Dec 29, 2008

Denver Post: Top 10 Art Shows of 2008

Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan has named the Fine Arts Center's exhibition Walt Kuhn: An Imaginary History of the West as one of 2008's 'Top 10 Art Shows' in Colorado. Curated by Blake Milteer, this 29-painting suite of images of the old west is a part of the FAC Permanent Collection and is on display until Jan. 4.

Ceramics designer looks back at 75 years

The ceramics designer Eva Zeisel looks back on a 75-year career. What keeps her work as fresh today (her latest line debuted in 2008) as in 1926? Her sense of play and beauty, and her drive for adventure. Listen for stories from a rich, colorful life from the inspiring website,

Rubald earns Denver Post 'Ovation Award'

The Denver Post awarded its 2008 Ovation Award for 'Best Year by an Actor' to Mark Rubald, who played Sargeant Toomey in the FAC Theatre Company's production of Biloxi Blues this season. Rubald also played Mr. Potter in the Arvada Center's A Wonderful Life, among other fine performances. FAC Scenic Designer Christopher L. Sheley was nominated for his work on last season's Sunday in the Park with George.
Up next for the FAC Theatre Company, The Full Monty, which opens Jan. 23.

Margot Lane named FAC 'Living Treasure'

At the Dec. 18 Annual Member Meeting, Sue Tyson, Chair of the FAC Advisory Council, announced that Margot Lane was the recipient of the 2008 Living Treasure award for her outstanding contribution to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Incidently, Sue Tyson was the 2007 recipient.

Dec 22, 2008

Denver Post gives the FAC a shout out

In Friday’s Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan wrote a full-page review with five photos about a new exhibit at the Kirkland Museum. In the lead – the opening paragraph – Kyle makes this comment about the Kirkland: “… the museum has joined the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center as one of the two key institutions researching, preserving and promoting the state's visual heritage.”

Gazette: Exhibit looks at faith, humanity

An exhibition for the FAC Permanent Collection – Sacred Spaces – was featured on the cover of Friday’s Go!, the Gazette’s weekly A&E section ... “Las Vegas, New Mexico,” Alex Harris (right). This marks the first time a work of art from the permanent collection has ever been on the cover of the Go! T.D. Mobley-Martinez writes, “At a time of year when religious imagery is as common as our drive to gift, gift, gift, Sacred Spaces looks at faith in a very different context. The exhibition … speaks to the delicate thread that connects us all: our humanity.”

Also in the Friday Gazette, Theresa Farney’s food column, Table Talk, features information about Café 36 and our incredible two-for-one entrée special for FAC Members available through April.

Westword: 'Designing Women' is interesting, thoughtful and beautiful

Michael Paglia reviewed, Designing Women, in his weekly Westword column on Dec. 17.

“A few weeks ago, I went to see the Walt Kuhn/Edie Winograde shows there ("Myth America," November 26) with the thought that I would also write a brief notice on the other exhibition, Designing Women: Art and the Modern Interior From Postwar Britain. But the minute I entered the gallery, I knew I'd have to scuttle my plans and devote a full-blown review to Women — not just because it's surprisingly large, but because the quality of what's included might make you think that you've been transported to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York or, maybe more to the point, the Victoria and Albert Memorial in London.

I can't say enough about how interesting, thoughtful, intelligently laid out and beautiful Designing Women is. I wasn't surprised to learn that curators from various museums in Britain as well as from the Cooper-Hewitt, the Wolfsonian and even the Museum of Modern Art have made their way to Colorado Springs to see it. Suffice it to say, it wouldn't kill you to exert a fraction of that effort to do the same.”

Congratulations to the curator Tariana Navas-Nieves, exhibit designer Laurel Swab and the curatorial team for another great exhibition and positive review.

Dec 15, 2008

Big Brothers, Big Sisters honors Nor'wood

FAC Board Chair Chris Jenkins accepted the Company of the Year award on behalf of Nor'wood Development at the first annual Big Brothers, Big Sisters Donor Reception and Awards Ceremony this past week.

Final Weekend for 'A Christmas Carol'

Don't miss Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol. The whole family will love this holiday musical, with final performances this Thursday - Sunday. TICKETS >>

Enjoy pre-theatre dining. "The new Café 36 menu at museum shines with fantastic dishes, flair … (it is) full of fresh, delicious food presented with the visual flair befitting an art museum." Call 477.4377 for reservations.

Public Free Day this Saturday

"It is required of every man, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death." -- Ghost of Christmas Future

Walk among your fellow art lovers at the FAC … for free ... or wait and walk the galleries after you die. It's your call.

P.S. FAC Members can walk through the galleries for free every day; it's a benefit of membership.

