Dec 19, 2011

Animals, Animals, Animals!

Siameses Bípedos y Cuadrúpedos (Biped and Quadruped Siamese cats),
xylography, Jessica Freyre-Cuebas

A 15-piece exhibit in the Manley Gallery called “Fantastic Menagerie” by Puerto Rican artist Jessica Freyre-Cuebas draws inspiration from works as varied as Socrates to Carl Jung, Jorge Luis Borges to Victor Hugo to create a world where animals are personified to exhibit human emotions. “Each [animal] disguises expressions of the human temperament; Emotions and frames of mind that are natural parts of the drama or tragicomedy of man/woman’s social coexistence,” said Freye-Cuebas.

Jessica Freyre-Cuebas includes giraffes, cats, pelicans, pigs and other creatures showing excitement, fear, and anger in her black and white wood-cuts and linographs on display now.

The individuality of each animal in "Fantastic Menagerie" is just as unique as the characters in the FAC Theatre's production of A Year with Frog & Toad. Featuring over 8 various animals, each character in A Year with Frog & Toad has a distinct personality trait that is highlighted and brough to life by the actors. Take Snail for example, played by Jesse Havea, who is determined and on a time-sensitive mission, yet he can only move so fast (he is a snail, after all). Then there are the mischievious Squirrels, played by Eryn Carman and Lacey Cannell, who take great joy in making a mess with leaves.

Come over to the FAC to check out Freyre-Cuebas' animals! What do you they seem to be communicating to you?

Dec 14, 2011

Free Family Adventure Day at the Citadel Mall this Sat, Dec 17!

Holiday Family Adventure Day
Sat. Dec 17, 2011 | 12 noon – 2 p.m.
Imagination Space, 2nd floor of Citadel Mall
Free and open to the public

With the official start of winter less than a week away, we are excited to team up again with Imagination Celebration and offer a warm place to spend the afternoon exploring your creativity with winter holiday inspired activities—all for free! Join us in some crafty projects that include constructing a holiday card with a winter landscape and making colorful beads from paper. Our BemisSchool of Art instructors Nancy Fraser-Coco and Sara Rashkin will spend the day leading various art projects, and will be able to provide hands-on help and answer any questions. The Imagination Celebration staff has also planned some special holiday themed activities that are sure to add more fun to the day’s festivities. Imagination Celebration and the FAC are committed to creating artistic and inspiring experiences that strengthen and unite our community, so we hope to see you and your family and friends this weekend!

This Saturday’s Family Adventure Day will take place in the Imagination Space located on the second floor of the Citadel Mall in the Burlington Coat Factory wing from 12 noon to 2 pm.

Dec 5, 2011

Holiday Wine Recommendations from Coaltrain's Jim Little

Jim Little is one of those guys who has lived a charmed life. As co-owner of Coaltrain Wine and Spirits he has traveled to 60 countries, tasting wine in some of the world’s most storied wineries in France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and all over America. Jim works closely with the FAC to plan the Wine Festival each year, so we asked him for his holiday wine recommendations. Here's Jim's on the best wine picks for the season:
On the heels of last year’s Wine Festival, where we poured 130 different Spanish wines at the Grand Tasting, Spanish wines are still one of the hottest things we sell. They’re reasonably priced; they’re beautiful. They combine the Old World with the New World. They’re wonderful.  
With the holidays coming up, we also love sparkling wines and true champagnes. The true growers champagnes, the ones where you don’t see the Veuve Clicquot name on it, the Mumms name on it. What we love is the true grower champagnes, where they’re raising the fruit, making the wines themselves and the price of the champagnes is about $20-$25 less per bottle than the very expensive Veuve Clicquot, because they’re not spending all their money on advertising dollars and propaganda and promotion. They’re spending their money on putting a great product into a bottle, so that’s a wonderful way to go as well. Around the holidays, how can you go wrong with great sparkling wines.
Save the date for Wine Fest 2012: March 9-10. And, if you like wine events, coming up this Thursday is Coaltrain's annual Christmas Sale Tasting.

