Apr 30, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Mitch Epstein

Mitch Epstein, Warehouse, 2000. C-print. Image courtesy of the Progressive Corporation.
 "Work hard=Do well. This project asks, when and how did that equation fail-for him, but also for a whole country of American Dreamers?"
-Mitch Epstein

Family Business is a film and photographic project about Mitch Epstein's father and the demise of the family furniture store. Two of Epstein's photographs are currently on view in A Family Affair, an outstanding selection of works from the Progressive Corporation's contemporary art collection that encompasses a variety of media, all embracing the theme of family.

"I was 48 and living in New York when my mother called me about the fire. On a windy August night in 1999, two 12 year old boys had broken into a boarded up apartment building owned by my father in Holyoke Massachusetts and, for the hell of it, set it ablaze. The fire had spread, engulfing a 19th century Catholic church, then a city block.

The 15 million dollar lawsuit the church brought against him threatened to unravel my father's life. He had insufficient liability insurance. If he lost, my parents would be, in effect, after 50 years of a comfortable suburban life together, out on the street.

I had left Holyoke at 18 and gone home in the intervening years only for holiday dinners. Faced with the family crisis, I went back to help, but there was little I could do. I became possessed, however, by one simple question: how had my father, once owner of the largest furniture and appliance store in western New England and former Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year in 1974, ended up a character out of an Arthur Miller tragedy?

Mitch Epstein, My Dad And My Daughter, Lucia, 2002. C print. Image courtesy of the Progressive Corporation.

The fire prompted me to make a series of large format photographs and a video installation about my father's life to better understand the path he had traveled. Crucial to his story is that of Holyoke itself. The commercial center died in the 70s, its customers gone to the new supermall. Holyoke became a crack-riddled, arson-wrought town. A recent wave of immigrants turned the formerly "white" downtown Hispanic. The culture clash resonates in the relationship between my Jewish American father and his Puerto Rican tenants and employees.

My father and his generation of men were and still are driven to fulfill an American Dream that had its epiphany in the fifties: Work hard=Do well. This project asks, when and how did that equation fail-for him, but also for a whole country of American Dreamers?"
—Mitch Epstein, from Family Business

A Family Affair
Selections from the Progressive Art Collection 
Closing May 19, 2013 | FAC galleries are open Tuesday-Sunday, 10a-5p

Apr 29, 2013

The Debutante Ball Present Generous Check to the FAC

Ann Naughton and Jennifer Oseth of the Debutante Ball present the FAC's Sam Gappmayer with a generous check.

We're excited and grateful to share that the Fine Arts Center recently received a check for $26,000 from the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball Committee!!! This generous donation will be used to purchase new works of art for our Permanent Collection.

The Debutante Ball Committee first began contributing annually to the FAC's Permanent Collection acquisition fund in 1967, and since then,  have donated over half a million dollars! Their generosity has resulted in the purchase of many iconic FAC works, including those below.

John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer, or A Lady in White, 1889-1890. Oil on canvas
Funds acquired through public subscription and Debutante Ball Purchase Fund, FA 1969.3

John Sloan, Eagles of Tesuque, 1921. Oil on canvas
Mrs. A. E. Carlton Purchase Fund and Debutante Ball Purchase Fund, FA 1968.5

Artist unknown, Bulto/Our Lady, Ca. 1880-1910, Wood, gesso, oil-based paint
Debutante Ball Committee Purchase in memory of Mrs. Charles Leaming Tutt, TM 1984.1

Joe Baker, Snow Bandit Waiting for Spring, 1983. Oil on canvas
Debutante Ball Committee Purchase Fund, FA 1983.11

Marisol (Escobar), John Wayne, 1963. Wood and mixed media
Julianne Kemper Purchase Fund and Debutante Ball Purchase Fund, FA 1978.5

Apr 26, 2013

2013 BEST OF The Springs Awards

The Gazette's 2013 BEST OF THE SPRINGS results are in, and we are thrilled to have won so many awards! Thank you to our fans and community for your support— we look forward to continuing to bring you world class exhibitions and theatrical performances the rest of this year, into 2014 and beyond!

