Friday, June 1, 2018

Humming Line Gallery offers classroom space to east side art teachers

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 8:59 AM

  • Courtesy Humming Line Gallery

Though options for creative engagement abound Downtown, it’s tougher to find classes (and classroom space) on the Northeast end of the city, where oftentimes corporate shopping centers overwhelm creative businesses.

Humming Line Gallery, 4851 Barnes Road, has nestled itself right off Austin Bluffs, providing a neat gallery space to an area in which many local artists live, even if they work and display their art closer to the city’s core or the west side. In addition to hosting the works of local artists (including the whimsical glass and wire creations of owner/founder Maxine Grossman), Humming Line has also been offering classes all year.

Grossman herself teaches crochet classes (with yarn and beads), as well as wire and beading jewelry classes— offering private and group sessions. One class option offers attendees the opportunity to decorate Grossman’s signature glass goddess forms.

And now Humming Line will open its doors to art teachers, as well as art students. The gallery has announced that it will offer its space for interested educators to host classes of their own.

Their space allows for up to 12 students, with limited storage available on-site if teachers should require it. It’s a solid location for artists in the Northeast to bring classes a little closer to home, rather than relying on the busy downtown corridor. And options aren’t limited to mess-less works. Humming Line’s Tom Grossman has taught airbrushing classes in the past, so all forms of art are welcome.

Those interested in renting the space can call the gallery, or email

Location Details Humming Line Gallery
4851 Barnes Road
Colorado Springs, CO
Art Gallery and Retail Store
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Downtown Partnership announces Art on the Streets participants

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 6:08 PM

"I have been dreaming to be a tree" by Byeong Doo Moon of Gwangju-si, South Korea - MIKE PACH
  • Mike Pach
  • "I have been dreaming to be a tree" by Byeong Doo Moon of Gwangju-si, South Korea
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs' Art on the Streets exhibition, and 17 new works have been picked to go on display around the downtown corridor. They'll join three "encore" exhibits and a new purchase added to the city's permanent outdoor collection.

This year, the Downtown Partnership received a staggering 90 proposals from 72 artists. The 17 participating works were selected by Joy Armstrong of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and Rodney Wood of Trinidad's ArtoCade Art Car Festival. The new pieces will be on display by early June; check out a full list of selected artists below.

  • Jodie Bliss of Monument
  • Justin Deister of Louisville, CO
  • Jimmy Descant of Salida, CO
  • Steven Durow of Fruitland, MD
  • Neil Fenton & Nathaniel Baker of Colorado Springs (collaborative work)
  • Scott Froschauer of Sun Valley, CA
  • Sara Madandar, Christina Coleman & Jieun Beth Kim of New Orleans, LA (collaborative work)
  • Byeong Doo Moon of Gwangju-si, Republic of Korea
  • Trace O’Connor of Fort Collins, CO
  • Kyle Ocean of Fort Collins, CO
  • Nikki Pike of Denver
  • Kasia Polkowska & Kyle Cunniff of Alamosa, CO
  • Yoshitomo Saito of Denver

In addition, the Downtown Partnership has announced that "I have been dreaming to be a tree" by artist Byeong Doo Moon, part of the 2017-18 exhibition, has been purchased through the Judy Noyes Memorial Purchase Fund and will be donated to the city and remain on display for the foreseeable future. Three other exhibits from the 2017-18 exhibition — "Aspires" by Mitchell Dillman of Penrose, "Nothing Greater than / Less than Love" by Joshua Kennard of Colorado Springs, and "Double Bench III (Basics)" by Matthias Neumann of Brooklyn, NY — will remain on exhibition until further notice.
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Michael Garman releases new sculpture in time for his 80th birthday

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 10:20 AM

For decades, the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery has been a fixture of the Old Colorado City community. Magic Town, the central focus of the gallery, is a “3,000 square-foot dollhouse,” according to the artist himself. It contains painted bronze sculptures illustrating urban life in a “gritty blend of Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell.” Intricate details from half-eaten food on plates to trash in the streets add color to Magic Town, but the figures make it come to life.

Garman doesn’t just create sculptures; he creates characters, and strives to make each one unique. In 2016, he added to his Western Collection two sculptures paying homage to Mexican revolutionaries. Now, two years later, he has finished production on a character he’s been working on for about 10 years.

Prairie Rose is the newest addition to the Western Collection. And while 10 years may seem like a long time to create one character, Garman says Prairie Rose was a special challenge. “The women in my life are by far the most complicated beings I have ever met,” Garman said in a press release. “A female sculpture is no less complex. Creating a woman is an art in and of itself.”

