Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Poet Jodie Hollander hosts local workshops for National Poetry Month

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM

  • Courtesy Jodie Hollander
Poet Jodie Hollander, author of The Humane Society and My Dark Horses, has made a mark everywhere she’s touched. From Australia, where she was included in multiple national poetry anthologies, to Italy, where she won a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, to South Africa, where she received a Fullbright Fellowship. Now living in Avon, Colorado, Hollander has made her mark on our state, too.

April, National Poetry Month, always proves to be Hollander's busiest month of the year. She spent the first week of the month in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she was the poet in residence at the Museum of Northern Arizona last year. Now, she’s coming to Colorado Springs to conduct four free workshops for local poets — and the poem-curious.

Hosted by Pikes Peak Library District at libraries across the city on April 12 and 13, Hollander’s workshops include a variety of topics: Poetry of Grief and Healing (East Library, April 12, 10 a.m.), Poetry of Place (Rockrimmon Library, April 12, 3 p.m.), and Poetry of Memory and Childhood (Penrose Library, April 13, 10 a.m. and Ute Pass Library, April 13, 1:30 p.m.)

“It's meaningful for me, not only as a teacher, but also as a poet, and really, as a person to see people able to sort of take things that maybe they've struggled with, or suffered from, and really transform them into something beautiful through poetry. And I think that poetry can serve so many different roles for people, all good,” Hollander says.
  • Courtesy Jodie Hollander

These workshops, though taught by an internationally recognized poet, aren’t just for seasoned writers. In fact, Hollander emphasizes that no experience is necessary for any of her classes. “Sometimes I think people get intimidated by the word ‘poetry,’” she says. “And they're, you know, they might be interested in prose writing or fiction writing, and they've never done poetry … But I would just really encourage everyone who might be even just a little bit interested to come and try it out and see what poetry has to offer, because I think it has something for everyone.”

Hollander’s workshop style proves accessible, as well. She’ll start with some examples to learn from, some discussion of technique, and then writing prompts to get people started on creating their own poems. Participants are welcome to share at the end, but there is no obligation to.

More than anything, Hollander just wants people to experience what poetry can do for them. “Sometimes people don't realize how badly that they might need poem until they actually have that private moment with one,” she says, “whether that be reading or writing a poem. And then they realize really how transformative that experience can be for them.”

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Hollander at any of her weekend workshops, details below:
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Peak Arts Prize announces 2019 winners

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 4:16 PM

Thom Phelps' ambitious art exhibit idea, A Farewell to Bees won the public's support in the category of "Individual Artists." - THOM PHELPS
  • Thom Phelps
  • Thom Phelps' ambitious art exhibit idea, A Farewell to Bees won the public's support in the category of "Individual Artists."

After receiving more than 1,800 votes in its public voting period, the Peak Arts Prize has selected its 2019 winners, getting ready to dole out grants equaling $15,000 to support new projects in local art.

Peak Arts Prize, run by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, with funds from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s Fund for the Arts, announced the winners of its second-annual contest on March 18. The three categories combined (large arts organization, small arts organization and individual artist) drew 33 applicants this year, and on March 1 the Peak Arts Prize judges selected three finalists for each category before opening up public voting.

In a press release, COPPeR deputy director Angela Seals says: “The community has chosen inspiring winners this year, whose projects will engage people in new ways with local art. Peak Arts Prize is all about community connection. We invite the public to watch for when the Prize winners’ projects unfold this year near you and attend, participate, and support the winners!”

See the winners and a short description of their projects below, from the press release:


Bliss Studio & Gallery will present welding and iron pour workshops to introduce new local audiences to ironworking and spark conversations about empathy. Participants will collectively create a public art sculpture, led by Jodie Bliss and her team, culminating at the second annual Bliss Studio Iron Pour in Monument, CO.


The Unsteady Hand will grow its artistic programs for people living with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers. Creativity Labs and an annual art show develop participants’ creative expression, fine motor skills, and community connections. They hope to reach many more Coloradans living with the disease.


Thom Phelps will sculpt a large dead bee out of steel to be the centerpiece of a local art exhibition engaging the public in discussion about bee extinction. The artist will raise public awareness about pollinator protection by provoking a collective, emotional response about the loss of bees.
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Friday, March 1, 2019

Peak Arts Prize individual artist finalists want to spark conversation and share stories

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 1:00 AM

The Peak Arts Prize, a grant contest run by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Fund for the Arts, kicked off public voting for its second year on March 1, open through March 15.