Voter's Choice for Best Gallery

While the Fine Arts Center isn’t technically a gallery, you’d be impressed by the avalanche of votes for the 76-year-old organization, which began as a museum and later encompassed the Bemis School of Art, the SaGaJi Theatre, a cafe and shop. Voters mentioned “Floyd D. Tunson: Son of Pop”
as a recent example of the center’s ambitions and vision. “I love to visit,” wrote one, “no matter the exhibition, because I enjoy the building itself.”

Voter's Choice Bronze for Theatre Company

Editor's Choice for Best View Of A Life's Work
Voter's Choice Silver for Museum Exhibit
"Although a prolific artist who’s well regarded in the region, Tunson rarely shows in the Springs. This 40-year retrospective by the FAC was something of a gift for fans and the uninitiated alike. The sprawling exhibit of paintings, drawings and sculptures offered a welcome window into his mania for craftsmanship, his challenging point of view and the picture his work creates of the evolving place of African Americans in a predominantly white world. Frankly, I was down-to-the-ground shaken by some of his imagery."

Voter's Choice for Best Musical
"A misfit teen with a hankering to dance. A popular dance TV show. And a city-splitting racial divide. Director Scott RC Levy's 2012 production of the Tony-winning musical was well sung, beautifully staged and more fun than outta be legal!!"

GYPSY won Silver the Voter's Choice for Musical

Voter's Choice for Best Play
"Based on the 1983 film of the same name, this delightful retelling expanded on the lives of beloved characters and captured the wonder and glee of Christmas for a little boy in the ‘40s."

And special congratulations to Best Actress Birgitta De Pree who starred in our Colorado Premiere of Other Desert Cities; and to Amy Brooks, winner of Silver for Actress who starred in our Colorado Premiere of In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.

Apr 24, 2013

Lunch Beat at the FAC

Colorado Springs, are you ready for the next LUNCH BEAT?! 

The Fine Arts Center is ecstatic to host LUNCH BEAT in our Music Room, a lovely art-deco space that's perfect for shaking a tail feather. There will be a DJ spinning tunes. There will be a tasty bag lunch ready go home with you. And of course, plenty of water-- all provided courtesy of The Pinery.

Thursday, May 16, 12 noon to 1p | $5 advance registration | $7 at the door 

LUNCH BEAT was founded by Molly Ränge in June 2010, and the first event was arranged in the Fabel garage under Hötorget in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. 14 people attended the event. Now it's an international phenomenon, with a basic concept. 

The rules are simple:


1st rule: If it’s your first lunch at Lunch Beat, you have to dance.

2nd rule: If it’s your second, third or fourth time lunch at Lunch Beat, you have to dance.

3rd rule: If you are getting too tired to actually dance at Lunch Beat, please have your lunch at some other place.

4th rule: You don’t talk about your job at Lunch Beat.

5th rule: At Lunch Beat everyone present is your dance partner.

6th rule: Any Lunch Beat are to be no longer than 60 minutes long and set during ”lunch time”.

7th rule: Lunch Beat always serve their guest with a 1 Dj-set and 1 take away meal.

8th rule: Water is always served during a Lunch Beat for free.

9th rule: Lunch Beat is a preferably drug free environment.

10th rule: Lunch Beat can be set up anywhere by anyone as long as they are announced as public events, are nonprofit arrangements and are directed by this manifesto.

Apr 18, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Raphael Sassi

Raphael Sassi, Maya Kang, 2012. Ball point pen and watercolor on paper. Image source.

Our Bemis School of Art has quite the summer session in store, featuring a variety of new courses and talented instructors that includes a series of drawing courses taught by visiting artist Raphael Sassi.

Sassi's courses cover all the basic and fundamental concepts of drawing and image-making while addressing the nature of light and form, capturing textures, and achieving the best results through utilizing  a variety of drawing tools. 

