While Rebecca Tucker holds the title as museum director at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, she doesn't consider herself the great dictating voice from on high.
Rather, she talks about working with curators Joy Armstrong and Jessica Hunter-Larsen as a team, though her own tasks are more managerial. And between now and July 1, 2017, when the FAC at CC's strategic plan has to be approved and implemented, one of her main duties will be listening.
As a member of the museum's strategic planning committee, as well as co-chair of the museum subcommittee, she's been attending community listening sessions to help figure out how locals want the FAC to grow. After the final open session on Monday, Oct. 3, she says she'll be planning and taking part in focus groups and listening sessions with arts councils and communities throughout the region.
"I think we're all trying to take our own personal dreams a little bit off the table and listen to what other people's dreams are," she says. But she has a few she'd like to see come to fruition.
She hopes, for instance, that the Springs arts community will get due respect for its excellence.
"Someone at a listening session said that maybe we're seeing a renaissance of Colorado Springs as an arts center," she says. "We used to be the place to be for artists... Couldn't we be that? Aren't we that now?"
It's no surprise she has the love she does for the local arts scene. Tucker has been teaching in and out of the Springs since 1995. After a stint at Skidmore College, including some time at the college's Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, she became a full-time member of the CC arts faculty in 2003. Since then, she's been a regular at the FAC.
"I bring my classes over there every semester — every block, often," she says.
She also borrowed items from the FAC collection for a 2013 IDEA Space project on campus — an institution that she helped form. Under her instruction, students curated and operated an exhibit of borrowed objects. She found that the process was a valuable teaching tool, giving students greater insight into the pieces.
Tucker makes it clear that while the FAC will have an educational role, she also plans to cultivate the center's existing strengths and heritage. She intends to help the museum regain its former status as the go-to for Spanish colonial artwork.
Academically, her background is in early modern art — art from between the 16th and early 18th centuries. As part of that, she's studied Spanish colonial art, which should ultimately serve to supplement the knowledge base of the Southwest art curator, who will be hired in coming months.
Ultimately, Tucker says her approach is rooted in the belief that a museum should be a living space, rather than a vault for storing artifacts or a temple for worshiping the Old Masters. A museum, she says, could be a place for communities to form, a laboratory for artists, a coffee shop or a school.
"And that's just the museum," she says. "The Fine Arts Center does a lot of this already. They do so much with that mixing of performing arts, visual arts, teaching and learning. That's part of what makes it such a unique and wonderful place."
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