Apr 24, 2015

FAC Announces Plays for the Upcoming Rough Writers Festival


Thursday, June 4th @ 8:00 PM:
Two Nine One Letters by Jade O’Keeffe (Toronto, ON)
The Flower by Alyson Mead (Los Angeles, CA)

Friday, June 5th @ 8:00 PM:
A Woman on Paper by Susan Shafer (New York, NY)

Saturday, June 6th @ 8:00 PM: Short Plays by Colorado Springs Playwrights
Georgia on His Mind by Sue Bachman
Mary and Georgia by Grant Swenson
The Real Meaning of Things by Todd Wallinger
The Last Rabbit by Jessica Weaver

Sunday, June 7th @ 3:00 PM:
Early Sunday Morning by Dara O’Brien (New York, NY)


Thursday, June 11th @ 8:00 PM:
Two Nine One Letters by Jade O’Keeffe (Toronto, ON)
The Flower by Alyson Mead (Los Angeles, CA)

Friday, June 12th @ 8:00 PM:
A Woman on Paper by Susan Shafer (New York, NY)

Saturday, June 13th @ 8:00 PM: Short Plays by Colorado Playwrights
Georgia on His Mind by Sue Bachman
Mary and Georgia by Grant Swenson
The Real Meaning of Things by Todd Wallinger
The Last Rabbit by Jessica Weaver

Sunday, June 14th @ 3:00 PM:
Early Sunday Morning by Dara O’Brien (New York, NY)

Two Nine One Letters by Jade O’Keeffe (Toronto, ON)

Play Description:
Two Nine One Letters explores two of the most influential figures in early American modernist art: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. After meeting in 1916 they began a correspondence that would last three decades. They exchanged more than 5,000 letters. Those letters created and inspired this piece.

Playwright Bio:
Jade is a Toronto-based actress, singer and playwright. Having just graduated with a BFA from Ryerson University, Jade has had the pleasure of performing in Music of the Night: A Tribute to Colm Wilkinson, where she shared the stage with the man himself. Also, most recently Jade appeared onstage in her own play as Georgia O’Keeffe in Two Nine One Letters, which was first showcased in the New Voices Festival at Ryerson University this past spring. Before Ryerson, Jade worked as an actor for four consecutive seasons at 4th Line Theatre, a leading Canadian open-air theatre. Jade is very excited for Two Nine One Letters to have its American debut as part of the Rough Writers 15’ Festival and is so thankful to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for the unique opportunity!
The Flower by Alyson Mead (Los Angeles, CA)

Play Description:
As Annie tries to teach her art students how to see critically, she’s undergoing second thoughts about her relationship, while Gilly’s not sure how to express some new and confusing feelings. “The Flower” explores the concept of otherness, from decades of misunderstanding that have accompanied artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings to two modern women finding it difficult to fit into what’s expected of them. 

Playwright Bio:
Alyson Mead studied at the Slade School of Art in London, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and with iO West, UCB and Tectonic Theatre Project. Her award-winning plays have been staged at Off-Off Broadway and regional theaters around the country and in London, including La MaMa, St. Mark's Church, 8BC, Pasadena Playhouse, Venus Theatre, the Women Playwrights International Conference, Limelight, the Other Space Theater, the Hudson, Atwater Village Theater and Sacred Fools, among others. She’s published by Original Works Publishing, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Playwriting Unit and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.

A Woman on Paper by Susan Shafer (New York, NY)

Play Description
Early in Georgia O'Keeffe's career, someone saw her paintings and declared, "At last, a woman on paper!" Who said that and how did their meeting prove a turning point in the artist's life?
Susan Shafer, now a full-time playwright, is a former teacher and children's book editor. Dr. Shafer is the author of five plays and five non-fiction books for children, two books for teachers, and nearly two dozen short plays for adults. She is a member of The League of Professional Theater Women, the Dramatists Guild, and The American Society of Journalists and Authors. Website: www.sshafer.com

Georgia on His Mind by Sue Bachman

Play Description:
World renowned photographer Alfie Stiglietz thinks he has found in painter Georgia O'Keefe the "twin" for whom he has been searching his whole life.  In one fell swoop Alfie casts aside both his long-suffering wife Emmy along and their mentally unstable daughter Kitty. Georgia is stunned to find herself in the middle of an elaborately staged scene of infidelity from which there is no turning back. Alfie quickly learns that, despite their sexual passion, Georgia is no pushover.