Raphael Sassi, James, 2013. Ballpoint pen, watercolor gouache on toned paper.
Image source.

Sassi was born in Pennsylvania and raised on the Eastern shore of Maryland where he earned his BFA in drawing from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA with honors from the New York Academy of Art. Sassi has exhibited numerous times in New York and Maryland. After receiving a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship for Drawing, he began teaching Anatomical Drawing for undergraduates at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Since leaving New York, Sassi has been working with and tutoring adults and children across the country, most recently in Maryland at the Carla Massoni Gallery and The Maryland Institute of Art. He currently is residing in Colorado where he continues his artistic endeavors.

Raphael Sassi, The Transfer of Energy from One Object to Another,
ballpoint pen, gouache, and watercolor on toned paper. Image source.  
Below are the four drawing classes Sassi is teaching during the Bemis summer session:

A59 Fundamental Drawing
June 12 - July 17 | 6-9p | Register Online!

A 63 Life Drawing
June 13 - July 25 | 6-9p | Register Online!

A64 Ballpoint Pen Drawing
June 14 - July 19 | 1-4p | Register Online!

A65 Silverpoint 
Aug. 2 - Sept. 6 | 1-4p | Register Online!

Registration is currently open to FAC Members, and opens to the general pubic on May 13. Make sure to register before classes fill up!

Apr 16, 2013

Celebrate Mom at the FAC: let us count the ways

Local photographer Carol Dass (left) and FAC Assistant Curator Joy Armstrong at the exhibition opening of Mother.
"Mom's love is a lamp,
That stands behind you and shines brightly,
Illuminating all the world ahead"

Mother’s Day Sunday, May 12, and it's a big day at the Fine Arts Center. People like to shop at LUMA at the FAC or bring their mom in to walk the galleries. Café 36 is always sold out on Mother’s Day. This year, we have even more options to show Mom she is appreciated!

May 5 | Featuring chamber music of Great Britain | Buy Tickets!

A Musical Comedy: The Drowsy Chaperone
May 9 - June 1 | Opening Night is May 10, Buy Tickets!

Workshop at Bemis: Wine and Watercolors

Exhibition Opening: The Vogel Collection
May 11 | Showcasing amazing contemporary art

Mother’s Day Brunch at Café 36
May 12 | SOLD OUT! (updated) View the menu

Queen Mary by Carol S. Dass
Image courtesy of the artist
Stroll through the FAC art galleries
Exhibitions that explore the theme of families

The FAC museum store has a variety of unique and artistic, hand-crafted items that make wonderful gifts. Plus, FAC Members receive a 10% discount.

An FAC Membership is the gift that keeps on giving! FAC Members get unlimited free admission to the musem, invitations to exclusive events, plus discounts on theatre tickets, art classes, LUMA and more!

Artist Spotlight: Peter Drake

Peter Drake, McBroke, 2010, acrylic on canvas.
Image courtesy of the Progressive Corporation
 “I want to reverse the roles of viewer and subject and have the toys loom over us.”

Peter Drake is one of the artists featured in our current Families exhibition, A Family Affair, which includes an outstanding selection of contemporary works that all embrace the theme of family.

Currently on view is Drake's McBroke, a work that delivers a bizarre and mixed arrangement of foreground and background imagery, creating a field of playful content between the realms. The format of this painting follows a style from a previous series where the artist used antique lead figurines as a still-life point of departure. In that series, as in McBroke, Drake is interested in shifting scales and absurd juxtapositions—even upending the relationship between the protagonists in the work and the environments in which they are situated. Doing so adds layers of contradiction and interesting possibilities for metaphor. What was once serious becomes absurd, and innocence turns eerie and morbid.