Though Prairie Rose is far from the only female sculpture he’s created, she is as unique as the rest of them, with a contemplative expression, a pair of dusty Daisy Duke shorts, and a casual stance that makes it seem as though she’s lookin' over a rolling prairie and thinkin’ about how the railroad’s gonna change things ‘round here, just you wait — though the shorts and tied-off belly shirt may make it difficult to do any farm work or rough riding.

This 19.5-inch sculpture will be officially released on Garman’s 80th birthday on May 15 at the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery, where attendees can enjoy Magic Town and Garman’s other impressively detailed works.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts tells a brief fairytale on Pioneers Museum lawn

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 4:45 PM

  • Alissa Smith

On April 27, Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts hosted The Well Between Two Words, "an experimental performance art piece about justice, desire, and the wishful immediate," created by Ella Goodine Richardson. Billed as lasting from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the performance took place in and around a hut erected on the Pioneers Museum lawn, decorated with cylindrical pillows and draping curtains.

When I arrived at 11 a.m., a group of performers sat in the hut, applying each others' doll-like makeup while they spoke quietly to each other. As with most experimental art, it can be hard to tell what is part of the piece and what is not, so I watched from afar for a few moments and decided to return for the main performance at 4 p.m.

At four (on the dot, thanks to the Pioneers Museum's bells) a small group of folks gathered on the lawn to watch what was essentially a brief fairytale, told through magic, music and a Greek-like chorus of three elaborately dressed narrators. The magic, provided by performers Anthem and Aria, earned a few well deserved rounds of applause from the audience, with cards, coins and trays disappearing into thin air.

The story itself was opaque — I think I picked up something about a woman looking into a well and seeing another world — but story may not have been the entire point.

While the main performance lasted less than 10 minutes, it transported its small audience momentarily from the nearby bustle of Tejon Street, and offered a nice, peaceful respite in the middle of a busy downtown Friday afternoon.

See below for some photos.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble celebrates 25 years of artistic collaboration

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Immortal Fire: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, April 22, 3 p.m., Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 631 N. Tejon St., - donations requested, - ANTHONY GRAHAM
  • Anthony Graham
  • Immortal Fire: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, April 22, 3 p.m., Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 631 N. Tejon St., donations requested,
When Deborah Jenkins Teske founded the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, our local chamber music a cappella group, a mentor told her: “Well anybody can start a choir. It’s keeping it going that’s hard.” Twenty-five years later, she says that warning advice has turned out to be incredibly true. But CVAE has only grown, even flourished, while remaining true to its mission, “which was to really focus on this smaller repertoire and still feel like we were growing or expanding or challenging ourselves,” Teske says, “without the pressure of needing to change or turn into something else. ... We are what we are. We’re rooted here.” CVAE now boasts 34 members, compared to its original 14, and a wide variety of personalities and professions that Teske believes enriches the choir as a whole. “We just have such an amazing mix of people,” she says. “We have rocket scientists, and professional singers, and teachers, and they all bring their world of experience in the door with them, and it’s part of what makes us great.”

And CVAE boasts an unusually large number of solo singers. While each of them functions beautifully in an ensemble, they also bring power to a performance when it’s needed, as well as what Teske calls a “range of color” in their voices.

The group has performed at the Green Box Arts Festival and Colorado College’s Summer Music Festival, and collaborated with Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, among others. Next year, they’re looking forward to a collaborative performance with the Colorado Ballet Society. These collaborations not only keep CVAE involved and active in the greater community, but also help them develop their own sound, constantly challenging themselves.

The April 22 performance, in celebration of CVAE’s 25th anniversary, builds on that legacy of collaboration and personal challenge with a program of a few old favorites and some new-to-the-ensemble pieces. Teske calls the program’s main piece, Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, “a 12-minute masterpiece,” an “amazing poem that is itself about artistic inspiration, and where it comes from.” In addition to that, the group will perform English and Latvian folk songs, lighthearted Italian and French Renaissance madrigals, and some heavier selections to balance out the show. They’ll be singing in six languages, covering six centuries and three continents.

