking structure that honors the commitment of both institutions to sustainable fine arts programming.
“We’re excited to have this visionary and meaningful strategic plan, identifying excellence, access, and collaboration/connectivity as our main focuses, and look forward to developing and implementing the operational plan that brings this aspirational vision to life,” says Fine Arts Center Director Erin Hannan. “The work that we’ve already done to bring these two organizations together has set the stage for these next steps to get underway.”
The name officially changed to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College on July 1, and by July 1, 2020, the transfer will be complete. Look for official festivities celebrating the alliance planned for Family & Friends Weekend and Homecoming in October.
The legal agreement that guides the alliance calls for a four-year transition period to allow for careful planning and integration of the three programming areas of the Fine Arts Center — the museum, the Bemis School of Art, and the performing arts program. The focus on the museum starts in July 2017, Bemis in July 2018, and the performing arts in July 2019.
Steps already are being taken to implement the strategic plan in the Fine Arts Center’s museum, and even before the finalization of the alliance, CC and the FAC were partnering on a variety of projects encompassing theatre, music, art, and education.The collaborations are both large and small, running the gamut from a single-day event to the entire run of a theatre production. Among them:
CC Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Bañagale ’00 composed original music for the FAC production of “Enchanted April,” performed Feb. 9-26. The music was scored for a string quartet of CC students: Anna Lynn-Palevsky ’18, Naomi Sherman ’17, Emily Fitzgerald ’20, and Cirl Lee ’17. Students Max Sarkowsky ’20 and Caleb Cofsky ’17 were involved with the recording process, with help from FAC sound designer Ben Heston.
CC Associate Chair and Lecturer-in-Education Kris Stanec ’88, MAT ’89 developed a curriculum to bring together CC students, Colorado Springs School District 11 teachers and students, and FAC docents with the museum’s collections. During Taylor Elementary students’ visit to the FAC, CC’s Information Technology staff videoed each child reading a narrative about his/her connection to a piece of art. These videos are available for museum visitors through an augmented-reality app called Aurasma.
CC Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies Dwanna Robertson, Arielle Mari ’12, and Han Sayles ’15 produced the documentary “Force/Resistance: From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs,” featuring stories and reflections from those who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline. The documentary is being screened as part of the FAC Force/Resistance exhibit, running Feb. 25 – Sept. 9.
Five CC faculty members collaborated with the FAC on the Larry Hulst photography exhibition catalog currently on sale in the FAC Museum Shop. Look for articles by Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Bañagale, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance Idris Goodwin, Assistant Professor of English Natanya Pulley, Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies Michael Sawyer, and Associate Professor of English Steven Hayward,who edited the catalog.
CC Senior Assistant Dean of Students Cesar Cervantes coordinates the featured acts for “Happy Hour Stand-Up” shows on select Fridays and taught stand-up comedy classes at the FAC from May 24 through July 7.
Emily Gardner ’19 performed as part of the teen female ensemble in the FAC musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” which ran March 30 – April 23.
FAC staff and CC faculty selected two CC students, Jennifer Welden ’17 and Jake Paron ’17, to create site-specific installations for the FAC courtyard. The installations were on view April 28 – May 23.
Mary Chenoweth taught printmaking at the FAC before teaching as a professor of art for 30 years at CC. Her work was featured for an FAC Legacy Series exhibit that ran Feb. 18 – May 21, displaying her works on paper from the FAC’s permanent collection and CC’s special collections.
Alejandro Perez ’17 and Naomi Van der Land ’17 joined a professional graffiti artist and students from the Bijou School and Tesla Educational Opportunity School in District 11 for a project at Bemis School of Art, painting a mural on wood salvaged from an FAC theatre set. Bemis has worked with at-risk students through art projects for nearly 30 years.
In the process of developing the vision for the combined future of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado College, community input and engagement were actively encouraged. Total participation in the outreach and planning process included more than 3,000 comments and feedback from community members. During the course of community outreach and participation, three themes emerged: excellence, access, and collaboration. When community members were asked how to measure the success of the alliance, a recurrent reply was “More people from all places and backgrounds and ages should visit the FAC.”
The college will dedicate more than $20 million of its endowment funds to support the FAC, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation, established in 1996 to manage and enhance the center’s endowment, will continue as an independent community-led foundation dedicated solely and in perpetuity to supporting the FAC.
The boards of each institution approved the alliance on Aug. 24, 2016 and the college assumed management responsibilities the following month. The complete strategic plan of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College is available online at www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac