Dec 23, 2014

A special note about MARY POPPINS

The rave reviews are great. Heaven knows, actors and directors love to please the critics.
But sometimes, it's the comments from the community that touch us the most. Here's a lovely note from a chaperone at Mountain Song Community School whose kids had never before experienced live theatre.
Subject: So amazed, and grateful!
Hi, Scott,

I was blown away by Mary Poppins on Tuesday.  What an incredible, intricate show - full of surprises and delight!!

The fact that you held an entire audience of children and teenagers for nearly three hours is testament enough to the cast, the sets, the blocking, the costumes, the singing, the dancing, the comedic insertions and timing, and the sheer ENTERTAINMENT the show provided.

I had never seen the stage version of Mary Poppins, and I thought it WAY exceeded the film - or at least your version of it did. :)

I loved how the story weaved between the characters' journeys.  We were really rooting for this family to come out of the dumps, wake up to their own lives, and find each other; and yet it was bittersweet to see the charming Mary Poppins complete her task and take to the wind.

By the last song Anything Can Happen, my own heart was soaring and pondering the possibilities for my own life (OK, this is getting sentimental).

I applaud you for bringing this kind of experience to Colorado Springs, and most importantly, to the children of Colorado Springs.  I was so moved and so grateful that these kids are being exposed to something so powerful, delightful and well-executed at their young ages.  I don't think any of us know the potential far-reaching ramifications of this, but I know those ramifications are good.

Thank you, Scott - for doing this work, and for making it possible for the children of Mountain Song to attend.  (I am SO grateful I was able to chaperone!!)

Warm regards,

heather roberts

Dec 12, 2014

Mary Poppins shatters box office records!

The Fine Arts Center's production of Disney's and Cameron Mackintosh's musical Mary Poppins just surpassed every attendance record at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, having issued over 7,400 tickets for its four-week run — and the show doesn’t even open until tonight.

“I'm thrilled our audiences can't get enough of that practically perfect nanny” said director Scott RC Levy. “Clearly, the FAC's track-record of high-quality professional theatre productions in combination with the special place in our hearts for this story, has made the level of demand for this production beyond our expectations. ”

Mary Poppins, which today surpassed the previous attendance record, set by the 2012 FAC production of A Christmas Story, might represent the most-attended professional theatrical production in the history of the Pikes Peak region.

The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs Thursdays through Sundays, through Jan. 4.

Only 12% of all seats are still available for purchase, mostly for the last weekend.

For tickets and more information, go to or call the
box office at 719-634-5583.

Dec 5, 2014

The advantages of willing your collection to the FAC

Pass on your love of the arts to future generations by including the Fine Arts Center in your will, trust, or estate plans.
We’ve created the Legacy Society to honor and recognize those who love the arts, who understand the cultural importance of the Fine Arts Center, and who want to help ensure the organization’s longevity for years to come.
If you’ve made the decision to name the Fine Arts Center as a beneficiary of your estate, please take a moment to let us know. We have a special gift we would like to send you as an expression of our appreciation. In addition, members of the Fine Arts Center’s Legacy Society will receive invitations to special events, tours, luncheons, and more.
If you haven’t named us in your estate plans but would like to know how simple it is to do so, please feel welcome to contact us by email at, by phone at 719.477.4344, or by writing to Cari Karns at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903

We're taking our Santos exhibit to more contemporary realms

 Contemporary Santos from the Permanent Collection

The foundation of the Taylor Museum collection is largely rooted in traditional Latin American and Native American works, areas in which Alice Bemis Taylor held a particular interest.  Santos, depictions of saints in both two- and three-dimensional forms, make up a significant percentage of Taylor’s original gift; the Fine Arts Center has maintained this legacy through the ongoing acquisition of these objects over the decades.  This selection represents some of the most recently acquired santos and demonstrates that the art form is very much alive and is both reverential to tradition as well as innovative to appeal to a contemporary audience.  Most of these artists are living santeros/santeras (craftspeople of holy images) and are working in New Mexico or Colorado, many of whom are nationally collected and renowned for their award-winning work. 
Moya: Alterscreen

The stunning straw appliqué work of artists such as Jean Anaya Moya continues a centuries-old European tradition that was introduced to New Mexico and flourished in the late-17th through the mid-19th centuries.  Often called “poor man’s gold,” the technique was developed to mimic marquetry, a form of decorating wooden items, typically with inlaid wood, ivory, shell, or gold.  

Tapia: Would Christ Make the Six-O’Clock News?
Although it was considered a lost art form at the end of the 19th century, it perpetuated at the Pueblo of Santa Ana and made a dramatic resurgence through support from the WPA and the 1956 revival of the Spanish Market in Santa Fe.  Jean Anaya Moya’s continuation of this form of art begins with many traditional materials but then combines modern materials such as acrylic paint and commercial glues and varnish.  She states that her designs are “traditional Hispanic religious images with a contemporary twist… it is extremely important to create art that people can relate to.”  She continues, saying that “some change is always good as long as we never forget how we evolved.”

Luis Tapia, a Santa Fe native, began carving santos in 1970 and “looks for the nourishment of blending tradition with contemporary culture so that the tradition may continue to grow and flourish.”  He has made a place for himself in the mainstream contemporary art world; although his bold colors and updated themes may break from strict tradition, it is with no intention to disrespect or satirize traditional forms.  The popularity of Tapia’s work is a testament to the artist’s belief that it is his responsibility to create new forms rather than copy the old, stating, “I am the tradition.”  Tapia received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980 and has shown his work in such notable venues as the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Museum of International Folk Art, and he is represented in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum.

Ortega: The Bishop
Husband and wife team Eulogio and Zoraida Ortega began making santos later in life, in 1975, after Eulogio had already served in the army and worked as a school principal and Zoraida retired from teaching.  Eulogio had originally studied art education and had received a master’s degree in painting and sculpture, so woodcarving came naturally and he found the history of the craft fascinating.  His first piece was a bulto of San Rafael that he decided to carve after he read about a statue by the great santero José Rafael Aragon that had been stolen from a chapel in Chimayo.  Although the sculpture was recovered before Ortega could complete a replacement, the artist was already committed to pursuing the craft.  His wife Zoraida, an award-winning weaver, would become his collaborator and the painter of Eulogio’s carvings, as well as painting her own retablos.  The couple’s work is nationally known and collected by both private individuals and museums and has been featured in many Southwestern art books and periodicals.  Perhaps their best known and most revered work is the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Chapel, constructed by the couple as a testament of faith after Zoraida’s battle with cancer.  The chapel, located in Velarde, NM, brings visitors from around the world for its beauty and for healing. 

Harris: Las Vegas, NM
Renowned photographer Alex Harris is represented in collections of institutions such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  The founder of the Center for Documentary Photography and Documentary Studies at Duke University spent six years from 1972 – 1978 living in and photographing villages in northern New Mexico, resulting in perhaps his best known work, Red White Blue and God Bless You, published in 1992.  The image on display is from this series of 45 photographs and offers an intimate glimpse into the co-existence of secular and sacred culture in the lives of his adopted community. 

December Members of the Month:      


Tim & Diana Rupinski

Fine Arts Center members for 8 years

Why did you become a member of the FAC?

    We relocated to Colorado Springs in 1987 having vacationed here in 1984. Colorado offers beautiful scenery and great outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and biking. With children in Junior and Senior High Schools, we integrated into the community and discovered amazing attractions such as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Symphony, Pioneers Museum, Colorado College, and the Fine Arts Center (FAC). We visited the FAC about six times a year, for many years; mostly on free days. About 13 years ago, we bought FAC tickets to a Reverend Billy C. Wirtz performance (possibly the best honky-tonk singer and piano player you have ever heard). Then we started to attend FAC stage plays. The personal touch and intimacy of the FAC rivaled big city venues. We then explored the benefits of FAC membership. Not restricted to any days, we could visit when we wanted, exchange play tickets, do-again viewing of exhibitions, and free parking. Our membership costs us less than a one-seat Broncos game ticket and is a gift to us and our granddaughter that gives back all year.
What is your favorite work of art on display at the FAC right now?

This is certainty a tough question. A favorite of ours is a bronze sculpture in the tactile gallery, Wish I Could That. It reminds us of the joys of youth and of our granddaughter’s enormous possibilities as she grows into an adult. The FAC’s Chihuly and Santos collections should be acclaimed nationwide. We also enjoyed the Floyd Tunson exhibition, Floyd D. Tunson: Son of Pop (2013), which included portraits, sculptures, and the wooden Haitian Dream Boats. The FAC store should sell items unique to the museum based on the Center’s collections.

What has been one of your favorite plays, classes or exhibits at the FAC?

Your theater is a hidden treasure, and producer Scott Levy, sparkling. Each year the FAC offers four to five plays in a season subscription. At around $20 a ticket it sure beats a Big Mac meal. Each season we average four of five performances, which we really enjoy. Some of our favorites were Neil Simon’s trilogy of Brighton Beach Memoirs (2007), Jean Sheppard’s A Christmas Story (2012) (from his book titled Wanda Hickie’s Golden Night of Memories and Other Disasters, how can we not laugh at ourselves growing up?), and A Christmas Carol (2008) with Colorado Springs’ own Sally Hybl and her children (the last time we saw Sally was in Chicago, a great production but a dark play). Then there was Sweeney Todd (2010), certainty dark but the best staged play this side of a Broadway small theater. Oh, let’s not forget Into the Woods (2007), awesome; and last year’s Rupinski Award – Agnes of God (2014), a truly remarkable and powerful performance.

What do you do for fun in Colorado Springs?

We are retired and able to enjoy each day to its fullest. Colorado College is another hidden treasure. The Music (Michael and Susan Grace, and Daniel Brink) and English (Steven Hayward) Departments sponsor almost daily free events, from student and faculty mini-concerts at Packard Hall to visiting authors at Gates Common Room. As almost natives we can’t help being outdoors. We ski, bike, hike, skate, walk trails, and enjoy limitless blue sky days. Hobbies include crafting, woodworking, sewing, and volunteering at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

Other thoughts…

In August 2000, we were flying on Delta from Regan via Atlanta to Colorado Springs. It was 95 degrees in DC and 101 in Atlanta with 100% humidity. Exiting the aircraft in Atlanta, we were greeted by a young girl in a red jacket, sweating profusely. “Where are you going?” she asked, “Can I direct you?” We answered, Colorado Springs, we live there. “Oh, oh,” she replied, “I wish I could live there too!” Living here means being part of the greater community. We encourage anyone who has not experienced the FAC to come down and browse. If you like, join and participate in the wide variety of opportunities that lift the spirit.

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.