Stick around after the show for a reception to congratulate the ensemble on 25 successful years, and many more to come.
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Art Aloud 2018 honors National Poetry Month in a variety of media

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Art Aloud 2018, April 20, 4-8 p.m., through April 30, Academy Art & Frame Company, 7560 N. Academy Blvd., - MARI MOORE
  • Mari Moore
  • Art Aloud 2018, April 20, 4-8 p.m., through April 30, Academy Art & Frame Company, 7560 N. Academy Blvd.,
This 11th annual, multi-venue exhibition promises high-quality work in both visual art and the written word. In honor of National Poetry Month, Academy Art & Frame Company hosts a call for entries every year for artwork inspired by the written word and vice versa. That means poetry, fiction, or even quotes, exhibited alongside connected artwork in a variety of media. Co-hosting with Hooked on Books (12 E. Bijou St.) and Sand Creek Library (1821 S. Academy Blvd.), Academy Art & Frame has spread Art Aloud across the city to make it more widely accessible, and to draw interested attendees to some fresh destinations. Enjoy a reception at the original location April 20, with live readings, refreshments and the other awesome art on display at the shop.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rocky Mountain Women's Film Institute's Shorts Night returns with more award-winning stories

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Shorts Night, April 21, 7:30 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive, - FRANK DION
  • Frank Dion
  • Shorts Night, April 21, 7:30 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive,
Short films aren’t just about catering to an audience’s short attention span (though admittedly that’s an unintended bonus). No, shorts set out to tell a condensed story, presenting a snapshot of a life or a unique narrative, and providing only exactly what the viewer needs to see. Some filmmakers do that incredibly well, and I’m not talking about the geniuses behind Vine (RiP). The Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute has, as it does every year, selected some of the best of the best in recent short films, collecting nine award-winning shorts of all genres to screen April 21 at Stargazers. Enjoy animation, documentary and narrative shorts that explore themes from mental health to pornography to racial tension — even one, In a Nutshell, that attempts to condense the world into five minutes, “from a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse.” This event is known to sell out, so be sure to get on getting tickets. Fast.
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The Trojan Women is 2,500 year-old play that's still relevant today

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 9:13 AM

The Trojan Women, April 19-21, 7:30 p.m., and April 21, 2 p.m., PPCC Centennial Theater, - SARAH SHAVER
  • Sarah Shaver
  • The Trojan Women, April 19-21, 7:30 p.m., and April 21, 2 p.m., PPCC Centennial Theater,
It’s always valuable to view history, and historical works of art, through a contemporary lens, to best digest the lessons humanity has or (often) hasn’t learned. The Trojan Women, a play written nearly 2,500 years ago by Euripides, still addresses relevant themes, and director Sarah Shaver has added “a modern twist” to call attention to what it has to say. With five female leads and an all-female chorus in this PPCC student production, the power of the story comes more fully to light, speaking to the dehumanization of women that has plagued society for thousands of years, as well as the often ignored collateral damage of war. The Trojan Women looks at the aftermath of war without any of the glory or nationalism, and from the point of view of the conquered. The premise: At the end of the Trojan War, with the men of Troy largely slaughtered by the invading Greeks, the survivors grieve together and await their fate. Many of these women will become slaves to the Greek army. Attendees at the April 21 matinée are invited to a talk-back with the director and the cast, which includes some combat veterans and active service members who can speak personally to its themes.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Howard Cruse talks comics history and the diversity of underground comics

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 9:54 AM

From Stuck Rubber Baby. - HOWARD CRUSE
  • Howard Cruse
  • From Stuck Rubber Baby.

Denver's independent comic and art expo, DiNK, celebrates its third annual event April 14-15. With a wide variety of exhibitors and speakers, DiNK's focus on diversity draws artists of all kinds to share their experiences, their works and their insight. One such artist, Howard Cruse (whom we profile in more depth in this week's Queer & There) has been drawing for almost 70 years, and has seen eras of comics come and go.

We spoke with Cruse, 73, about his extensive history in comics, and his perspective on the cultural shifts that have shaped the industry.
Indy: I’d love to know more about your history in your own words — how you started creating comics, and why.

Cruse: I’m just somebody who grew up drawing from the time I was 5. And I discovered comic books around that time. I would read the newspaper strips and I enjoyed making up stories. So comics was kind of a natural form for me to fall into. Sometime around when I was 8 or so ... my father told me that cartooning was something people actually did for a living, and that was a very attractive idea for me. I was growing up in a rural southern town, where most people were farmers, and all my classmates came from farm towns, and I would go visit them. I saw how hard farmers have to work, and I thought, “Gee, it would be nice to be able to draw pictures and make a living instead of plow fields.”

[After high school] I began to get things published — little things here and there in some magazines. In the early ‘70s, I discovered underground comic books, and that’s where I really felt like I fit in, because the idea there was to draw things from your heart, or uncensored, that were about things that were real to you, rather than escapism [or] fantasy. ...