This eagerly awaited, annual fete will take place at The Warehouse Restaurant on Thursday, December 8th from 6-8:30pm. The tariff per taster is $35, paid in advance. Designated drivers may attend for $15. There will be scores of wine from all over the world: red, white, sparkling, dessert; and a unique selection of craft beers. The Warehouse will provide hors d’oeuvres to enhance the wine and beer, and the Alan Joseph Trio will entertain us throughout the evening. Don’t miss this fabulous event! Please stop by the store to purchase your tickets or buy them over the phone at 475-9700.

Dec 4, 2011

Live Tweets from A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD talkback

Left to right: Eryn Carman, Jesse Havea, Lacey Connell,
Jason Lythgoe, Drew Frady, and Director Scott RC Levy 
Hi! If you missed the talkback with director Scott RC Levy and the cast, you can catch up here. The cast is: Jason Lythgoe (Frog), Drew Frady (Toad), and the talented threesome of Eryn Carman, Lacey Connell, and Jesse Havea (who play everyone else).

FineArtsCenter4:32pm via HootSuite
#AYearWithFrogAndToad was great! Congrats to the cast and crew on a fabulous opening weekend! #Colorado #theatre
FineArtsCenter4:23pm via HootSuite
Audience comment:#AYearWithFrogAndToadjazz era costuming is great because it leaves so much (of the animal characters) to the imagination!
FineArtsCenter4:18pm via HootSuite
Q. How come the actors aren't dressed as animals? A.@SRCLevy found human friends w rakes and songs more plausible.#AYearWithFrogAndToad
FineArtsCenter4:16pm via HootSuite
Q. Is it easier w a small cast? A. Small cast means ”you can't hide!” Everyone counts.#AYearWithFrogAndToad
FineArtsCenter4:12pm via HootSuite
Drew Frady (Toad) says that#AYearWithFrogAndToad rehearsals really changed for actors when the floor got painted.#setdesign
FineArtsCenter4:10pm via HootSuite
Q. What do you do w set when#AYearWithFrogAndToad is over? A. @SRCLevy: We try to recycle it into other shows
FineArtsCenter4:07pm via HootSuite
About 20 of Arnold Lobel's individual stories represented in #AYearWithFrogAndToad!
FineArtsCenter4:05pm via HootSuite
Q. How did you get into musical there? A. Cast fell in love w performance as young people, took lessons/classes #AYearWithFrogAndToad
FineArtsCenter4:03pm via HootSuite
Q. How was it having the band right on stage? A. #ErynCarman Great! You can always hear them! #AYearWithFrogAndToad
FineArtsCenter4:02pm via HootSuite
Q. How do you deal w all the costume changes? A. Practice! & almost double number of crew members to cast.#AYearWithFrogAndToad
FineArtsCenter4:00pm via HootSuite
Q. Did you study frogs and toads for#AYearWithFrogAndToad ? A. book floating around backstage re: differences between frogs & toads.
FineArtsCenter3:58pm via HootSuite
Q. Are all the actors local? A. Most are regional, but @TokenTong (Jesse Havea) is from #NYC.
FineArtsCenter3:57pm via HootSuite
Kid Q. Is #AYearWithFrogAndToad real? @SRCLevy answers yes, it's a real musical. And the cookies are real too!

Dec 2, 2011

A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD: Opening Night!

Jesse Havea as Snail. Costume and Scenic Design by Lex Liang. Photo by Nathan Willers

Well it's true folks... OPENING NIGHT is here! 

At last nights preview,  while SNAIL (me)  was unhurriedly running off stage after finally delivering the important letter that FROG wrote to TOAD a little boy in the audience yelled, "You can do it! Go faster Snail! Come on!" - I couldn't stop laughing! 

I remember seeing my first show, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA National Tour in the 5th grade at ASU's Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, Arizona. The show changed my life. I remember it like it was yesterday... when the Phantom (Rick Hilsabeck) started singing "Music of the Night" - I knew that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell incredible stories through performing. 

To this day... every time I open a show I think of little 5th grade me. The excitement I had before seeing my first show and how it affected me in a huge way. TONIGHT! I will do the same, but it means a lot more… for a lot of children this will be their first theatrical experience. There will probably be a little me sitting in the audience and he'll most likely get the same feeling that I got when I saw my first show. I look forward to giving back and I can't wait to share the magic of theatre with the audiences of Colorado Springs! 

See you at the theatre! 