Anyone in the community may take a look at the videos on Peak Arts Prize's page, and vote on the project they most want to fund in three categories: large arts organizations, small arts organizations, and individual artists.

We at the Indy chatted with each of the finalists in the individual artist category to learn more about their projects, what they wanted to do with the funds, and what value they feel their work will bring back to the community that invests in it.

See our print issue on Wednesday, March 6, for a chat with Angela Seals of COPPeR about changes made in the prize's second year.

Kailani Dobson: Atlas.Promisi

  • Courtesy Kailani Dobson
Local dancer Kailani Dobson proves unique among the finalists in this year’s Peak Arts Prize, as she has been here before. Last year, she and her project partners Robert Stokes and Bailey Wilde made it into the finals for their ambitious photography project. This year, however, Dobson’s proposal proves more personal.

“I lost my grandma last year in November,” Dobson says. “And she was a really big part of, like, why I do art and why I dance. And I was stuck with these weird kind of feelings of what to do with the promises that we had left with each other.” She asked herself whether or not she still had to follow through with the promises she had made, or if any of those promises changed now that her grandma had passed away. “I got interested in what other people would say if I asked them to share a promise with me.”

Since then, Dobson has been collecting written promises by leaving submission boxes at the coffee shop where she works, and asking friends to collect promises from people they know. These promises can be simple, Dobson says, the “tiny contracts we make in a day” like telling someone you’ll call them when you get home. But Dobson has collected promises that delve deeper, too. One promise reads simply, “Me time,” while another says, “I promise to live through you and for you, dad.”

“And after I started collecting them, I realized that it was this weird kind of untapped vulnerability in the community,” Dobson says, “and that people wanted to share these things, but they didn't have a platform.” She has collected more than 100 promises already.
Her project, Atlas.Promisi, aims to combine these hand-written notes into a physical art installation which will provide an environment for Dobson’s culminating performance. She plans to choreograph a dance to a custom soundscape, all inspired by the promises she has received. But that’s far from the last of it. In conjunction with the project, Dobson will host workshops to help people tap into whatever their promises happen to bring up — memories, sadness, joy, guilt — any emotion that needs an outlet. She hosted her first workshop already at Ormao Dance Studio, and encouraged people to explore their promises through journaling and movement. 
  • Kailani Dobson

Should Dobson receive the Individual Artists grant from Peak Arts Prize, she hopes to spruce up her submission boxes and place them in more locations throughout town, and to make the workshops more accessible to the wider community by traveling them to different locations. Then, later, she will use some grant money to copy and bind these promises in a book so everyone who anonymously submitted their promise may take home a piece of the project. “They can also see the vulnerability of the entire community … all the other things people are struggling with,” she says.

Thom Phelps: A Farewell to Bees

  • Courtesy Thom Phelps

Thom Phelps may have gotten his start in cartooning, and may consider himself a cartoonist at heart, but over the course of his career his artwork has taken plentiful turns. For decades he worked in graphic design, and more recently he has become a prolific sculptor.

His sculptural works can be spotted throughout town, such as the “Giving Tree,” crafted in steel and stone, situated outside Giving Tree Montessori School, or “High Plains Desert Flower,” a sculpture purchased by the city of Colorado Springs in 2017 to occupy a flower planter near Acacia Park on Tejon Street.

Phelps’ most ambitious sculpture project to-date, though, will take on a different kind of design, moving away from his usual abstract works to focus on a poignant image that he hopes will spark conversation. “We love bees,” Phelps says. “I love bees … and they're usually such a sweet image. But then when you see one dead, you know, it kind of hits us viscerally.”
After seeing a great many articles about the slow extinction of Earth’s pollinators, then conducting his own research into the depth and breadth of the problem and its controversies, Phelps was struck by this image of the dead bee as a representation of climate change and our planet’s future. “The conversation needs to be made, and I think it should be a conversation about the image ... And I personally feel very strongly about it, but I wanted to come at it from a sense of 'well, let's look at this objectively.'”

He hopes to recruit other artists for a gallery show, to be titled A Farewell to Bees. Whether contributing artists and visiting community members believe bee extinction is a genuine problem or a natural process whose impact is up for dispute, Phelps simply wants people to talk about what the bee means to us.
  • Thom Phelps
Should Phelps win the Peak Arts Prize this year, he plans to put most of the money into the centerpiece of “A Farewell to Bees,” a massive steel sculpture of a dead bee, legs curled as it lies on its back. With any extra funds, he hopes to compensate other artists contributing to the gallery show, and perhaps offer a cash prize for an opening night “people’s choice” award.

