Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center have received grants from the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation to support arts in the community and new educational initiatives. The gifts, which total $3.5 million, come from local as well as national philanthropic foundations, and follow on the heels of the recent announcement about the historic alliance between CC and the FAC.
“These incredible investments in the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College are a resounding endorsement of our new partnership and our bright future together,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The support from these three foundations, as well as the enthusiasm we’ve heard from the community in the listening sessions, is creating great momentum as we develop a new vision that supports the missions of both the FAC and the college. We are imagining ways that the alliance will create new learning opportunities and enrich arts programming for the entire region. These gifts will help make this exciting future possible.”
The $2 million grant from the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation is committed to a permanent endowment held by Colorado College for the exclusive support of the Fine Arts Center. This newly established endowment will provide funding in perpetuity for the FAC’s diverse, ongoing mission to inspire community vitality through performing arts, visual arts, and arts education. The addition of these endowed funds enhances the ability of the Fine Arts Center to build on its decades-long tradition of producing art exhibitions in its museum, theatre, and performing arts experiences on its stages, and classes and workshops in the Bemis School of Art.
“We believe the mission of the Fine Arts Center is vital to the city of Colorado Springs,” says Phil Lane, trustee of the Lane Foundation. “We hope the Lane Foundation’s support will inspire others in our community to redouble their investment in this vital institution, now stewarded by Colorado College.”
Tony Rosendo, executive director of the Lane Foundation and a Colorado College trustee, says “Leveraging new partnerships that now exist as a result of the alliance will benefit both the Fine Arts Center and the college — and ultimately the Colorado Springs community and CC students. These grants represent the beginning of truly exciting possibilities for the arts in our region and for our region from a national perspective.”
The potential of the recent alliance also has aligned with the priorities of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a leading international foundation making grants in higher education, humanities, and the arts, which awarded a $1.2 million grant to forge deeper academic connections between Colorado College and the interdisciplinary arts. The grant will allow Colorado College to expand existing teaching strategies and introduce a more diverse set of individuals on campus and within the community to the arts, with particular focus on programs related to the American Southwest.
“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is pleased to support Colorado College in this important initiative,” says Cristle Collins Judd, senior program officer of the Mellon Foundation. “The college’s historic dedication to innovative teaching and its commitment to diversity and inclusion now promise to integrate the arts and material culture within the liberal arts curriculum at Colorado College in ways that will benefit both students and, more broadly, the Colorado Springs community.”
A major gift to the Fine Arts Center from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation also supports educational initiatives by providing a scholarship fund for youth who show interest, initiative, and talent in visual arts and who don’t have the financial resources to undertake serious arts education. The $330,000 gift was made to the Fine Arts Center Foundation, which continues alongside the alliance with the college. The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation has funded arts education and aspiring visual artists for many years, and this year, their board made the decision to close the foundation and disperse its assets to like-minded arts programs. This carries on the legacy of their founder, Marie Walsh Sharpe, and is being made in honor of the foundation’s late executive director, Joyce Robinson, who had deep ties to the Fine Arts Center and served as the FAC’s director of education for many years.
“We are pleased to continue an important tradition of supporting youth in our community who aspire to achieve success in the visual arts through the Fine Arts Center’s excellent programming,” says Steve Mulliken, board president of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation. “Marie and Joyce would be happy to know that financial barriers will not keep young people in our community from receiving quality visual arts education, thanks to this scholarship fund at the FAC Foundation.”
“These new commitments provide validation of the synergy that is possible between these important institutions,” says David Dahlin, CEO of the Fine Arts Center. “We expect that this is only the beginning of exciting new developments as we begin planning for our combined future.”