Dec 11, 2008

Photography connects us with the world

The photo director for National Geographic, David Griffin knows the power of photography to connect us to our world. In a talk filled with glorious images, he talks about how we all use photos to tell our stories from the inspiring website,

Nick Madson takes his stand-up to Denver

Nick Madson, who played Lumiere in the Fine Arts Center's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast last season, is performing his stand-up routine in Denver at Metropolis this Sunday. Tickets for "Nick Madson: One Fierce Box of Wine" are available for the 9 p.m. show by calling 325.6486. The Independent ran a feature on Nick in their Dec. 11 issue.

Dec 8, 2008

Dream City opening is a dream come true

The First Friday Art Walk crowd mingled without incident with the FAC exhibition opening patrons in downtown Colorado Springs this past Friday at the Dream City 2020: Through the Eyes of the Artist Past, Present and Future opening celebration at the FAC MODERN. An estimated 281 were in attendance. Here you see Warren Epstein from the Gazette posing with Bettina Swigger of COPPeR and the FAC's Sam Gappmayer next to a stylish sign.

Gazette previews 'A Christmas Carol'

The Gazette interviewed director Alan Osburn for a piece entitled, "Christmas Carol stars will take flight at arts center," because in this year's FAC Theatre Company production you will see actors flying, but the show isn't just about special effects "You know, it's not about shopping. It's not about malls," says Osburn of the tale, which Dickens called "a whimsical sort of masque intended to awaken loving and forbearing thoughts. Dickens felt that Christmas was a time of rebirth," he says, "a time to gather together and figure out we did wrong and do it over. I think that's why (audiences) keep coming back. I think it's the rebirth factor." Tickets are available for this weekend.

Gazette: A wide-angle view of arts

New Gazette arts writer, Tracy Mobley-Martinez, attended the opening of Dream City 2020: Through the Eyes of the Artist, Past, Present and Future, and asked attendees what role will arts play in Colorado Springs in 2020.

Artist Marica Hefti said, "I think a very large one, not just because I'm an optimist. But since I came to Colorado Springs in 1991, there was literally one commercial art gallery. Can you imagine that? But then they came, all kinds of galleries came and went. ... Once - I used to say ‘if,' but now I say ‘once' - once you have a whole country buying original arts, there will not be enough artists in the world to satisfy it all. And why not start in the Springs?"

Dec 1, 2008

Blake Milteer 'among the top art-world talents on the Front Range,' says Westword

Michael Paglia of Westword reviewed the Edie and Walt exhibitions last Wednesday, concluding "(Blake) Milteer's pairing of these two bodies of work is brilliant and reveals a young curator who is among the top art-world talents on the Front Range and one of only a handful in the region capable of putting on a great show — or, in this case, two of them.

Nov 26, 2008

Fine Arts Center turning 75 in 2011

In April of 2011, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will celebrate its 75th Anniversary as the heart of arts and culture in the Pikes Peak Region. As we take a look at our arts legacy, we have a question for you: If you were going to make a list of the top 75 most influential individuals or entities in FAC history, who would you want on that list? Alice Bemis Taylor seems like a pretty safe bet, but who else ... artists, administrators, supporters, educators, actors ... leave your suggestions as a comment on this blog post. Thanks.

Nov 24, 2008

Laura Gilpin Masterworks on display in Denver

An exhibition of photographs by legendary Colorado Springs photographer Laura Gilpin (1891-1979) opened in Denver at the Byers-Evans House Gallery, consisting of over 40 platinum and silver prints spanning Gilpin’s six decades as an artist in the American Southwest. Images from all periods of her career will be on display, including rare examples of her pictorial period and her exemplary documentation of the Navajo during the depression years and later. There are several Gilpin prints on display in the FAC Dickinson Gallery.

Pard Morrison debuts in Dallas gallery

Colorado Springs and FAC Permanent Collection artist Pard Morrison is featured with an exhibit in the Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas. New Work by Pard Morrison marks the artist’s first solo show with the gallery. Drawing from minimalism and geometric abstraction, Pard’s brightly colored aluminum box-like configurations function as both painting and sculpture. Two of Pard's works are also on display every day in the FAC Permanent Collection's Loo Gallery.

Nov 10, 2008

Indy: FAC announces free admission

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center CEO Sam Gappmayer, who officially started on Oct. 6, brings with him good news for FAC members: They may now visit all FAC galleries at no charge, whenever they feel inclined.

The "membership stimulus package," as the museum has playfully named it, is aimed at motivating non-members to join the FAC while rewarding members. Current non-member admission is $10 ($8.50 students, seniors and youth); the tactile gallery, sculpture garden and FAC Modern are free to the public.