He believes drawing attention to this in Colorado Springs, especially, can be valuable, because this city hosts so many different viewpoints.

“You've got the, you know, the right and the left, right here on … the environment and climate and GMO and all these different topics; this is a great place to have that kind of conversation.” He hopes being confronted with such visceral imagery may encourage people to “be more aware of the images that you are taking in, that are being put in front of your eyes — and not necessarily ‘be wary,’ but be aware.”

Adam Williams: Humanitou 2.0

Xanthe Alexis, photographed for Humanitou - ADAM WILLIAMS
  • Adam Williams
  • Xanthe Alexis, photographed for Humanitou
Three years ago around Christmas, photographer Adam Williams moved from St. Louis with his family to Manitou Springs. Both he and his wife worked from home, and they struggled to find ways to engage meaningfully with their new community. However, with a background in journalism, and with an entire town of creative, fascinating individuals surrounding him, Williams hatched an idea for a project to not only connect him to the community, but to allow him to share that community’s stories with the world.

In 2017, Williams launched Humanitou, a website where he has since collected almost 60 interviews with Manitou Springs locals, especially the town’s artists. But these interviews don’t just scratch the surface of what these people do for a living or how they make their art. Williams doesn’t document small-talk or chit-chat. “I want to get at the heart of how they see life, maybe where they — well, definitely where they've learned that from. That comes from life experiences.” He mentions a 65-year-old man he interviewed recently who lost both of his parents suddenly when he was only 15. “You know, these are things that really have influenced him, of course, through the rest of his life,” Williams says. “And I think when we talk about those things, that can be about resiliency, struggle, can be about love and marriage, or any kind of relationship that people are in.”
Williams has interviewed some of the area’s biggest names, from nationally recognized artist Floyd D. Tunson to prolific illustrator Charles Rockey to drummer and dancer Dallo Fall. But Williams wants to spread the wings of this project, and he wants Peak Arts Prize’s help to do it.

Dallo Fall, photographed for Humanitou - ADAM WILLIAMS
  • Adam Williams
  • Dallo Fall, photographed for Humanitou

“The 'humanness' aspect of [Humanitou] is about inclusivity and diversity in every way that we can think of that,” Williams says. “So I want that in age, and I want in race, and I want it in religion and I want it and sex and gender matters, and just every way that a person, you know, holds their story.” His goal is to expand into Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region at large, and to open up both the audience and the participants in order to better share the region’s stories.

Of his project’s importance, Williams speaks with passion for the people he has met, and those he hopes to meet as Humanitou breaks out into its next phase: “Humanitou is about those connections of humanness especially, and creativity. And I think especially in the current ongoing climate of negativity, division, fear, anger — it's probably fair to even say, hatred — then to have this project be about bringing us together, to learn about each other, to hear from voices we're not necessarily always connecting with, whether that's socially or professionally, I think it's important that there be a project that focuses on the common ground of our humanity.”
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Art on the Streets sculpture vandalized, Downtown Ventures searching for missing piece

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 at 4:26 PM

  • Courtesy Downtown Ventures

Though Downtown’s Art on the Streets program has seen isolated incidents of vandalism and theft, generally the community has been respectful of the public art on loan to the city from the program's many contributing artists. Unfortunately, the Downtown Partnership announced on Feb. 13 that a piece of the 20th anniversary Art on the Streets exhibit has been stolen.

The sculpture, You, Light as a Cloud, was created by South Korean artist Byeong Doo Moon, and depicts a large cat sitting on a bench beside an unlikely friend, a small snipe. It is the snipe that has fallen victim to thievery, as it is reportedly no longer attached to the sculpture and has gone missing.

You, Light as a Cloud, which can be found at Boulder Crescent Park on Cascade Avenue, is valued at $70,000, but according to a Downtown Partnership press release, “because the bird was stolen, it is considered incomplete and no longer valid for sale. Downtown Ventures, the nonprofit organization that runs the Art on the Streets program, is seeking the public’s help to find the stolen bird.”

According to their Facebook page, the Downtown Partnership has already contacted scrap metal businesses and the Colorado Springs Police Department in their search for the snipe, but they hope to enlist the public’s help in finding the stolen bird.

From the press release:

“In the past, vandals of another public artwork were identified through a public call for information, so we’re hoping someone who knows about this incident will come forward,” said [Urban Engagement Manager Claire] Swinford.