-Jesse Havea (the Snail with the mail)

Nov 28, 2011

Frog & Toad Rehearsal Video Montage

Jesse Havea (center) plays Snail and a host of other characters in A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD based on the books by Arnold Lobel.

Originally from Arizona, Jesse is a recent graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy's Musical Theatre Program in NYC. While attending college, he has served as Company Manager for the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.

We asked Jesse which of the Frog & Toad characters that he plays he likes best. His response:

I love all the characters I play because I get to make them all so interesting in there own little way, but if I had to choose one I would have to say SNAIL because of his journey... He's shy and timid in the beginning and by the second act he gets a lot more confident holds nothing back when he sings, "I'M COMING OUT OF MY SHELL" 

Here's more from Jesse about rehearsing A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD:
What an incredible adventure it's been--learning all the music, dances, and coming up with fun ways to tell the characters apart from each other. I'm in the ensemble which means I get to play a handful of different characters. I'm playing Man Bird, Snail, Lizard, Mole, Father Frog, and the Large and Terrible Frog. 
Up until this weekend we've been rehearsing in a separate studio while they've been building the incredible sets and costumes designed by Lex Liang. Hope you like my video!
Are you excited to see A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD? Who's your favorite character?

Battle Portraits Preview at the FAC

FAC Museum staff talk with the artist before hanging her work in the Glass Corridor
Left to right: Aaron Jakos, Laura BenAmots, Joy Armstrong

Battle Portraits: Wounded Lions, Wounded Lambs
Preview in the FAC's Glass Corridor
On View at the FAC Dec. 6, 2011- Jan. 8, 2012

A series of 6-10ft. paintings created in response to the stories of soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuiry (TBI). The accompanying large full-color art book includes all lead-up drawings and paintings,  the 12 mural sized paintings, and contributed personal interview and essays by leading Art Historians, curators and  social anthropologists. 10% of all book proceeds are pledged to Art Therapy programs for the returning troops.

New York born painter, Laura BenAmots, spent her formative years in Israel when her family sailed from the NY harbor to Haifa in the last cross Atlantic trip of the Greek ocean liner, the Queen Anna Maria. Ms. BenAmots now resides in Colorado with her two sons where she paints and serves as Assistant Professor of Art & Gallery Director at PPCC (Pikes Peak Community College). She is committed to Art and the community.

The birth of Battle Portraits
In 2007 BenAmots felt compelled to respond to the high suicide rates among returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2009 the vision for the Battle Portrait project was evolving as she worked to build a body of paintings and drawings that gave voice to the struggles of young men and women re-entering civilian life. In 2010 she began meeting with soldiers and hearing their stories. BATTLE PORTRAITS Wounded Lions Wounded Lambs was fully realized in 2011 as a compelling and dramatic series of paintings and drawings.
Lost Lion, oil on canvas, 48"x72"

The publication of a book about the project will be released on 1/20/2012 by The Art Book Publishing Project at the BAC (Business of Art Center, Manitou Springs CO). 10% of book proceeds are to be donated to Art Therapy for returning military and veterans in treatment for PTSD and/or TBIs

Exhibit Reception and  Book Signing Friday Jan. 20 followed by 5 weeks of discussions, gallery talks, community dialogues

Last week of Katja Loher's Miniverse

Why Did the Bees Leave?, Videostill, Katja Loher 2009

It’s the last week of Katja Loher’s video-art installation “Miniverse” at the FAC, so hurry in and see it before it’s gone! Walk up to the second-story galleries and immerse yourself in watching the main weather balloon video of “Why did the Bees Leave?” Loher’s videos are also projected within smaller vessels of “videoplanets, videosculptures and bubbles” in the next gallery to show the diversity of the artist’s ability. Loher’s alters our viewpoints through these different mediums – come in and become transported to your very own miniverse.

This is the last installation of the five-month, city-wide art collaboration, Cross|Pollination. Cross|Pollination celebrates and explores the diverse population of animal and insect pollinators.  

Nov 23, 2011

Sandzén in Colorado Holiday Membership Package

For the art lovers on your shopping list, give a gift of belonging!

FAC members get scads of benefits including free access to all FAC exhibitions and discounts on Bemis School of Art classes and theatre tickets.