Nov 6, 2008

FAC Arts Legacy: South Facade Murals

When architect John Gaw Meem began planning the Fine Arts Center in the early 1930s, he consciously included spaces for public art in both the interior and exterior of the building.

Boardman Robinson was commissioned to paint the five murals over the main entrance. Robinson was a nationally known illustrator, muralist and art teacher at the Broadmoor Art Academy, who became the first FAC art school director in 1936 and stayed until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in June, 1947.

Painted in classic “true fresco” technique, the panels represent sculpture, theatre, dance, music and painting – a tribute to the first institution west of the Mississippi to combine so many artistic pursuits under one roof.

Robinson’s murals complemented the new building.

“They are busy young people, apparently having a rather good time at their work,” according to a 1936 Architectural Forum article. “It is something of this spirit that characterizes the entire building, a spirit that is the very essence of the new architecture.”

Over the years the original frescoes became faded, so in 1986, in celebration of the Fine Arts Center’s 50th Anniversary, the murals were completely repainted by Eric Bransby, a former student of Robinson, and a giant in the world of murals in his own right.

“Bransby masterfully enhanced Robinson’s original forms with his own details,” says current FAC Curator Blake Milteer.

“An oft-quoted Robinson statement that 'we unwind as we are wound' came to mind, as I was reminded that I was 'wound' by Benton, Charlot and Albers, as well as by Robinson,” wrote Bransby. “In the absence of any color reference, the color palette was strictly my own, as was the need to completely re-draw the figures from life.”

During the recent renovation, great care was taken to protect and preserve these original artworks, which are an important part of the Fine Arts Center’s legacy.

Nov 5, 2008

The Importance of the Arts

Sam Gappmayer, the new FAC CEO, spelled out his top five reasons the arts are important at his welcome reception last month.
  • The arts function as a metaphorical town square where people can gather and discuss the issues relative to their time and place. Shared experiences in the arts pull us together as communities and provide a basis from which we can work together.
  • Our participation in the arts sensitizes us to the needs of others. They help us see those around us with a greater degree of empathy and compassion and make us more effective in addressing pressing societal needs.
  • Through the arts we are both challenged and reaffirmed in our core values. The result is an ongoing process that enlarges individuals and expands our capacity as communities.
  • The arts feed the soul. Dr. Martin Luther King once said that while roads and bridges make us a civilization, the arts make us civilized. They provide an element to life that defies description and, without which, we would be poorer.
  • Involvement in the arts encourages creative thinking and opens the door to new solutions and approaches.
So what do you think ... why are the arts important to you, especially in these challenging times?

Sam Gappmayer on Colorado Culture Cast

New FAC President and CEO Sam Gappmayer discussed his first impressions and future plans for the Fine Arts Center on Colorado Culture Cast Oct. 31 ... watch the interview here.

Oct 24, 2008

Gold Winner ... Reclamation of a Good View

The Independent's Best of 2008 issue recognized the 'Reclamation of a Good View' at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Cafe 36:

“When Café 36 first opened last year, I couldn’t help but cheer. An exceptional building and pristine views waited for the perfect food match. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Dull menu items and bland dishes left a bad taste in my mouth and eventually closed the café for a short stint. But thanks to new overseer Garden of the Gods Gourmet, the sky is a little bluer, trees a little greener and the food a whole lot more exciting. Rising to the level of art, lunch is now worth talking about – and definitely worth eating.”

Oct 23, 2008

The Independent: Best of 2008

The Indy named the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center the city's best Cultural Attraction or Museum for the third year in a row, writing:

With new CEO Sam Gappmayer in place, and superb curators like Tariana Navas-Nieves and Blake Milteer – not to mention the staggeringly gorgeous, year-old, $28 million expansion to the one and only Southwestern Art Deco building – the Fine Arts Center’s livin’ as large as a Dale Chihuly bowl filled with ice cream and sparklers. Not surprisingly, this most high-profile member of our scene has won the Cultural Attraction of Museum award in each of the three years we’re offered it. It’s embraced a more collaborative spirit in recent programming, even inviting local artists to create works in conjunction with the Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe exhibit. By the way, the FAC’s not only the place to be for First Thursday wine tastings and gala show openings, but also for outstanding theater productions put on by the award-winning, in-house FAC Theatre Company.

Oct 20, 2008

Denver Post reviews Walt Kuhn exhibit

“A new exhibition at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center makes a powerful case for a reconsideration of this modernist,” writes Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan in a review of Walt Kuhn: Imaginary History of the West, an exhibit on view at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center on Sunday. “His zeal for the subject matter is obvious in the unashamedly romanticized vision and swashbuckling energy he brought to these depictions. Compared with much of Kuhn's later output … these works are rendered with bright, fauvist-influenced colors and black highlights and loose, highly animated strokes. (D)on't miss this long-overdue opportunity to see these modern masterworks.