“It is especially disheartening to see this sculpture vandalized. This artist worked with local donors to have another of his sculptures – a stunning wire deer titled I have been dreaming to be a tree – acquired and gifted to the city’s permanent collection of public art,” said Swinford. In fact, the artist so appreciated the beauty and friendliness of our community when he visited that he applied for a visa to move here with his family. Swinford continued, “It is a shame that such a talented person, who so admires our community and who so badly wants to be part of it, would have his generosity repaid in such a selfish, uncaring way.”

If anyone has any information as to the bird’s whereabouts or any information that could lead to a suspect, the Downtown Partnership asks that you call 719/886-0088.

  • Courtesy Downtown Ventures
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Anniversary exhibits showcase dynamic history of Fine Arts Center

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:26 PM

Anniversaries can mean different things — joy, remembrance, even sorrow. For the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, their year-long 100th anniversary celebration seeks to honor the rich cultural history of the region, and the people and events that shaped its growth from the Broadmoor Art Academy in 1919 to the FAC in 1936, and beyond.

For curator of modern and contemporary art, Joy Armstrong, this means crafting a series of four museum exhibits that tell a story of always-evolving artistic ideals across a century.

O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region follows a timeline from around 1870-1970, examining the earliest artists in the region, why they came and how their artistic ideals started to coalesce. In those early years, tracing the artists is fairly equivalent to tracing the history of the academy and FAC. They were founding personalities, board members and key figures in the transition from the academy to FAC, helping develop the region’s art identity.
Another component of the exhibit is “shifting perspectives,” sidebars that provoke attendees to be critical of historical truth, reexamine the art from our modern perspective and explore their own alternative viewpoints.

The second exhibit opening of the year, Scenes from Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest, is a series of 51 large drawings that showcase his reactions to a world he decided was essentially tragic.

“[Scenes] is really a demonstration of his thoughtfulness as an artist,” Armstrong says. “They are difficult works to be with — he was responding to the global events of the '70s — but they feel contemporary.”

Arnest served as both the head of the FAC Art School (which became the Colorado College Art Department) and professor of art at Colorado College.

Bernard Arnest instructs a class, circa 1950-60s. - COURTESY OF THE COLORADO COLLEGE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
  • Courtesy of the Colorado College Special Collections
  • Bernard Arnest instructs a class, circa 1950-60s.

Notes from the Musick Collection will open Aug. 3. Archie Musick was a student at the academy, and had relationships with many of the founding characters. He even published a book — Musick Medley: Intimate Memories of a Rocky Mountain Art Colony, which looks at his experiences and local contemporaries in an entertaining tabloid format.

In concert with his daughter Pat, the exhibit will focus on the family collection Archie accumulated through the years, which includes art but also historical FAC artifacts, including diaries, announcements and postcards.

The Broadmoor Art Academy and Its Legacy, 1919-1970 will premiere in the middle of Arts Month this October, focusing on how the artists that studied and worked in the area influenced each other, and how that influence spread throughout the country and across time. It’ll include private and public works, with pieces from the Smithsonian and Denver Art Museum.

“This will really demonstrate the influence of the academy,” Armstrong says. “It’ll look at the art artists brought with them to the region and what they learned and experienced while they were here, and what they did when they moved on. There was a really powerful impact on the development of American art identity.”

A class of the Broadmoor Art Academy out and about. - LAURA GILPIN, ©AMON CARTER MUSEUM, COURTESY OF THE FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Laura Gilpin, ©Amon Carter Museum, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Center
  • A class of the Broadmoor Art Academy out and about.

This exhibit will also explore how artistic approaches that are now widely accepted may have been reviled and misunderstood in their time.

“We can look to the past to come to terms with the styles,” Armstrong says. “There is this continuity in the continuum of art history — if we can understand where things come from, then hopefully we can at least appreciate them.”

Part of Armstrong’s work is to look forward, to where she sees the FAC in the future, both through these exhibits and beyond.

“We are product of what has come before. [These shows] allow us an opportunity to see what they are as part of the era gone by, though they may be offensive or shocking now. We don’t condone them, but we can dig into them and attempt to understand where they come from and where they’ve gone,” Armstrong says.

One of the growing challenges for cultural institutions Armstrong sees is growing competition for time, attention and dollars.

“We can no longer expect that when we do something we feel is important, that people will come to us,” Armstrong says. “We have to ask questions of ourselves and be open to criticism.”

  • Courtesy of the Colorado College Special Collections
  • The Fine Arts Center lobby in the 1930s.

Beyond preserving the existing collection and remembering their core values, Armstrong hopes the FAC seeks out new opportunities — to intentionally reach new audiences and serve the whole community, take risks with challenging and provocative work, and utilize technology to evolve the role of the museum. And, fight the notion that a museum is full of dusty objects that you possibly can’t relate to. It is a place for learning, connecting, experiencing and growing.