McBroke presents an in-your-face triumvirate of two show horses and a clown in extreme close-up, back-dropped by a sickly idyllic landscape of opulence. Together, the horses and the clown start to look like an iconic coat-of-arms, the very calling card for palatial living. One gets the sense even, that this exact image might exist as a relief above the doors of the mansion in the center of the background. However, far from being some serious proclamation, this arrangement is comical and unsettling. The characters conjure thoughts of fanfare and whimsy, of play and childishness, therefore undermining the stoicism present in most coat-of-arms. With all this, what might Drake be attempting to communicate? Is there a critique of wealth? Does he mock the pageantry of the rich? What might the title of the painting suggest?

Regarding the use of these odd figurines, in an artist statement, Drake writes, “I want to reverse the roles of viewer and subject and have the toys loom over us.” 

Does this painting make you feel “loomed-over.” Do you get the sense that you are in a circus fun-house, being taunted by jarring characters delivering humorous, yet biting commentary?

A Family Affair
Selections from the Progressive Art Collection 
Closing May 19, 2013 | FAC galleries are open Tuesday-Sunday, 10a-5p

Apr 12, 2013

2013 S L O W Art Day at the FAC

For the second time, the FAC is participating in Slow Art Day, a worldwide celebration of art that encourages people to look at art - S L O W L Y - and thereby experience it in a new way.

This year's Slow Art Day is Saturday, April 27. We've selected a combination of works from our Permanent Collection and current special exhibition, A Family Affair, to view slowly. After viewing the 5 selected pieces of art, folks are welcomed to lunch at Cafe 36 for further discussion and reflection on their slow art-viewing experience.

The FAC's Blake Milteer (Museum Director), Joy Armstrong (Assistant Curator), and Nicole Anthony (New Media Manager) invite you to join them on Slow Art. It's simple to participate!

1) RSVP online to let us know you're coming. 
Share and invite friends to this event via Facebook.

2) Look at 5 pieces of art with us, slowly
We'll meet in the FAC lobby at 11a (admission is $10, free for FAC Members), and spend 5-10 minutes looking at each selected work of art. Feel free to enjoy and view other works of art currently on view.

3) Have lunch and discuss your experience. 
At 1p, we'll meet in Café 36 to talk more about the art and the experience of viewing it slowly.

Selected Works of Art

Venessa German, Power Figure To Save My Life, 2010,
mixed media. Image courtesy of The Progressive Corporation.

Arthur Dove, Fog Horns, 1929, oil on canvas.
Collection of the CS Fine Arts Center.

Dawn Wilde, Santorini, 1996, oil on canvas.
Collection of the CS Fine Arts Center. Gift of the artist.

Louis Cicotello, Spill, 1998, wood, laminate, lava rock, plastic.
Collection of the CS Fine Arts Center. Gift of Millie Yawn

Brock Enright, Stick, 2011, mirror, metal, florescent lighting.
Image courtesy of The Progressive Corporation.

Slow Art Day at the FAC
Saturday, April 27 | 11a, art viewing; 1p lunch discussion

Apr 10, 2013

Meet Our Rough Writers!

As part of our Silver Season of Theatre, we're supporting new theatre development by producing the first Rough Writers Play Festival!

This two-week long festival features readings of new scripts submitted by playwrights nationwide. Playwrights have the opportunity to hear their scripts read by actors in front of an audience, and also receive constructive feedback from the audience.

One of these talented playwrights will have their script fully produced as part of our 2013-2014 Theatre Season. Audiences will vote for which play they want to make its World Premere at the Fine Arts Center.

Rough Writers: a new play festival
April 18-28 | $5 a reading; $15 for a festival pass

Families Language Matching Game

families languages How do languages around the world say "family"? With Families as the theme for our spring multi-disciplinary, the similarities are amazing! Here's a matching game, so you can test your skills! Scroll down for the answers.

Word for family
A) Hungarian
1) 家 庭
B) French
2) rodzina
C) Swedish
3) la famille
D) Arabic
4) famiglia
E) Chinese
F) Italian
6) keluarga
G) Polish
7) familj
H) Haitian Creole
8) család
I) Esperanto
9) fjölskylda
J) Malay
10) familio
K) Iceland
11) fanmi

family 1
Pieter Hugo, The Hyena Men of Abuja, Nigeria, 2005, digital c-print.

carol dass
Carol S. Dass, The Helmet, 2009, archival ink jet print.