Fine Arts Center Holiday Gift Membership SpecialBuy a new $55 Dual Gift Membership or a $60 Family Gift Membership, and we’ll include a copy of Sandzén in Colorado, a beautiful full-color catalogue of our current exhibition! Offer good through December 24, 2011 while supplies last.

Only Available through the FAC Box Office.
Call 719.634.5583 or stop by in person.

Nov 22, 2011

[Updated with winners] What are you thankful for? Win FAC tickets & more!

Frog and Toad Are Friends © 1970 Arnold Lobel
Update: We are pleased to announce our two winners:
Pat Anderson wins a $50 gift certificate to Bemis School of Art
Debby Van Orden wins a Family 4-pack of tickets to A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD!

Happy Thanksgiving!
In the words of Toad's song from A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD, We're grateful for all the good friends and great conversations we've had this year:
I love a lively dialogue
With my good friend Frog
He knows just he thing to say
That will brighten up my day
Oh Frog has been a lovely friend to me
And we want to express our gratitude to all our friends by offering up fun prizes for two different winners:
So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comments below to enter yourself  in our contest. Official Rules are posted below.


Official Rules
  • You must be at least 16 to enter
  • No purchase necessary
  • You can post your comments either via Facebook on this blog, or in the blog comments themselves. However, if you don't leave us some sort of contact information in the blog comments, we may not be able to award you your prize.
  • Blog sweepstakes runs 11/23/11-11/30/11 12:30 p.m. 
  • Contest sponsored by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W Dale St Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
  • Number of prizes, the accurate description of each prize, the retail value of each prize and the odds of winning each type of prize. 
  • Prizes will be awarded to two different winners selected by the Fine Arts Center
  • Winners will be announced at 2:00 p.m. MST 11/30/11 via Facebook and Twitter.
  • By participating in this sweepstakes, participants agree to let the Fine Arts Center use their comments in marketing and promotions for the Fine Arts Center.

Nov 4, 2011

A Year With Frog & Toad Events

Frog & Toad Holiday High Tea
Dec. 18 | 12 - 2 p.m.

This special FAC fundraiser pairs food and fun with A YEAR WITH FROG & TOAD. Enjoy a classic afternoon tea in the sublimely beautiful Deco Lounge with scones, clotted cream...the works. The sandwich menu includes smoked salmon and cucumber dill, classic cucumber watercress, smoked turkey and avacado, plus pots of tea with decaf options and hot cocoa. Cash bar available for mimosas or Bloody Marys. Reservations required, good friends. The Tea includes live entertainment, a chance to hobnob with actors, and admission to the galleries.

Admission: $35 for adults | $15 for each child - or buy a package - $95 for tea and a show for an adult with one child. Theatre show tickets are available at the Box Office

Free Family Adventure Day: A Year With Frog & Toad
Dec. 10 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Bemis School of Art
Spend a day with Frog & Toad enjoying story time, poetry writing, guided tours of the set with FAC actors, plus hands-on art activities to make a day you’ll never forget. All ages welcome! Don't miss the free, docent-led tour of the FAC galleries at 12:30 p.m.
Call for more information: 719.475.2444

Bemis School of Art
818 Pelham Place

Nov 2, 2011

Permanent Collection Highlight: Satirical works by José Guadalupe Posada

"La Calavera Catrina (The Skull of the Fashionable Lady)", José Guadalupe Posada, engraving
Introduced to satirical art through his apprenticeship with Trinidad Pedrozo, José Guadalupe Posada (February 2, 1852 - January 20, 1913) gained exposure and experience with lithography in the 1870s. Due to the radical nature of Pedrozo’s work, Posada was forced to flee to the city of León, but they set up another print shop there. Both Posada and Pedrozo gained local acclaim for their lithographic works, but Posada eventually left to work on his calaveras, or skulls.

"Calavera de Madero (Skull of Madera)",
Posada, engraving
Posada’s works were only recognized after his death as he was constantly in trouble with various authorities. In 1920, Jean Charlot recognized the high craftsmanship and significance of Posada’s calaveras and brought them into prominence. Many of Posada’s calaveras are satirical, criticizing the deeply engrained social inequality of Mexican society during his lifetime. In using calaveras as a metaphor for the emotional strain of inequality, Posada can be classified as an early Expressionist.