“There are different ways to view what a museum does. It’s a shift from museum as temple, playground of the elite, and exclusive to museum as classroom, community center,” she says.

“I’ll be disappointed if, in 100 years, we are what we are today.”

But why, now, come to the FAC?

“People from any background can develop a relationship with something that will leave an impact," Armstrong says. "You won’t like everything, but there will be something you fall in love with.”

Exhibit Schedule
Through 2019 | O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region
Through June 9 | Scenes from Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest
Opening Aug. 3 | Notes from the Musick Collection
Opening Oct. 12 | The Broadmoor Art Academy and Its Legacy, 1919-1970

Public Open House & Museum Free Day - 100th Anniversary Kick-Off Event
Saturday, January 26

  • Guided tours of featured exhibitions O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region and Scenes of Everyday Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest at 12 and 12:30 p.m.
  • One-act play reading of the first play performed by the Academy Players in 1919, Suppressed Desires, in the galleries at 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Hands-on art activities and demonstrations 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Complimentary hot beverages and sweet treats 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Taste open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jonathan Toman serves as the Peak Radar Manager for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. connects you to over 4,500 local events, 450 creative groups, & 350 artists — all in one beautiful website for the Pikes Peak region. Jonathan can be reached at

To sign up for the weekly Peak Radar Picks email, which includes 8-10 great local events, click here.
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Friday, December 14, 2018

Independence Center's Art of Accessibility program honored by Colorado Business Committee for the Arts

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 5:16 PM

  • CayC Wolff

On Dec. 11, the Colorado Business Committee For the Arts, which encourages collaboration between businesses and arts organizations in order to elevate the arts throughout Colorado, announced its 2019 Business for the Arts Award honorees.

Among the six winners: The Independence Center, an Indy Give! nonprofit based right here in Colorado Springs. The Independence Center provides resources, services and community events to people living with disabilities in the Pikes Peak region, and advocates for their rights. Among their diverse programs, which include independent living services, health care resources and more, they offer an “Art of Accessibility” program.

Here’s what The Independence Center has to say about the program, in part:

Over the past two years, the Art of Accessibility initiative has invited and celebrated local people with disabilities as practitioners of art. By using the Independence Center itself as a pop-up gallery, the greater Colorado Springs community has been empowered to consider those questions of access and inclusion through the inviting and universal lens of art.

Though arts programming falls well outside its mission or range of experience, the Independence Center used this outreach tool more and more effectively with each successive iteration of the Art of Accessibility (AoA), which grew from a one-off exhibit into a semiannual festival of inclusive creative expression, from tactile paintings to adaptive fashion design to music and dance. At each juncture the arts served as a font of joy and a tool for advocacy, with intriguing results.

We wrote about one of AoA’s initiatives recently, a photo project meant to document barriers to accessibility throughout the community, as well as situations in which people with disabilities felt empowered and seen.

The CBCA honored The Independence Center for the entirety of the Art of Accessibility initiative, which will no doubt help the organization create their template “so other communities across Colorado can use their local arts scene as a driver for inclusion. “

Awards will be given to all honorees at a luncheon in March at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. See the full list of honorees on the CBCA website.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Moxie adds art gallery, exhibits Springs artist Beth Eckel

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:12 PM

  • Beth Eckel
Nearly a full year after its 2017 opening, local restaurant Moxie still has a lot going on — more, even, since they have officially established themselves as a staple of Springs vegan eating. Owned by Nissa and Mike Buth who also own Ola Juice Bar, Moxie has added a reliable plant-based dining option to the Eighth Street corridor, which — a bit south of Moxie — is also home to vegan eatery Burrowing Owl.

This week, Moxie will launch a new aspect of the business: the Moxie Art Gallery. Nissa Buth says this is the restaurant’s first big structural addition. “We’ve always had that [an art gallery] in mind, but it’s just been put on the back-burner so we can get restaurant operations where we want them,” Buth says.

She enlisted the help of her father, Dan Wecks, to establish the gallery space. He brings plenty of experience and expertise to the table, having worked with the Business of Arts Center (now the Manitou Arts Center), the Kennedy Center and Imagination Celebration.

Opening Dec. 6, the Moxie Art Gallery will feature its first artist: recent Colorado Springs transplant Beth Eckel. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Eckel works in mixed media, creating unique realistic artwork on a canvas of book pages and sheet music.

Opening night will also feature a special Moxie menu, so you can enjoy some vegan fare with your art.

