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.