Then, the gay magazine, The Advocate. ... I sort of pitched them the idea of doing a regular comic strip, for them, and so I wound up doing this comic strip called Wendel. This was about the title character and his circle of gay friends, and his parents, and it was a main activity of mine during the 1980s. And then in 1990 ... I wound up spending four years doing this graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby. It’s about growing up gay in the South during the Civil Rights era. It’s not strictly autobiography. It’s a novel, fiction, but it drew on my experiences growing up in Alabama, during that time. 
From Wendel. - HOWARD CRUSE
  • Howard Cruse
  • From Wendel.
It’s interesting to hear the flow through your career, because you’re describing decades. I’m curious how the culture as a whole has shifted over these decades, and how that has affected your work and your motivation.

When I was just starting out, it was a given that, if you were gay, that would be compartmentalized in the private side of your life because you couldn’t be openly gay and have a cartooning career. And I always assumed that that’s the way it would be, until the gay liberation movement happened in the late ‘60s and through the ‘70s. I became aware that it was important not to be hiding part of myself if I wanted to do stuff that really was truthful and came from the heart. And so I gradually began to use the gay side of myself in my work, but I also had a big desire not to be totally pigeonholed on that topic, so I’ve also done comics on a variety of other things.

But I’m very oriented toward comics that reflect the full range of the world, not just sex, but the values of the culture. So one of the main motivators for doing this graphic novel [Stuck Rubber Baby] was my distress over the backsliding that America did after the 1960s. It looked like we were really moving toward human rights and all sorts of liberation, aside from gay liberation, and then the ‘80s just turned into this materialistic period that revered wealth — basically kind of like it is now. And I was very anxious to sort of pay tribute to the genuine heroism and un-cynical approaches to life that were prominent during the 1960s.

And so that’s been a main motivator for me, is just being real. I’ve just never been very interested in superhero comics or fantasy comics. And that’s the reason I was so glad that the underground comics scene came along, and it was possible to not have to be part of the superhero machine.

It seems like what was once the underground comic scene — the diversity of both represented identities and stories— is now a facet of mainstream comics. Can you tell me about that shift?

A lot of the openness and freedom of comics, particularly the independent branch of comics, grew out of underground in that it was about cartoonists owning their own work, and not turning it over to some company, and being as free as possible. A big difference is that, during the birth of the underground comics, we started in the 1960s. Essentially, there was a community that was ready to be the audience, which was the counterculture, the hippie community. It was a movement for liberation on a whole lot of different fronts.

Whereas counterculture, as such, kind of dissipated at the end of the ‘70s, and cartoonists who wanted to draw in the same kind of free way — they were more on their own to find an audience. One thing that ended the underground comics era was the government went on the attack against head shops, which was a place where many underground comics were sold. Then as part of the crusade against drugs, the prosecutors targeted these head shops for anything they could get them on.

And underground comics — one reason they could be totally free and free of censorship was that they were not sold on newsstands. Newsstands had become self-policing [thanks to] the Comics Code Authority, which was an industry creation in response to the fact that comics came under attack in the 1950s as being bad for children. Essentially you had very stringent rules to get sold on newsstands. But because the underground comics were adults only, they were able to ignore the comics code authority, and have this kind of freedom. ...

I think the independent comics [culture], as I say, it doesn’t see itself quite as a movement in the same way that the counterculture saw itself as a movement. But the cartoonists who really followed their creative lights in independent comics, in their own way, that was its own kind of quieter movement. ...

When I was a kid, before the big superhero boom, you had every kind of topic in regular mainstream comics. Unlike undergrounds they were for kids, and you couldn’t have any sex or drugs or heavy politics, but you had cowboy comics and space comics and spinoffs of every popular TV show, and it was a wonderful variety of comics that was very inspiring. Whereas once all of a sudden the big Marvel boom happened during the ‘60s, it just essentially squeezed out all these other kinds. Because superheroes are where the money was. It’s like movies now. ... Most of the really fine movies that are made these days are made by independent filmmakers, not Hollywood, and that’s kind of a parallel to what happened in the world of comics.
Another thing that has obviously changed is the internet ... I’m curious your perspective on the incredibly wide accessibility that people, especially young gay people figuring out their identities, have to all these diverse storylines.

The internet is a very paradoxical animal. It’s kind of a golden age for creativity. Anyone, no matter how oddball their idea is or what their orientation is, or in what way they may not be considered mainstream themselves — they can find an audience. Anywhere in the world. And that’s a wonderful thing, and there’s some great creative stuff happening in all forms, including comics online.

But there’s a downside, which is the readership of content online has become accustomed to the feeling that everything should be free. ... I don’t envy young cartoonists trying to start out their careers now, because in the old days, in the world of print, it was not that hard to find places that would pay something, at least, even if it was the local alternative paper. And once you began to build a career, build an audience and learn your skills, you could get real professional rates for doing stuff for print.

