Nov 17, 2014

Make a difference: Support the arts in your community


Dear FAC fan, visitor, patron,
You participate in and support arts and culture in our community. You know and appreciate the power they can have in creating a vibrant and thriving city. As the CEO of your Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, like you, I believe arts and culture are fundamental to a healthy and flourishing community, and I am asking for your help.

My first week on the job I met with four families whose kids had participated in our Youth Documentary Film Academy, an exciting collaborative effort between the FAC, filmmaker Tom Shepard, and other community members. Parents from each of these families thanked me for helping their child find a passion. They wanted me to know that their children had a newly-found confidence and vitality developed through the artistic expression of their stories, some of which were difficult and painful. I was amazed at the talent of these young artists and the emotive power of their films.

As a testament to the power of this program, one of these kids, Bailey Francisco, was honored in October as this year's Rising Star at the Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards!

We want to open doors of artistic expression and experience for many more in our community. We want to do more innovative programs. Unfortunately, we don’t have sufficient resources. We can only do so with your support.

Across the country, organizations like ours receive substantial portions of their funding from government sources. Last year, we received less than 1% of our funding from any public sources. That means we are uniquely and totally dependent on the generosity of individuals like you who agree that it is vital for the health of our city to have a thriving and accessible arts community.

Our Board of Trustees believes in the Fine Arts Center so strongly that they have pledged more than $100,000 of their own resources this year to our cause. And now they are issuing a challenge to the community to match that amount in our year-end campaign.

Please consider giving generously. As you reflect on your charitable giving for the year, I ask you to move the Fine Arts Center higher up on your list of priorities. Your tax-deductible gift will support our programs for at-risk youth, for children from under-resourced communities who lack arts education in their schools, and for military personnel participating in our Military Artistic Healing programs. Your gift buys art supplies and theater make-up and pays for great art exhibitions that we bring to town. And during this year-end season, you can answer the challenge from our committed Board of Trustees with your own valuable donation.

Arts and culture are good for the soul. For the soul of the individual and for the soul of the community. Join us in creating a vibrant and healthy city. Help us reach more young people like Bailey with the power and joy of art. I look forward to seeing you soon, and often, at your Fine Arts Center!
All the best,
Why the arts pay
1. True prosperity . . . The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble, inspire us and build bridges among different cultures.
2. Improved academic performance . . . Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and better attitudes about community service.
3. Arts are an Industry . . . Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating $22.3 billion in government revenue.
4. Arts are good for local merchants . . . The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters.
5. Arts are the cornerstone of tourism . . . Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more.
6. Arts are an export industry . . . U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) grew to $64 billion in 2010, while imports were just $23 billion—a $41 billion arts trade surplus in 2010.
7. Building the 21st Century workforce . . . Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders.
8. Healthcare . . . Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff.
9. Stronger communities . . . A high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates.
10. Creative Industries . . . 905,689 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 3.4 million people.

SOURCE: "Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts," 2014, Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts

David Dahlin | President & CEO




Nov 12, 2014

FAC By the Numbers


Top 10 reasons Insert Card Final.pdf

Oct 29, 2014

Youth Documentary Academy Premieres Students' Films at FAC

In 2013 documentary filmmaker Tom Shepard returned home to ColoradoSprings and founded the Youth Documentary Academy (YDA) at the Fine Art Center's Bemis School of Art. The program provides a small class of local teenagers with the knowledge, skill, and equipment required to create documentary films. Shepard also brought in Coloradan filmmakers Suzan Beraza and Aaron Burns to help teach students about film techniques and equipment.
When their training is completed, the YDA students have been free to tell the non-fiction story of their choosing. The students were encouraged to pick a topic important to them and to tell the story in a personal way. The various topics of their films include the local music scene, self-expression through street art, time spent at the bug museum, the effects of PTSD on family life, the experiences of a transgender person, and violence against/self-defense of women.

The world premiere of the completed, student-made documentaries is Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7pm in the main theater of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Take a look at the trailer below.


Youth Documentary Academy Trailer from Tom Shepard on Vimeo.

Oct 17, 2014

Art Therapy: Alleviating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


EDITOR'S NOTE: The FAC's Bemis School of Art and AspenPointe have collaborated on the class Military Artistic Healing for Active Duty and Veterans and now have added the new class, Military Artistic Healing/Parent and Child. Clearly, the issue of PTSD is an important one to us and our community. In that spirit, we offer this article, written for us by a reporter for VA Home Loan Centers.

