2016 was a year littered with losses, as you may well remember. But amidst all the geopolitical absurdities and tragedies was a local loss that left the Springs’ small but mighty scene of artists, queers and progressives without what had become a downtown hub of creative activity.
After three years in business, Mountain Fold Books closed in November with an estate sale to off-load all its unique furnishings and bid adieu to loyal customers. But its emptied Costilla Street location will remain that way no longer, as the artisan promoting Colorado Collective prepares to move in.
Founder Mundi Ross announced the new venture via a Facebook video. “You’re looking at the future of COCO Crafted,” she says, gesturing at blank walls behind her. Ross explains the storefront will become a craft studio for the “makers” featured in Colorado Collective’s high gloss quarterly magazine to make and sell whatever it is they make. Facilities will include woodworking and jewelry making tools, Ross says, and a small kitchenette. Also expect skill-shares and other events for and about the city’s growing community of creative entrepreneurs.
“Now, I know for many the Mountain Fold space brought hope. It was a sanctuary; it was safe haven for many,” Ross noted. “I can’t be another Mountain Fold, but I’m really excited about what I’m about to bring to this space.”
COCO Crafted will join other buzzy businesses in that downtown nook termed the "New South End," with the likes of Loyal Coffee, Iron Bird Brewing and Fox & Jane Salon that bring that Springs closer to resembling bigger, hipper and pricier cities that attract and retain more young people.
That kind of development is precious to the Downtown Partnership, which touted 2016 as a record-setting year for street-level business growth.
“We are seeing tremendous growth in our urban core,” says Sarah Humbargar, Director of Business Development & Economic Vitality for the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, in a press release.
23 new retailers, restaurants and other businesses opened up in 2016 and so far, 12 new ones are poised to do so in 2017. There’s a retail vacancy of less than four percent downtown, according Humbargar, who also emphasized new apartment and condo construction that’ll add much needed (though questionably affordable) housing inventory.
The Partnership's release also highlighted some notable newcomers to the downtown culinary scene, including Chef Brother Luck, who’ll open a new restaurant in the spring, and Oskar Blues brewery which will soon move into the Old Chicago building on Tejon Street.
Murray joined UCCS in 1975 and is considered the founder of Theatreworks, the professional theater based at the university, as well as the academic theater program at the university. He produced classic and contemporary plays in classrooms, buses, warehouses, basements and the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater. Among his credits are directing, adapting and creating more than 100 works for the stage including the original scripts "Monkey Business," "The Last Night of Don Juan," "The Lady of Camellias," "Dar-al-Harb" and "I Am Nikola Tesla." He also wrote stage adaptations of classics such as "Huckleberry Finn" and "A Christmas Carol." His most recent adaption of "A Christmas Carol" was successfully staged this December. His first love and greatest passion was always Shakespeare, and his 1984 production of “The Comedy of Errors” in a circus tent started a tradition of outdoor summer productions that continues to anchor the Theatreworks season today. In 1988, noted scholar Stephen Booth wrote in Shakespeare Quarterly that Murray’s summer production was “The Best Othello I Ever Saw.”
Theatreworks received a Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1994, a Henary Award for Oustanding Regional Theatre in 2013 as well as numerous local accolades. The program celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, the same year UCCS marked the 50th anniversary of its founding. Murray directed four plays in 2016, and during his recent days in the hospital Murray was making active preparations for his next production.
In addition to his work with Theatreworks, Murray was a respected teacher and scholar. He taught theater as well as English literature. Murray and his wife, Betty, were fixtures of the Colorado Springs arts community. They were ardent supporters of the arts and the development of the under construction $70 million UCCS Ent Center for the Arts which contains a space named in their honor.
Murray worked with thousands of students, artists, actors and staff and left an impression on each. He was funny, smart, a bit of an anarchist and a great lover of life. Adventures, storytelling and spirited debate filled his life.
Murray earned a bachelor's degree from Williams College, a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and also pursued doctoral studies at UC Berkeley, where he began directing. He served in the National Guard from 1963-1969, and taught and directed at the University of Rochester before joining UCCS.
Survivors include his wife, Betty, his sisters Susanna, Christina and Kit, and his sons Felix, James, Orion and Matthew.
Please join me in offering condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Murray Ross. Notes may be sent to the family in care of the Office of the Chancellor, 401 Main Hall. At the request of the family, donations can be made to the Murray Ross Artists Endowment Fund with the CU Foundation.
Last night at the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball, a major purchase of art for the Fine Arts Center’s permanent collection was announced. This purchase was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball Committee and was made in honor of their 50th Anniversary. The newly acquired work was created by artist James Surls and is entitled It’s Not About the Numbers. The stature of both the artist and this particular work are a perfect tribute to the significance of the 50‐year partnership between the Debutante Ball Committee and the Fine Arts Center.