Buth says they plan to rotate artists monthly, and she encourages local artists to get in touch if they are interested in exhibiting on Moxie’s walls. Interested artists can get in touch through Moxie’s website.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Peak Arts Prize hosts information session for interested artists and organizations

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 8:54 AM

In early 2018, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation launched a competitive grant initiative, the Peak Arts Prize, aimed at funding the pursuits of local artists and art organizations.

In three categories — large organizations, small organizations and individual artists — the program chose three finalists and opened voting to the public to choose winners. These winners were awarded prizes ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 to fund their pursuits.

Locals who want to get in on some of that sweet funding action might consider attending an information session on Dec. 4, 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media. Last year’s winners will be on-hand to answer questions, including representatives from the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs (large organization), Colorado Street Art Company (small organization) and Jasmine Dillavou (individual artist).

While the Peak Arts Prize will not begin accepting applications until Jan. 10, this Q&A and info session should help artists begin to shape their ideas.

More information, including application requirements and last year’s winning video applications, can be found on the Peak Arts Prize website.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Pikes Peak Litter Letter project draws attention to trash in local waterways

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 1:46 PM

Concrete Couch has begun assembling the 3D letters to fill with litter. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Concrete Couch has begun assembling the 3D letters to fill with litter.
Unlikely pairings tend to spring up during Arts Month, an annual initiative by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region to fill the month of October with artistic experiences. During Arts Month, organizations of all kinds, even those that don’t tend to focus on art, contribute space for art events, lend their name and supporter base to arts organizations, or even partner with those organizations to make something unique. One such partnership: The Cultural Office itself and the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance.

Together, the two organizations have established the Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project, modeled after the national Litter Letter Project — with permission, a press release specifies. “[The] local Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project aims to inspire artistic creativity, inspire passion for the outdoors, and inspire environmental stewardship by creating a public art piece that focuses on the efforts to keep our public lands and waterways clean,” the release reads.

The creation of this public art piece included another local arts organization, Concrete Couch, which has assembled giant, 3D letters out of recycled metal. The letters spell the word “INSPIRE.” Volunteers cleaning up public lands and waterways during Creek Week (which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 6), will fill these letters with litter and display them throughout the month at the intersection of Highway 24 and 21st Street.

Watch the final letter come together at the dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 11:30 a.m. Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers and Colorado Tourism Office Director Cathy Ritter will be there to make it official.

Little litter is off-limits. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Little litter is off-limits.
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fine Arts Center town hall will address historic (and problematic) murals

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 4:40 PM

  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
contains a great deal of history — not just the items in its museum or the historical art pieces in its permanent collection, but also its own history as an institution. It celebrates its 100th anniversary next year.

But a lot has changed within the last century, and the FAC is not blind to the fact that aspects of its public art must be held up to modern scrutiny. Specifically, the FAC wants to address murals within the building that contain “problematic content,” according to Colorado College art professor Rebecca Tucker. This problematic content tends to relate to portrayals of race.

“They [the murals] are part of the historic fabric of our structure, and have been there since the 1930s,” she says, adding that “these are important pieces for us, part of our history, literally attached to our walls. They’re made by artists who are important in the region; they’re important to the FAC’s own history.”

However, the FAC understands that the historical significance of these murals is not the only important aspect of them, as modern interpretation has changed the way they’re viewed and received. While the FAC and Colorado College have had internal and campus conversations about how best to live with the murals, they have decided to open up the conversation to the community.

Their upcoming town hall, “Race, History and the Arts at the FAC and Beyond” is meant to give the public an opportunity to talk about these murals and what to do with them, in the context of a larger national conversation that has sprung up largely around Confederate statues and other such public art.

“I see this as an ongoing conversation about this really fundamental human question,” Tucker says. “How do we live with our past?”

While hiding the murals is an option, and the FAC currently uses curtains to keep them under wraps but accessible, it is not the only option. Tucker says they are open to community ideas, whether it means commissioning an artist to respond to the murals or approving a different, yet-unknown solution.

The town hall, co-hosted by the FAC and Colorado College’s Butler Center, will include four practitioners that Tucker hesitates to call panelists, who will provide different perspectives on the issue, but the conversation will largely be steered by community participants.

“We don’t have any easy solutions,” Tucker says. “I don’t think anybody right now has any easy solutions, but if there is a solution, it’s getting people together to talk about things that can be challenging.”