La Calavera Catrina is widely used in Mexican Day of the Dead imagery, especially after Charlot took an interest in Posada’s work. This calavera depicts a woman with a large fancy hat, but is meant to be symbolic of the fact that any amount of wealth does not stave away death. This commentary on economic inequality reflects Posada’s tumultuous history with Mexican authorities. Calavera de Madero also satirizes the upper class, focusing on the specific historical figure of Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913). Madero was an upper-class lawyer who served a brief stint as President of Mexico for two years after the fall of Porfirio Diaz. He was unable to address the problems raised by the Mexican Revolution and was assassinated at age 39.

Calavera de Madero and La Calavera Catrina are both typical examples of Posada’s detailed lithographic style and satirical nature. They’re on view now on the first floor.

Nov 1, 2011

Permanent Collection Highlight: Jerry Vigil's Day of the Dead Muertos Sculptures

"El Pachuco" and "Frida" detail from the FAC Permanent Collection,
 acrylic paint on paper mache over foam/wood and chicken wire/wood armature
Self-taught Chicano artist Jerry Vigil synthesizes contemporary and traditional artistic styles in both his santos (saint) and muertos (skeleton) art. His subject matter ranges from Jerry Garcia to Catrina (the “Lady of the Dead”), commissioned muertos figures to Rasta man. Vigil echoes the festivity of Dia de los Muertos through his own muertos figures which are dressed in contemporary fashion and generally reflect current culture. The humor and strange relatability of a skeleton looking and ‘acting’ like the living draws almost any audience member in, thus opening cultural doors between artist and viewer.

Vigil recently donated the two works pictured above to the FAC's permanent collection.

Pachuco and Frida are also considered iconic figures of Mexican and Mexican American culture. Pachucos are Mexican-American youth who developed their own subculture in the 1930s and 1940s. They are known to dress in distinctive clothes (such as zoot suits) and are associated with neighborhood gangs. Vigil was particularly inspired by the lead character of the pachuco famously played by Edward James Olmos in the stage and film versions of the landmark Latino musical drama Zoot Suit directed by Luis Valdez. The musical drama is a fictionalized account of the Sleepy Lagoon case, in which a group of young Hispanic men are falsely convicted of murder following what became known as the 1942 Los Angeles zoot suit riots. "Frida" is inspired by the leading Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, best known for her introspective self-portraits and her relationship with muralist Diego Rivera.

For these life-size sculptures, Vigil was working on recreating the paper mache technique used by the famous Linares family of artists, known for their life-size calaveras. Since Vigil was not able to find information on the process he worked on the pieces on his own, experimenting with various materials and techniques.

"Frida" was a work he altered from an original kite flying calavera made from paper mache over chicken wire, newsprint and PVC pipe and wood for the structure. For "El Pachuco", Vigil found a more effective technique, using insulation foam cut and carved into shapes and then covered with postal brown paper. He painted it blue, his signature calavera color, which he uses to differentiate his artwork from the traditional style.

In 2007, Vigil’s “Death and Dying: Cultural, Spiritual and Professional Perspectives” exhibition won the Diversity/Excellence Grant award for its exploration of death across many different contexts -- especially in contrasting traditional Dia de los Muertos against the conventional somberness of Western views. Vigil has shown on local, national and international levels, gaining prestige due to his alternative approach to traditional Mexican art forms.

Oct 31, 2011

Free Family Adventure Day: Harvest Fest!

Make your own work of art with leaves stenciling at Bemis!
FALL into art!
Sat. Nov. 12, 2011 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Free admission
Bemis School of Art
818 Pelham Place

Kids of all ages love fall. From sipping hot apple cider to playing in piles of leaves, there are countless ways to enjoy the change of seasons. But what about art? Bring the kids in your life to Bemis School of Art and join the FAC and for a day of fall fun including a photobooth, face painting, plus art and baked goods for purchase.

Create your own autumnal works of art during this day of discovery; all ages welcome. Art activities are guided by Bemis Instructors and include:
  • Painting Watercolor Landscapes 
  • Stenciling Pastel Leaves (pictured above)
  • Hand-building Clay Trees 
Plus, don't miss the free, docent-led tour of the FAC galleries at 12:30 p.m.
Hope to see you at Bemis School of Art on Nov. 12!