Born in 1943 in East Texas, James Surls has become an award‐winning, global artist, exhibiting in over 350 solo, group, museum and gallery exhibitions across the world. He is sought‐after for large‐scale commissioned works throughout the U.S. and as far away as Singapore.
Surls is known for his largely monotone sculptures, drawings and prints that feature natural and human images and forms. Surls' work is particularly organic and primal. Having built a career in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as a Texas artist, Surls currently lives and works on a Colorado ranch in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“It takes a mere moment in the presence of James Surls to realize that he is not only a technical and conceptual master of his craft, but an artist of profound philosophical depth,” said FAC Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Joy Armstrong.
His work is featured in the public collections of more than 50 institutions, including the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, TX; High Museum, Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles County Museum, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and now the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, CO.
“The Fine Arts Center is deeply grateful for the Debutante Ball Committee’s ongoing support and we want to congratulate them on 50 years of grace, elegance and philanthropy,” said FAC President and CEO, David Dahlin. “This purchase is another very fine example of the quality and magnitude of work that their generous contributions have made possible for us to bring to the community of Colorado Springs.”
This large‐scale sculptural work is installed in the front landing of the glass addition of the FAC, adding drama and beauty that is visible from the outside as well as from within. Other works by James Surls are currently featured in an expansive exhibition at the Fine Arts Center called All I Ever Wanted, along with the work of his wife, Charmaine Locke, through January 15, 2017. Also on view through January 2017 is the exhibition 50 Years of Grace, featuring nearly every purchase made possible by the Debutante Ball Acquisitions Fund; beginning with the first, John Sloan’s Eagles of Tesuque in 1968, and ending with 2016’s recent acquisition, Cindy Sherman’s Madame Pompadour Tea Service.
To the applicants: To enter the competition, your challenge is to choose any two of the four tasks listed below and write or record your responses.
1. Design a mathematically-based or scientifically-based puzzle or game.
2. Write* a short story with at least three characters. The story must cover a time span of more than one day and it must come to a definite conclusion. The story must evoke any particular emotion of your choice. This story must be no longer than 1000 words.
3. Create a visual artwork in any media you like – drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, mosaic (any material).
4. Approach this fourth task as though you are an architect and design a unique living environment or an individual structure, intended for either some specific person (it could be yourself, or not), some particular group (such as deaf children, lovers of the desert or forests, or maybe apartment dwellers – just to name just a few), or you could intend your design for a non-human subject or group (such as a real animal or a fantasy creature or group of creatures).
Kinder Realm hosts kids' contest with an impressive prize
"The Older We Get..." invites viewers to examine society's views on aging women
Local artist Jo Hart showcases new body of work in first Colorado show
What: “The Older We Get…”, a fine art show by local artist Jo Hart, opens next week at the Manitou Arts Center. Featuring
tentwelve porcelain sculptures ranging all approximately a foot tall and just a few inches wide, the show tackles the often-ignored topic of how society treats older women. Part-trophy, part-bust, the pieces are each prominently adorned with a number representing their age, addressing the emphasis placed on youth in modern culture and stereotypes aimed at each stage of a woman’s life.
“There’s beauty and purpose in all ages of a woman’s life,” Hart said. “But society puts so much importance on youth and often ignores women past a certain age. I hope people who see my show think about how much value they place on the women in their lives, and whether they honor the women they know, and women they don’t know.”
Who: After decades working as a graphic designer, Jo Hart returned to school to earn her master’s in fine arts in ceramics from Illinois State University in 2015. Seeking a different way of life, she moved to Colorado Springs, where she serves as TITLE at the Manitou Arts Center, teaches classes in a variety of mediums and explores women’s issues through her studio practice.
Where: Manitou Arts Center
513 Manitou Ave
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
When: The opening for “The Older We Get…” will be held from 5-8 pm, Friday, Dec. 16. The show will run through Feb. 12.
More: The artist will be available during and after the opening reception for interviews. Pieces may be photographed during or after the opening reception.
State grants are highly competitive, and signifies that Cottonwood provides high-quality programs, community service and administrative ability to the city and the state at large. Cottonwood serves over 25,000 visitors annually, and works tirelessly to give a voice to underserved populations. These include fully scholarshipped art classes, programming with TESSA, Finding Our Voices and Urban Peak, as well as exhibitions that partner with entities such as the United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire and the Colorado Springs Queer Collective.
2016 has proved to be a banner year for Cottonwood Center for the Arts. This grant will join the gifts and donations from the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Richard Petritz Foundation, Griffis/Blessing, Inc., Google, and the kindness of individuals throughout the community.
November 23, 2015 Colorado Springs, CO – Five Colorado Springs arts nonprofits received surprise $1,000 “thank you” grants this week from the Bee Vradenburg Foundation to celebrate a banner year for the arts in the Pikes Peak region. In an unprecedented move for the Foundation, the grants are unsolicited and designed to celebrate the often unsung arts organizations that enhance the community year round.