Attendees must RSVP for the town hall, which will be held at the Fine Arts Center’s restaurant TASTE on Sept. 24, 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Gallery Below's Art Parties are for all artists to come and play

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Arty Party, Aug. 30, 7-10 p.m., The Gallery Below, 718B N. Weber St., $5, - JON BATAILLE
  • Jon Bataille
  • Arty Party, Aug. 30, 7-10 p.m., The Gallery Below, 718B N. Weber St., $5,
Got an ongoing art project that you can’t seem to find time or inspiration to finish? Looking to dip into different mediums but don’t know where to start? The Gallery Below isn’t just a place for artists to display their work — it’s also for artists of all skill levels and genres who come to play. These last-Thursday Arty Parties come with a built-in group of supportive artists, as well as materials to experiment with (though folks are obviously welcome to bring their own). Surrounded by the artwork on the walls (currently The Weird and Wonderful World of Joshua Coates), attendees can get inspired, listen to music and — for a little extra inspiration — partake in some adult beverages.
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Strut your nerdiness and cosplay at this open mic and haiku battle

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 1:00 AM

This is Colorado Springs: Nerd Open Mic and Haiku Battle, Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., KaPow Comics & Coffee, 4239 N. Nevada Ave., free,
  • This is Colorado Springs: Nerd Open Mic and Haiku Battle, Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., KaPow Comics & Coffee, 4239 N. Nevada Ave., free,
How nerdy are you? We all may dress up as our favorite superheroes or Harry Potter characters from time to time, but it takes a next-level nerd to write poetry about their favorite pieces of pop culture. Luckily, plenty such poets call Colorado Springs home. Friday, locals will take the mic to perform their own geeky verse, and all are welcome to join in on the fun. The event will start with a workshop hosted by superstar Colorado poet Ashley Cornelius, followed by an open mic with Michael Ferguson (aka Skillzilla). At the end of the evening, stick around for a haiku battle hosted by Chris Beasley. That’s right, nothing nerdier than poetry geeks who can construct haiku out of thin air. To top it all off, there’ll be a costume contest, so get cosplaying!
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Local musicians to perform within LeAnna Tuff exhibit in Cottonwood Center for the Arts gallery space

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM

"Passion Unleashed" from A Peek Behind the Curtain - LEANNA TUFF
  • LeAnna Tuff
  • "Passion Unleashed" from A Peek Behind the Curtain
In conjunction with Cottonwood Center for the Arts' current exhibit of paintings by LeAnna Tuff, A Peek Behind the Curtain, local musicians will perform two concerts of beloved tunes from opera and musicals on Aug. 18 and 19.

The artist’s husband Peter Tuff, executive director of the Colorado Springs Chorale, will join mezzo-soprano Jennifer DeDominici, soprano Kate Adam Johnson, tenor Todd Teske and pianist Daniel Brink in the center’s main gallery space.

Currently on display in that space, A Peek Behind the Curtain represents a departure from LeAnna Tuff’s usual photorealistic portraiture, and “celebrates the wonder of being transported to other times and places through a story, a song or dance, or a costume.”

Peter Tuff says: “I’m excited to perform with these wonderful artists in the gallery where LeAnna’s paintings capture so much of the emotion that we singers experience, and her exhibition of costumed performers will be the perfect backdrop for these concerts.”

Tickets to the performances will be $10 for students with ID, and $20 for the general public.

See below for more about each musician from the Tuffs' press release:

Kate Adam Johnson, soprano has an extensive repertoire of stage and concert works, and she has appeared with Opera Theatre of the Rockies as Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, the title role in Lehar’s The Merry Widow and more. Kate has appeared as a soloist with the Greeley Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, Colorado Springs Symphony, MacLaren Quartet, Colorado Springs Chorale, Larimer Chorale, Soli Deo Gloria, Colorado College, First United Methodist Church, and Parish House Baroque. She has a Master of Music degree from the University of Northern Colorado and she currently serves as Catholic Music Director of the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. and her trumpet player husband have two sons.

Jennifer DeDominici, mezzo-soprano has been seen performing here in Colorado Springs as Mary Poppins, Maria in The Sound of Music, Carmen, Judy in 9 to 5, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Grace in Annie, Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Hansel, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, and Mrs. Jones in Street Scene. She has worked with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and Theatreworks. She is the new principal voice instructor at Colorado College.