Playwright Bio:
Like Georgia O'Keefe, Sue was born in Wisconsin. Though not exactly dairy farmers, her family did own a couple of cows. A Colorado Springs character actress for many years, Sue became inspired to write plays about five years ago after being part of the Six Women Playwriting Festival. Since then she has been an active member of Drama Lab which provides critical input to move her writing forward as well as Craft Production Resources who has produced five of her original short plays. Sue’s play, Disposing of Grandma was selected as Best Short Play in the CSFAC’s Rough Writers New Play Festival in 2013. She won the 2014 Pikes Peak Art's Council Award for Best Performance by an Actress for her portrayal of Linda Loman in Theatrework's "Death of a Salesman." Sue earned her undergraduate degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and holds a Master’s in International Business from Regis University. She thanks Sy, her husband of 34 years, and her adult children Courtney and Aaron, for their love and support in all of her theatrical endeavors.

Mary and Georgia by Grant Swenson

Play Description:

Mary and Georgia explores the relationship between a promising artist and her imaginary friend, Georgia O'Keeffe. The play examines three phases in Mary's life and art career: youthful joy, mid-life depression, and mature contentment.
Playwright Bio:
Grant Swenson is an engineer/writer living in Black Forest, CO. He enjoys bringing plays to Drama Lab in Colorado Springs to workshop with the local theatre community. In 2014, he performed in the Our Shorts Are Showing 2 New Play Festival. He is honored to be a part of the Rough Writers New Play Festival.

The Real Meaning of Things by Todd Wallinger

Play Description:

Georgia O'Keeffe had learned to drive at the age of 41, mostly so she could explore the New Mexico desert by herself. According to reports she was a fearless driver, though not a great one. This play expores what would have happened if her car had broken down.
Playwright Bio:

Todd Wallinger is an award-winning playwright from Colorado Springs with over 150 productions in 43 states plus Canada, Australia, South Korea and the UK. Five of his plays are published by Pioneer Drama Service. Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye won the 2014 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Play Competition for Youth Theatre. Kill the Critic! took 2nd place in the 2013 McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Competition. Todd teaches playwriting at the Colorado High School Thespian Conference and serves with the Colorado Theatre Guild as a judge for their annual Henry Awards.

The Last Rabbit by Jessica Weaver

Play Description:

The play opens up on Jim carrying into his trailer a very beat-up, unhealthy prostitute named Alice.  After days of torture and confusion, Alice learns that Jim has kidnapped her to use her body as a vessel to give “Mama” the gift she’s always wanted -- a baby girl.  It is at this time when she starts receiving visits from Ahiga, a creature whose reality is a struggle to accept.  Ahiga helps Alice plot their escape from this disturbing future that Jim has planned, and in doing so, Alice discovers things about her own identity she had never known.  This platy was inspired by two Georgia O’Keefe paintings: Untitled (Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot) and Ram’s Head with Hollyhock.

Playwright Bio:

Jessica is thrilled to be a part of the Rough Writers Festival!  Thanks to her education and the U.S. Army, she has been performing and creating theatre all over the country.  She received her BA from Washington State and her MFA in performance from Arizona State.  To diversify her artistic endeavors, she began writing a couple years ago, and has not been able to stop since.  Story telling is a powerful tool that can impact society emotionally.  The theatre is perhaps the greatest story-telling art forms because of its ability to be a full sensorial experience.  New play development keeps this vital art form alive.  www.jessicaweaver.net
Early Sunday Morning by Dara O’Brien (New York, NY)

Play Description:

After twenty years of creative and professional struggle, the American painter Edward Hopper reconnects with his old schoolmate, the artist Josephine Nivison. The joining of their lives brings seismic change to both. What is the price of genius, and who pays?
Playwright Bio:

Dara O’Brien is a playwright and actress whose work has been presented at The Cherry Lane Theatre, the Abingdon Theatre, and Naked Angels Tuesdays@9. She is a member of the Abingdon’s Playwrights Group, Playwrights Gallery, The Ninth Floor, and The Geese. Dara is the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Barbour Playwrights Award for her play “Early Sunday Morning.” As part of the Writer/Actor Collective, she is a co-creator of the upcoming podcast series, “The Armitage.” Member, Dramatists Guild of America.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is proud to be producing our bi-annual Rough Writers New Play Festival in the spring of 2015. This two week-long festival will feature readings of new scripts submitted by playwrights worldwide. Playwrights whose work is included in the festival will have the opportunity to have readings of their scripts in front of an audience with a moderated talkback session immediately following. A panel of theatre professionals will adjudicate the submissions.
As part of  the FAC’s “Year of Georgia O’Keeffe,” this year’s submissions should be related to the life and/or the work of O’Keeffe. The plays may utilize Georgia O’Keeffe as a character, use her art as a springboard for the story, or, in a larger sense, explore the lives and art of groundbreaking women.


For these staged readings, we're looking for about 20 actors, ages 17 to 60s, both sexes. Rehearsal commitment is limited.  Rehearsals will start the week of the festival – so they are only committed for those two weeks.

Apr 23, 2015

FAC Docents and Staff Trained by Visually Impaired Youth

Exploring our Sense of Touch

Yesterday the FAC was visited by 8 students from the Colorado Springs School for the Deaf and the Blind who trained our docents and staff to work with visually impaired individuals. The students gave great tips such as how to maneuver a visually impaired visitor in tight corners (with the leader, tucking elbow in), doorways (saying whether it opens in or out) and stairs (stopping at the beginning and end). After leading the students around, the docents and staff donned blindfolds and goggles in order to gain a first-hand experience and understanding of what it's like to be visually impaired.

The training took place in our Tactile Gallery, which was established at the FAC in 1981 as one of the first galleries of its kind . In the Tactile Gallery, visitors are encourages to experience art, not only visually, but with their hands. Braille signs and labels giving information about the various works of art are placed in front of each object. In addition, the displays are low enough for children and wheelchair users to reach the art objects and know their essence through the sense of touch.

If you've never checked it out before, the Tactile Gallery is FREE and open to the public - stop in and experience art in a whole new way!

Apr 21, 2015

FAC unveils groundbreaking new app

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center introduced a new app today that leapfrogs ahead of the standard museum audio tour.

Using this free app, developed by KS Technologies, visitors with an iOS mobile device can enjoy video and multi-media presentations about art in the galleries without having to punch in location numbers.

That’s because the app listens for iBeacon devices installed throughout the museum, developed by KS Technologies and manufactured in Colorado Springs.  KST’s beacon devices are powered by ultra low-power wireless hardware from Nordic Semiconductor.

The new iBeacon technology used in the Fine Arts Center App, currently free through Apple’s App Store, is being used in only a handful of arts institutions worldwide.

“We’re tremendously excited about how the technology enhances the visitor’s experience,” says FAC President and CEO David Dahlin. “Art institutions like ours are finding that it’s not enough to hang art on the walls. In order to stay relevant, we need to make each visit a memorable experience. People today desire to interact and to have depth of context. This new app is amazing and will really change the way that people experience an exhibition and interact with the art.”

The new app also has hidden advantages internally.  By tracking foot traffic patterns in the museum, the app can be used like a heat map online, showing how visitors are actually using the institution, where they’re going and where they’re not going.

“Potentially, this has implications for how we install future shows and even which pieces we keep on display and which go to our archives,” says Blake Milteer, the FAC’s museum director and chief curator.

For KS Technologies, the app represents a triumph of collaboration and technology.

“We’re so proud to partner with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in creating this new app and installing our beacons here,” said Bob Kressin, President of KS Technologies. “We see beacons as a disruptive technology, having many practical applications such as navigating indoor spaces, tracking assets and creating experiences like we have here at the FAC.”  

FAC Wins Big at Best of the Springs

HUGE THANK YOU to all our fans who voted in The Gazette's Best of the Springs!