I, myself, basically supported myself doing humorous illustrations for mainstream magazines like American Health and Bananas Magazine. There were a number of magazines that used me regularly, and I could do my underground comics without worrying about the fact that the page rate for drawing underground comics was very low. Not because the publishers were cheap, but simply because the audience for them was not widespread enough to make it feasible from a business standpoint to pay large rates. ...

It’s very hard, this phenomenon, with print having sort of been eclipsed by the internet, it’s a real dilemma for people who don’t want to just do comics or cartoons for fun, but want to be professionals. It’s very hard to be a professional these days, and I’m not sure what the answer is for that.
From Stuck Rubber Baby. - HOWARD CRUSE
  • Howard Cruse
  • From Stuck Rubber Baby.

Events like DiNK [Denver’s Independent Art and Comic Expo] for instance — were those kinds of conventions as valuable back in the day as they are today?

They’ve always been great for cartoonists to meet other cartoonists. Because cartooning is a very isolating profession. You tend to work by yourself in a little studio. ... Gatherings like that allow people to build up a circle of colleagues and friends — that’s always been true. I didn’t become interested in going to conventions until they began to be interested in things beyond superheroes. But in time, and during the ‘80s, more and more of the conventions were interested in independent comics, and in cartoonists with unusual interests and ambitions. That was a place where fans of comics would go and they would run into comics they might not see easily in their hometowns, and their awareness would be expanded of what you could do with a comic form. ...

Meeting readers is very enjoyable. It’s one of my favorite things about the internet. It’s very easy for people who read my stuff to make contact with me directly. Whereas when I was a kid if you were a fan of some author or something, the best you could do was send a letter care of their publisher, and it might or might not reach them.

And I’m sure that some comics people don’t want to be bothered with interacting with their readers, but I personally find it good for my morale to know that there are people out there who are interested in what I’m doing.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Manitou Chooses Love encourages Ukrainian methods of conflict resolution with community-wide initiative

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 3:58 PM

Barry and Janae Weinhold discuss their inspiration for Manitou Chooses Love at the April 5 kick-off event. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Barry and Janae Weinhold discuss their inspiration for Manitou Chooses Love at the April 5 kick-off event.
When Janae and Barry Weinhold first visited Ukraine in 1990, they were struck by the way Ukrainian people solve interpersonal issues. “They try to hold the web of connection,” Janae says, marveling that she has never seen Americans work so intentionally to maintain positive group dynamics.

As psychologists, the Weinholds have focused on conflict resolution since founding The Colorado Institute for Conflict Resolution and Creative Leadership (CICRCL) in 1987. They’ve long been intrigued by the idea of bringing Ukrainian methods of conflict resolution to America, and specifically to local communities.

Now, in partnership with Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts, they won’t only be bringing Ukrainian methods to Manitou, but 14 Ukrainian individuals, who will help to facilitate two weekends of gender reconciliation workshops and participate in cultural exchanges through dance, music, yoga and more.

This initiative, which will take place between May 9 and May 20, 2018, is called Manitou Chooses Love, and speaks to the desire of CICRCL and Smokebrush to encourage love and understanding, especially among genders, at a time when tensions between men and women are politically and socially charged.

The initiative was officially announced on April 5, at Smokebrush’s Red Crags Arts & Agriculture House. The Cosmic Flying Goats performed a few songs, and musician Shawn Gallaway, who will be co-facilitating Manitou Chooses Love’s workshops, recorded a video of his song paying homage to Manitou legend Charles Rockey. More Manitou-brand love and community performances are on the docket for May.

The Cosmic Flying Goats will perform at a community concert during the Manitou Chooses Love initiative. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • The Cosmic Flying Goats will perform at a community concert during the Manitou Chooses Love initiative.

See below for a schedule of Manitou Chooses Love events:
· Wednesday, May 9, 7-9pm, Meet & Greet the Ukrainians at SunWater Spa. The public is welcome.

· Thursday, May 10, 1-5 pm, Show Manitou Businesses Some Love!
Chalk Art by the Arcade with Vince Coleman
Mineral Springs Tour, Watch for details
Love Ambassadors throughout town with chocolate kisses and more!
Love Art in various places throughout town
Love Yoga in Mansions Park, 4:00 pm with Kat Tudor
Love Songs throughout town
Community Council on Love, 2:00 pm, Mansions Park with Judy Piazza
· 7-9 pm, Manitou Chooses Love Concert featuring Shawn Gallaway (winner of a Global Peace Song Award) and The Cosmic Flying Goats, purchase $10 presale tickets or $15 at the door, Memorial Hall

· Friday, May 11, 7-9pm, Story Project Stories of Love! at SunWater Spa, with Hannah & renowned artist CH Rockey, Barry & Janae Weinhold, and two Ukrainian love stories

· Tuesday, May 15, 6:30-8 pm, International Folk Dancing with Ava Molnar Heinrichsdorff & Linda Kopman-Gravelle, Memorial Hall, Free to all, families encouraged! Come dance!

