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.