Oct 14, 2008

Biloxi Blues reviews from Gazette bloggers

The Gazette has posted reviews of Biloxi Blues from three individuals: Todd Wallinger, JaNae Stansbery and Leah Chandler-Mills. This weekend is the final weekend for Biloxi Blues. The FAC is offering discounts for military personnel. Call 634.5583.

Highlights include:

  • “The FAC Theatre Company started off its new season with more than a bang last Friday. It started it off with a full-blown rifle blast.”
  • “Mark Rubald is riveting as Sergeant Toomey”
  • Jeffrey S. Miller, as Arnold Epstein, the bookish intellectual … burns with a courageous yet quiet intensity that was compelling to watch.”
  • “ … an exuberant, hilarious performance by some of the area’s best talent … “
  • “ (a) humorous and engaging production … “
  • “ … a funny and insightful night of theatre … “
  • “Marco Robinson has grown into this role, and it’s hard to imagine a better Eugene. (Matthew Broderick, who played the role in the movie, has big-time competition here.)”
  • "Chris Sheley has given them a magic puzzle box of a set – don’t let the plain wall fool you, there are amazing things hidden here.”
  • "There’s one more play in this trilogy; Broadway Bound completes the cycle (can we hope for this next season?) Right now, give yourself a night out and don’t miss this warm, funny play.”

Biloxi Blues on FOX21

On Friday, Oct. 10, the FAC Theatre Company kicked off its season with the opening of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues. FOX21 Morning News reporter Meaghan Collier talked with director Alan Osburn about the military comedy, which runs Thursdays-Sundays until Oct. 26:

See the story on FOX21

Oct 12, 2008

Designing Women Opening Video

On Sept. 27, Colorado Culture Cast joined us for the opening of the Designing Women exhibition. Craig Richardson interviews curator Tariana Navas-Nieves and Art Collectors Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III:

Sep 21, 2008

Pikes Peak Arts Council awards

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center earned many an award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council on Sunday, Sept. 21. Here's quick recap of the FAC-related awards:

Visual Arts: “Marilyn Monroe: Through Our Artists’ Eyes” … Tariana Navas-Nieves is honored for the addition of local and regional art to the Marilyn Monroe exhibit.

Visual Arts Curator: Blake Milteer, Fine Arts Center … Blake wins for a year’s worth of curatorial work, including our Impressionist show and work at the MODERN

Best Artist: Matt Barton … Matt was one of three local/regional artists involved in the FAC exhibition, Altered Space, at the FAC MODERN. Matt brought camp site to life with videos, a camp fire and tent and a dream-like ending of the world.

Actress: Leah Chandler-Mills … Leah has appeared in many FAC productions, including Sunday in the Park and Fuddy Meers this year. (She was also named Best Local Actress by the Gazette this year.)

Technical Theater/Set Design: Christopher L. Sheley, “Sunday in the Park with George” … Chris and his crew recreated the George Seurat painting as well as built a magical, mechanical dress.

Director: Susan Dawn Carson, “Rabbit Hole” … Susan Dawn Carson, who directed ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the FAC and manages our Youth Repertory Theatre program, was honored for her work on ‘Rabbit Hole.’

Aug 11, 2008

FOX 21 visits Bemis School of Art

Last Thursday, Aug. 7, FOX21 Morning News reporter Meaghan Collier visited Bemis School of Art for a live broadcast. Watch her create a monoprint with Bemis instructor Anna Santisteven.

Be an Art Critic ... Roncoli

Claudio Roncoli, Aqua Dulce (Sweet Water), 2007
Acrylic on Vinyl Canvas

Tell us what you think about this new acquisition to the Fine Arts Center's permanent collection by Argentinean artist Claudio Roncoli. Post your comments below.

FAC home page

Aug 8, 2008

FOX 21 Morning News in the FAC galleries

FOX21 Morning News reporter Meaghan Collier visited the Fine Arts Center to view art pieces with curator Tarian Navas-Nieves for the July 22 segment of "Meaghan Live."

Bemis Blog Blast...

Young actors perform on stage.

Aug 4, 2008

Bemis Blog Blast...

Campers at La Foret complete sketches after learning about the history of a Ute Medicine Tree.

Aug 1, 2008

'Design Star' finalist interviewed at the FAC

Last week KOAA was at the FAC interviewing "Design Star" finalist and Colorado Springs native Matt Locke. (The Fine Arts Center is one of his favorite local places.) With only two finalists left, the HGTV reality show will name the next Design Star on its season finale this Sunday.
Watch the interview with Lisa Lyden.

Bemis Blog Blast...

A Bemis student models his finished mask creation.

Jul 16, 2008