· Wednesday, May 16, Yogic Love Spiral with Kat Tudor in Nature! Check back for details. Open to all.

· Friday, May 18, 6:30-8 pm, Walking Art Tour in Manitou Springs 

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Fine Arts Center releases 2018/19 theater season

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 at 10:21 AM

February's Intimate Apparel was one of our favorite shows from the FAC's 2017/18 season. - JEFF KEARNEY
  • Jeff Kearney
  • February's Intimate Apparel was one of our favorite shows from the FAC's 2017/18 season.
On Friday, March 30, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College released the lineup for its 2018/19 theater season. Though the 2017-2018 season wraps up this spring with Fun Home (through April 22), Fully Committed (April 27-May 20), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (May 24-June 17) and Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (June 29-July 21), we're already looking forward to fall. True to form, the FAC’s mainstage, studio and family productions promise a variety of themes and styles, some musical, all regional premieres.

Among them, Shakespeare in Love (Sept. 27-Oct. 21, 2018), adapted from the popular 1988 film. While the Springs' enjoys occasional productions of Shakespeare's work (with TheatreWorks' annual summer Shakespeare production, a recent creative spin on MacBeth by Counterweight Theatre Lab, and Shakespeare in the Alley set to premiere this summer) this creative and whimsical romance follows William Shakespeare himself and the noblewoman-turned-actor who inspires his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet. It employs plenty of Shakespearean tropes, making it a must-see for fans of the bard, or for anyone who wants to enjoy a devastatingly good romance. It's a solid season opener, thanks to its accessibility and acclaim.

Another intriguing mainstage production (that couldn't land thematically farther from Shakespeare in Love): Hands on a Hardbody (March 28-April 14), a musical with a country and roots-rock vibe. The premise: In a profound expression of American materialism, 10 Texans spend days on end with one hand on a brand new truck, hoping to win it by being the last one standing. It’s a ridiculous concept, and even better once you learn that it is, in fact, a true story — if somewhat embellished for the stage.

In the studio series, Church & State (Nov. 2-25) sounds like it will address some relevant social issues regarding religion, politics, and “how politics has become a religion.” While the show certainly has its comedic elements, the topic alone makes it a more sober choice for the season, and should start some interesting conversations — always a sign of good theater.

Special theatrical events abound, as well. Before the mainstage productions start in September, the FAC will host PIE, a touring production by Theater Grottesco, a Santa Fe-based troupe that has created 13 full-length plays and more than 30 short pieces since its founding in 1983 in Paris, France. PIE was jointly inspired by the Carl Sagan quote “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe," and the Kate Tempest Poem “Brand New Ancients.” Theater Grottesco says of PIE: “Simply put, four lovable fools arrive at a panel discussion where the moderator doesn't show up. They have a collective nervous breakdown, unleashing their inner gods, and accidentally destroy and reinvent the universe.” It will run only four dates: Aug. 30-Sept. 2.

See below for the full season lineup, and look for subscription packages on the FAC website.

Shakespeare in Love: Sept. 27-Oct. 21, 2018
Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical: Dec. 6, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019
Anna in the Tropics: Feb. 7-24, 2019
Hands on a Hardbody: March 28-April 14, 2019
Barnum: May 23-June 16, 2019

Family & Studio Series
Go, Dog. Go!: Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2018
Church & State: Nov. 2-25, 2018
Ben and the Magic Paintbrush: March 8-April 7, 2019
Bad Dates: April 26-May 19, 2019

Special Theater Events
PIE: Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2018
An Evening with Paul Reiser:Aug. 17, 2018
An Evening with Paula Poundstone: Nov. 1, 2018
Happy Hour Stand-Up: July 6, 2018; Aug. 3, 2018; Dec. 7, 2018; Jan. 4, 2019; Feb. 1, 2019; June 7, 2019
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Inaugural Peak Arts Prize winners announced

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 11:09 AM

Jasmine Dillavou's 100 Potions for Puerto Rico won the Peak Arts Prize in the individual artists category. - JASMINE DILLAVOU
  • Jasmine Dillavou
  • Jasmine Dillavou's 100 Potions for Puerto Rico won the Peak Arts Prize in the individual artists category.