Todd Teske, tenor recently performed works by Monteverdi, Bach, and Handel with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and with the Seicento Baroque Ensemble. Todd can be heard soloing in the Hollywood movie A Remarkable Life. With Conspirare, he recorded The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia Mundi), which garnered a 2014 Grammy for Best Choral Performance. He made his Kennedy Center solo debut in Hand¬el’s LÁllegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato for the Mark Morris Dance Group. His European opera debut was at Giessen Stadttheater in Germany performing the title roles in Milhaud’s Le Pauvre Matelot and in the world premiere of Jean Francaix’s Le Diable Boiteux. Todd will soon appear in the world premiere of the opera Locust by Anne M. Guzzo.

Peter Tuff, baritone has been described as “an outstanding singer” (Salzburger Nachrichten) and “impressive…strong and commanding” (San Francisco Examiner). Peter has performed over 30 leading roles and dozens of supporting roles in opera, operetta, and musical theater in a career spanning thirty years on three continents. Colorado Springs audiences are familiar with Peter’s performances with Opera Theatre of the Rockies (The Mikado, Carmen, Pagliacci, La Cenerentola), and with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic (Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s 9th, Copland’s Old American Songs), and with Chamber Orchestra of the Springs (Beethoven’s 9th). He serves as executive director of the Colorado Springs Chorale.

Daniel Brink, pianist is well known as a teacher, vocal coach, collaborative artist, and adjudicator throughout the Front Range of Colorado. Dan is in his 20th season as Music Director and Principal Coach/Accompanist with Opera Theatre of the Rockies. He has been a member of the music faculty of Colorado College since 1987 and has taught on the faculty of the Colorado College Vocal Arts Festival since its inception. He is also Principal Accompanist for the Colorado Springs Chorale. He is a gifted arranger whose works have been performed extensively. Dan has degrees from University of Southern Colorado and a Master of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

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Friday, August 3, 2018

The Unsteady Hand hosts benefit concert for new Parkinson's art program

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 3:25 PM

Parkinson's Disease is predicted to affect 1 million people in the U.S. by 2020. - CHINNAPONG / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Chinnapong /
  • Parkinson's Disease is predicted to affect 1 million people in the U.S. by 2020.

The Unsteady Hand, a new artist collective here in Colorado Springs, hopes to provide a space for people with Parkinson’s Disease and friends and family to explore artistic creation with guidance from local artists.

According to their website: “It is not uncommon for People with Parkinson’s (PWP) to become disengaged and isolated from their community. The explanations for separation can be physical, emotional or a combination of the two. We do everything we can to get through this mess called Parkinson’s as a community... a collective. The Unsteady Hand engages/re-engages fellow ‘Parkinsonians’ with the power of art and creativity.”

In advance of The Unsteady Hand’s first creative lab, the organization will host a benefit concert on Aug. 4.

Featuring Juannah, local pop-jazz-folk duo, the concert is free to attend, but organizers have asked for donations, 100 percent of which will fund upcoming programs.

According to the Parkinson’s foundation, the disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide, and can cause tremors, rigid limbs, and trouble walking or balancing, among other variable symptoms.

Hence, the title of the concert “Shake, Rattle, Be Whole,” which speaks to the truth of any disease, affliction or disability — it neither defines nor invalidates a person.

The concert will be held at Art 111, a downtown gallery currently exhibiting “Freedom,” featuring more than 20 artists interpreting the theme of freedom in diverse media.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Money Museum receives donation from Sacagawea dollar coin designer

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 8:56 AM

The Money Museum, the local, official museum of the American Numismatic Association, recently announced an exciting new donation to its collection.

Sculptor and Colorado College graduate Glenna Goodacre has given the museum a selection of items related to the Sacagawea dollar, for which she designed the obverse (the face side). The Sacagawea dollar was released in 2000 and produced until 2008.

Goodacre is a bronze sculptor of some renown, who has also contributed a large piece to the local Colorado Springs landscape. Her sculpture “Basket Dance” sits outside the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College today.

Among the items Goodacre has donated to the museum:
• One of three plaster-casts of the original Sacagawea design.
• A plaster cast of the final design.
• a test piece in bronze with a polished finish.
• Examples of the first coins struck by the U.S. Mint.
• “The Offering” – a small bronze statue showing Sacagawea looking up to the heavens while holding her dollar up and out in front of her.
• A plaster showing an alternate version of the Sacagawea design, requested by Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin, without Sacagawea’s baby Jean Baptiste on her back. Produced in 1998, it was much less popular than the design with the child.
• A terracotta rendition, used as a test piece to study the relief of the design.
• A large (7 ¾”) cast bronze of the final design.

Communications coordinator Amanda Miller says that there are no immediate plans to display these new items, but the museum is looking into future opportunities. In the meantime, the Money Museum's Trenches to Treaties: World War I in Remembrance is currently on display.

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