The Fine Arts Center (and our performers) took more awards than any other organization in the region, including:

MUSEUM EXHIBIT - GOLD: "Chihuly Rediscovered"
THEATRE COMPANY - GOLD: (First time in recent memory for this honor!)
MUSICAL - GOLD: "Wizard of Oz" (yeah, it was last year, but who's counting?)
ACTRESS - GOLD: (TIE) Jessica Weaver ("Dracula")
ACTRESS - GOLD: (TIE) Birgitta De Pree ("Love, Loss and What I Wore")
ACTRESS - SILVER: Amy Brooks ("Love, Loss and What I Wore")
ACTRESS - BRONZE: Rebecca Myers Burdick ("Play It Again, Sam" & "Reefer Madness")
ACTOR - SILVER: Kevin Pierce ("Forever Plaid," "Mary Poppins" and "Reefer Madness")
BEST PLAY - GOLD: "Dracula"
ARTS SUMMER CAMP - GOLD: FAC, Bemis (taking in both our Bemis camps and Theatre camps!)
MOVER AND SHAKER IN THE ARTS - SILVER: Tara Thomas (sharing the honor with Kevin Landis at TheatreWorks.)
We and our partners also got these staff-pick awards:
CROWD PLEASER: "Mary Poppins"
STAR ON THE RISE: Michael Lee (who played Renfield in "Dracula")
BEST SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE: "Rarity" by Veronika String Quartet (who performed this concert at the FAC.)

Apr 10, 2015

FAC's 'Mary Poppins' magic reaches a national audience

The FAC's flair for stage magic got some national attention this month thanks to our scenic designer Erik Diaz's fascinating article in Stage Directions magazine.

Erik writes about how the FAC special-effects team brought a dreary London park to a vibrant, colorful life during our production of Mary Poppins. It really was a glorious technical feat, and Erik details the painstaking process that turned a monochromatic drop into glorious color. The images are stunning, and the article will prove an invaluable resource for other scenic designers.

Well done, Erik and the rest of the production team!

You can reach the full article here.

Apr 6, 2015

Last week to catch 4000 Miles

4000 Miles represents intimate theatre at its best. Not only is the presentation intimate, scaling down the large FAC stage to a modest Manhattan apartment, the story takes us to a level of authentic emotional intimacy you don’t find in many plays.

That’s why Time magazine named it the #1 play of the year. It’s why BroadwayWorld’s Christi Esterle wrote of the FAC production, “you can’t ask for much more in the theatre.” You can read her full review here.

4000 Miles takes us inside the lives of Leo and Vera, a grandson and grandmother trying to span the language and culture of two hilariously and frustratingly different generations.

The play runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30p and Sundays at 2p. Get tickets and reservations for pre-theatre dining here or call 719.634.5583. 

Apr 2, 2015

Meet our April Members of the Month

Ernie and Michael McIntyre - Fine Arts Center members for 7 years 

Now 16, Michael has been taking classes at the Fine Arts Center’s Bemis School of Art since he was 7 years old. He focuses mainly on Anime and Manga drawing and aspires to have a career in the arts. Here, Ernie talks about how his grandson got involved with the FAC and became members.

Why did you become a member of the FAC? 

We realized Michael had a great talent for drawing and wanted him to develop his skills further. We also wanted him to learn to appreciate the abilities of others and learn as much as possible about art in general.

When did your interest in the arts begin? 

Michael’s interest in the arts began at an early age. He has been studying the piano for eight years and began taking classes at Bemis at the same time.

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

Michael’s favorite class has been the Anime drawing class with instructor Nancy Fraser-Coco. She introduced him to it and encouraged him to learn more about art in general. Our family had tried for years to tell Michael he had talent, but she was the first to honestly make him realize it. He usually requests to take her classes.

Nancy Fraser-Coco takes them through the Fine Arts Center on a regular basis to show them different techniques. Michael’s favorite exhibit was Chihuly Rediscovered (2014).

What else do you like to do for fun in Colorado Springs? 

Church activities, bowling, bicycle riding, video games and just hanging out with friends.

Check out the video below where Michael and Ernie, along with Bemis instructor Nancy Fraser-Coco, discuss Michael's artistic growth here at the FAC.