A) 8
B) 3
C) 7
D) no number
E) 1
F) 4
G) 2
H) 11
I) 10
J) 6
K) 9

families horiz

Mother: Photographs by Carol S. Dass
Feb. 23 - May 19

A Family Affair: Selections from the Progressive Art Collection
Feb. 23 - May 19

Apr 8, 2013

In The Hall of the Mountain King

Come meet local music teacher and author, Allison Flannery, and hear her read her newly released book, In the Hall of the Mountain King.  

Based on the music by Edvard Grieg of the same name from the Peer Gynt Suite, Allison has taken the original story from the play by Henrik Ibsen and brought it to life for children and families to enjoy.  

Live musicians will be performing and audience members will be invited to participate with Peer as he makes his way through the castle of the mountain king!  Puppet making will be available, as well as time to interact with the musicians.  You will be enchanted by the story, invited on an adventure, and enthralled with the watercolor illustrations by Vesper Stamper.  Books will be available for purchase and the author will be available for signing as well.  

In the Hall of the Mountain King
Book reading and author signing  
May 18, 1:30p | Music Room | Invite Friends!   

Apr 5, 2013

New Acquisition: Mary Chenoweth 'Untitled'

Mary Chenoweth, Untitled. Undated color lithograph.
Gift of Terence and Elizabeth Lilly. FA 2012.23

Currently on view is a color lithography by Mary Chenoweth, a recent acquisition to our Permanent Collection 

Mary Chenoweth was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and studied at both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pratt Institute in New York City before completing her B.F.A. at the University of Denver in 1950, where she studied with Vance Kirkland. She was awarded an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1953 and was then hired to teach in Colorado Springs at what would become the art department at Colorado College, where she taught until her retirement in 1983. 

Along with her once-professor Vance Kirkland, Chenoweth was instrumental in the development of Modern art in this region. In many of her works, Chenoweth adopted the visual language of abstract Cubism through mixed media and collage – a process she began after moving to Colorado Springs. On a 1954 visit to Mexico, Chenoweth became fascinated with the oversized street posters she encountered there. Chenoweth’s frequent use of collaged paper, and imagery derived from it, can also be attributed to her exposure to the folk arts of China, Malaysia, Morocco, and Australia. This overlay of Modernism with folk art imagery provided some of Chenoweth’s strongest work, and is very evident in her door panels that can be viewed when you enter the Bemis School of Art. 

Main entrance doors to the Bemis School of Art.
Chenoweth was a highly prolific artist who was adept in various media, from printmaking to sculpture to drawing and painting. She was an important figure in the history of the FAC and Colorado College, and has a lasting legacy in the city of Colorado Springs. 

FAC Galleries
Tuesday-Sunday, 10a-5p 

Apr 3, 2013

Filmmaker Teaching New Class At Bemis School of Art

This spring and summer, the Bemis School of Art welcomes award-winning documentary filmmaker Tom Shepard to teach a new seminar starting in May: Introduction to Documentary Film.

This six-week course covers the history and current trends in documentary and all stages of film making. Each week will feature a lecture and screening of a new documentary film with discussion focusing on specific techniques and approaches, narrative strategies, access, ethics and filmmaker/subject rapport. Space is limited, and registration is currently open to all adults. 

Shepard has produced and directed four award-winning feature documentaries (Scout’s Honor, Knocking, Whiz Kids, The Grove); all broadcasted nationally on PBS. 

Still from Scout's Honor
Scout's Honor won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 2001 USA Film Festival. His films have screened at hundreds of film festivals, theatres and universities around the world. Shepard has taught documentary at the University of Colorado, Stanford University, and Cornell University. He is a Stanford graduate and a Colorado Springs’ native.

Wednesdays, May 1- June 5  | 6-9p
$254; $239 FAC Members | Register Now!