Wednesday, March 21, The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region announced the winners of the inaugural Peak Arts Prize, a creative new grant program for arts and culture organizations and individuals in the area, funded by Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s Fund for the Arts.
Between March 1-15, the public voted on worthy grant recipients based on the applicants’ video applications. In a press release, COPPeR’s deputy director Angela Seals said: “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 below for the winners and a little about each of their projects:

Large Arts Organizations (Prize: $7,500)
Destination Space
By Chamber Orchestra of the Springs

Chamber Orchestra of the Springs will produce a community event of science & art in partnership with the Space Foundation featuring original music, NASA visuals, hands-on activities, educational exhibits, instrument petting zoo & star viewing.

Small Arts Organizations (Prize: $5,000)
Springs Murals
By Colorado Street Art Company

Colorado Street Art Company will launch their Colorado Springs presence and oversee production of several street art murals in the city this summer. Local artists would paint the murals in collaboration with the community.

Individual Artists (Prize: $2,500)
100 Potions for Puerto Rico
By Jasmine Dillavou

Jasmine Dillavou will create and exhibit an installation of 100 magical potion assemblages to spread awareness about the forgotten history of Puerto Rico and the tragedy of Hurricane Maria. Ten will be created by people in Puerto Rico.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Springs arts community embraces ekphrasis — the marriage of visual and literary arts

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:47 AM

A pair of pieces from Cottonwood Center for the Arts' current exhibit, Writing Is Art - FELICIA KELLY
  • Felicia Kelly
  • A pair of pieces from Cottonwood Center for the Arts' current exhibit, Writing Is Art

Writers find inspiration everywhere, but there’s a long history of finding inspiration in visual artwork in particular. John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s "On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery" are two personal favorite examples of writers (in this case poets) creating something beautiful based on an entirely different kind of art.

This marriage of the visual and literary arts (called ekphrasis) is pretty damn cool. I’ve found through writing ekphrastic poetry and fiction myself that there’s very little difference between the muses that inspire art and those that inspire writing, and both forms of expression can enrich each other.

Given the literary and artistic talent to be found right here in the Springs, I’m especially thrilled to see the local artistic community embracing this marriage, and in unique and expanding ways.

At Cottonwood Center for the Arts right now (and through March 31), the exhibit Writing Is Art displays the work of local artists alongside stories and poems by members of Pikes Peak Writers. Through a contest held from October through December of 2017, writers were tasked with finding a piece of artwork at Cottonwood that inspired them, and writing a companion piece for it. Displayed side-by-side, the writing and art complement each other, and get people engaged in a unique way. When someone takes the time to read stories and poems alongside the art on the wall, they spend more time with the art, too. Similarly, an interesting painting might draw someone’s eye to a story they wouldn't have otherwise read.

Also locally, we’re desperately looking forward to The Sci-fi Show, which adds an exciting new layer to ekphrasis, and flips around the dynamic of the Cottonwood show. Organized jointly by Brett Andrus (S.P.Q.R. owner/painter) and Claire Swinford (Urban Engagement Manager at the Downtown Partnership, and a painter herself), The Sci-fi Show pulled together 10 area writers (including two of us here at the Indy) to write original sci-fi short stories, then paired them with visual artists, who will create retro-inspired images to accompany the pieces. Instead of stopping there, The Sci-fi Show adds an element of the performing arts as well, with local actors reading and recording the stories before the opening. This allows audiences three ways to access a story, encouraging collaboration across all kinds of platforms.

Though, of course, ekphrastic work isn’t a new phenomenon, even locally. Art Aloud, an annual multi-venue collaborative show spearheaded by Academy Art and Frame Company, celebrates its 11th year in 2018, and will accept submissions of art inspired by writing through March 24. The artwork will be displayed alongside its accompanying poem or story, and the whole initiative will be celebrated with live readings and receptions throughout April. The works don’t have to be created together, though writers and artists are welcome to work in tandem. Spreading the love through venues across town (no specifics announced yet for 2018) allows more people the opportunity to enjoy the way writing and art can influence each other.

There’s value in this for both the visual and literary artist. A short story displayed alongside a painting may add another dimension to the work, encouraging a deeper emotional investment; whereas an art piece inspired by a poem can make concrete some of the emotions expressed in verse. It’s a treat when writers and artists take advantage of those infinite combinations and possibilities of collaboration.