Having served at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Bull Run and Shiloh, General William Tecumseh Sherman was arguably more familiar with the horrors of war than any other American who has lived before or since his military service came to a close. In reflecting on his Civil War service, Sherman famously and with elegant simplicity stated “war is hell.” A sentiment echoed by countless individuals who have been subjected to military combat.  Although the vast majority of Americans cannot and will not ever have the first hand experience to understand the physiological and psychological ramifications of battle, looking at the current rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan draws a vivid picture of just how distressing wartime is.

According to Face the Facts USA, one out of every five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with PTSD.  That number amounts to roughly 300,000 military members.  Nearly one American solider commits suicide per day, veterans who only make up nine percent of the entire population account for 20 percent of all suicides in the United States.  The number of veterans with undiagnosed PTSD is potentially inordinately high. Walter Reed Army Institute researcher Gary Wynn projects the number of those suffering from PTSD to be closer to 60 percent than 20 percent. 

The Washington Times survey of military spouses supported this claim, with polled spouses estimating the number of untreated PTSD sufferers also being near 60 percent.   
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs after an individual undergoes intense trauma. The disorder brings about situational avoidance, severe anxiety, feelings described as being “frozen in time,” repeatedly reliving the experience and a sense of hopelessness.  A correlation between the disorder and depression, alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment and suicide has been well documented. 

 Healthcare costs associated with treating veterans with PTSD have exceeded $2 billion. On average, the cost of treatment per veteran is $8,300 annually. According to the Defense Department, treatment only works for about half of those receiving, far short of the department’s goal of an 80 - 90 percent rate.  Not to mention the estimated 40 percent of undiagnosed veterans who are not involved in any capacity of treatment. It is worth asking, how does the rate of PTSD influence veteran rates of unemployment and homelessness? Numerous issues are stifling the transition from active duty to civilian for many.

Art therapy may be the key to successfully overcoming PTSD.  Studies have previously been conducted on the benefits of Art Therapy, however very little research has been done concerning its usage in treating American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Art therapy has been shown to help guide clarity in thought by taking an individual’s mind off of the event, aid in expressing feelings, promote communication and dialogue between patient and mental health professional, enhance social skills and relieve stress.  The Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association highlights a study conducted at a children’s psych center in the Bronx which demonstrated a reduction of PTSD symptoms in teenagers through arts and crafts based activities. Furthermore, Rebekah Chilcote described the benefits of art therapy on children in the same journal, when discussing how victims of the 2004 Sri Lankan tsunami positively reacted to this form of care.

Recent research conducted by Cheryl Miller of Concordia University’s department of Creative Arts and Therapies allowed a window into the rewards of therapeutic art on combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Canadian combat veterans between 28 and 56 suffering from depression, insomnia, anxiety and suicidal ideation were followed over a period of time in which they attended art therapy sessions twice a week. Using charcoal, markers, collage materials, paint and clay, the group reported an evoking of positive feelings, increased empathy, externalized emotions and an overall reduction of symptoms.  Miller has gone on record saying “Art therapy is considered a mind-body intervention that can influence physiological and psychological symptoms. The experience of expressing oneself creatively can reawaken positive emotions and address symptoms of emotional numbing in individuals with PTSD.”

Last year, a VA Medical Center in Kansas City began offering art classes; veterans who took advantage of the classes similarly reported positive outcomes, with 20 exhibiting their art at the VA Center.

While the full scope of how many veterans are currently suffering from PTSD and how effective art therapy can be as a widespread cure for the disorder is unknown, enough information exists to dictate the VA aggressively pursue this as a more accessible treatment option. The status quo is not working, and all viable options need to be explored.
-Noah Perkins,


A Knight at the FAC Remembered

Photographer Jeff Kearney captured the legendary party that was the FAC 2014 Gala - A Knight at the FAC: Sept. 13, 2014.











































Jul 23, 2014

Youth Reps Recital

Here are some pictures from our recent Youth Rep recital, where our talented Youth Rep actors performed scenes they'd rehearsed, gave presentations they'd designed, read plays they wrote and tap danced to routines they'd created! 
And that's not all these teens have in store for us! Don't miss the Youth Rep performance of Applause, opening July 31 and running through August 3. Get tickets here.


(Casey Fetters & Abby Roubal)
(Isiah Foster  & Cassandra Sturgeon)

(Moriah Yeh & Michelle Cage)


(Madison Falkenstine & Michelle Griffin)


(Isiah Foster & Cassandra Sturgeon)