“We want to extend our sincere gratitude during this season of giving to the exceptional arts organizations that make the Pikes Peak region a great place to call home” said Foundation Board President, Phil Kendall. “We reap the benefits of these organizations daily – whether it’s a mosaic in a neighborhood park, or youth poetry slam after school – this is a very small way for us to say thanks.”
Recipients of the unsolicited $1,000 grants are:
• Colorado Springs Creative Collective championed a feasibility process to assess the validity of an Artspace Development to provide affordable live/work space for local artists.
• Concrete Couch unveiled several impressive “community built” public art installations including a mural at the Penrose Public Library and a giant pumpkin on the corner of Pueblo and Nevada Avenues.
• Hear Here continues to champion the local slam poetry scene and recently brought a team of local high school students to compete at the Brave New Voices festival in Washington DC.
• Ormao Dance Company premiered a groundbreaking “site-specific” dance work at the former Gazette newsroom and print shop earlier this year.
• Springs Ensemble Theatre is always on the cutting edge of live theatre and with productions like an all-female Titus Andronicus, 2016 was no exception.
“2016 was a banner year for art in the Pikes Peak region, largely thanks to innovative organizations like these” said Foundation Executive Director, David Siegel. “On any night of the week you can see live theatre, perform at a poetry slam, take in a dance performance, or enjoy public art. This remarkable access to art enriches our community and these grants are our way of saying thanks.”
Bee Vradenburg Foundation furthers the legacy of Bee Vradenburg by advancing the relevance, resilience and greatness of the arts in the Pikes Peak region. To date the Foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million to local artists and arts organizations with the knowledge that the arts are the soul of a thriving community.
1. We can go up to three times to an auction. We can buy at any time, but we must buy on the third if we have not already.
2. We can spend up to $500 on a storage unit.
3. We will brainstorm the plot and design of the show based on what we find in the unit.
4. We have to use at least 75% of what is in the unit on the stage during the show. [NOTE: we are allowed to throw out anything that does not seem safe (i.e. covered in mold) before narrowing down to 75%]
5. We can alter the contents in any creative way that we choose.
6. We can supplement and alter with anything that we already own. Supplementation cannot exceed the amount of stuff we get from the unit.
7. We can spend an additional $200 on building materials or any necessary prop, set, or costume piece. We can also spend any money made off of selling items from the unit that we will not be using.
Arts Champion of the Year Award
Dancing from the Heart
Krithika Prashant (winner)
Inspiring Cultural Dancer
Jacob Flesher (winner)
Outstanding Collaborative Dance Performance
Shakti by Colorado Springs Dance Theatre (winner)
Bound by Ormao Dance Company
Press by Ormao Dance Company
Excellent Experimental or Documentary Film
Out of Our Heads by Shaienne Knox (winner)
Dom by Kalia Hunter
Spaceship Earth by David Gardner
Outstanding Comedy or Drama Film
Drop It by Tyler Hunt (winner)
Fifty Shades of Kilroy by Nathanael Letteer
Into the Night by Kai Dickson
Young Filmmaker Award
Shaienne Knox for Out of Our Heads (winner)
Kai Dickson for Into the Night
Kalia Hunter for Dom
Aventa Credit Union Spirit of the Arts Award
Engaging Community Event Showcasing Music
JAM FAC (winner)
Extraordinary Solo Musician
Dear Rabbit (winner)
Outstanding Musical Group Achievement
Eros and the Eschaton (winner)
Amazing Poem or Collection of Poems
Front Range, Nature's Irony by Mark Cooney (winner)
Every Step An Arrival by Tyler Hill
Language Lesson by Mallory Everhart
Excellent Poetry Program
Hear Here's Youth Program (winner)
Colorado College SpeakEasy
Outstanding Poetry or Spoken Word Performance
Hear Here Poetry Slam at Lon Chaney Theatre (winner)
The Story Project at Manitou Bindu
Queer Open Mic at Mountain Folds Books
Eve Tilley Lifetime Achievement Award
Make ‘Em Laugh
Buyer & Cellar at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (winner)
9 to 5 at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Tuna Christmas at the Millibo Art Theatre
Make ‘Em Shudder
Endgame by the Star Bar Players (winner)
Death and the Maiden by Theatre d’Art
Wait Until Dark at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Make ‘Em Think
Lonesome Hollow by Springs Ensemble Theatre (winner)
Driving Miss Daisy at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Putting it Together at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Excellent Gallery or Visual Art Experience
The Kreuser Gallery (winner)
Cottonwood Center for the Arts
First Friday Art Walk
Outstanding Visual Artist
Brett Andrus (winner)
the surREAList show at The Modbo (winner)
Karen Khoury at The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Same Day Different Tree by Mike Pach
Rising Star Award