Of course, the benefits extend to the audience. We all have our niches, our special interests within the arts. Though I’m excited about each of these events as a writer, I find it equally fun to come into them as a viewer — to see the way we all inspire each other, and to break down those barriers within the massive Venn diagram of the arts.
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Poetry, comedy, a dance spotlight and more featured events this week

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 8:39 AM

7 Wednesday

Celtic Nights: Oceans of Hope
While performances of Irish dance and music tour the country frequently, this one is unique for its subject matter. Through narration and performance, Celtic Nights tells the story of Irish immigrants to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — those fleeing persecution, famine and war. Of course, Celtic Nights celebrates the culture these immigrants came from, while recognizing the effect the Irish diaspora has had on cultures around the world. March 7, 8 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $18-$65,

10 Saturday

Jo Koy
This Filipino-American comedian’s popularity is growing quickly, though he’s been in the comedy scene since 1989. After self-producing his 2017 Netflix special, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle, and selling it to the online streaming conglomerate, his once-insular fanbase has bloomed. 2018’s headlining tour, Break the Mold, features some all-new stand-up comedy, drawing inspiration from his family, especially his strict Filipino mother and his
quirky son. March 10, 7-9 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $38-$48,

10 Saturday

  • File photo
Kevin C. Mitchell Poetry Book Release
Though local activist Kevin Mitchell has read poetry at various local events, including the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. All People’s Breakfast and the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission annual meeting, Words From a Field Negro will be his first published book of poetry. Includes appearances by Mitchell’s musical collaborator Lord Damage, local NAACP leader Lisa Villanueva, poet/hip-hop artist Stoney Bertz and “surprise musical guests.” Mitchell is also the executive director of the Empowerment Solidarity Network, a local organization devoted to supporting families of color and addressing “the roots of social inequities.” March 10, 7-9 p.m., Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Ave.,

11 Sunday

  • Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Don’t let the name fool you. Colorado Ballet Society trains dancers from toddlers to adults in a wide variety of styles, including contemporary, jazz, hip-hop and more. Spotlight! shines, well, a spotlight on their Contemporary Dance Company, a relatively new program of the Ballet Society, celebrating its second season. This performance will feature 35 dancers performing new choreography — both classic and contemporary. The Ballet Society itself is more than 20 years old, founded in 1997. It has since trained some of the region’s best dancers. March 11, 4-5:30 p.m., Louisa Performing Arts Center, Colorado Springs School, 21 Broadmoor Ave., $15,

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

First Friday, film, funny folks and more featured events this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 9:26 AM

1 Thursday

A fitting film to kick off Women’s History Month, Dolores captures the work and private life of activist Dolores Huerta, who founded the first farm worker’s union with Cesar Chavez in the 1950s and worked to further women’s rights and combat racism her entire life. The documentary, presented by the Independent Film Society of Southern Colorado, has received multiple awards and nominations, including a Critics’ Choice award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary in 2017. Huerta, 87, continues to champion women’s rights, walking in the 2017 Women’s March at the Sundance Film Festival and participating as a speaker. March 1, 7-9 p.m., Tim Gill Center for Public Media, 315 E. Costilla St., donations accepted,

2 Friday

Stick Horses in Pants Improv Comedy
Stick Horses in Pants brings short-form improv to audiences who like their comedy off-the-cuff and unexpected. The twice-monthly performances rely on audience suggestions, ensuring the content is always unique. Billed as an all-ages experience, Stick Horses in Pants keeps its hilarity clean and friendly without sacrificing comedic integrity. That means it’s safe for both precocious teens and conservative grandmas, but not at all boring for those who fall in between. The troupe’s current home at Lon Chaney Theatre creates an atmosphere of cozy intimacy that’s perfect for a performance that relies heavily on audience buy-in. First Friday of every month, 8 p.m. and third Friday of every month, 8 p.m.; through April 20, Lon Chaney Theatre, 221 E. Kiowa St., $7-$10,

2 Friday

West Side Story
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic continues its salute to Leonard Bernstein with a full screening of West Side Story accompanied by a live performance of the full musical score, conducted both evenings by Philharmonic music director Josep Caballé-Domenech. The film is a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo and Juliet. It won 10 Academy Awards in 1961, securing its position as the most highly awarded musical film in history and one of only 10 musicals to ever win in the Best Picture category. March 2-3, 7:30-10:15 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $24-$78,

2 Friday

Rule Number 1
Featuring the works of local artists Christine Flores and Riley Bratzler (Indy publisher’s assistant), including drawings and mixed-media pieces that explore the theme of femininity. Flores leverages dry media and paper to explore people, objects and experiences that impact her story of femininity and womanhood. Bratzler’s work comprises mixed media portraiture and print that explores the difficulties of her experiences as an image moderator for a tech company, reviewing and deleting thousands of photos with highly sexual imagery. Opening reception, March 2, 5 p.m. to midnight., on display through March 30, 17C E. Bijou St.,

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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