Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
The main entrance
|Location||30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Area||1.6 acres (0.65 ha)|
|Architect||Meem, John Gaw; Rogers, Platt|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|NRHP reference No.||86001455|
|Added to NRHP||July 03, 1986|
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) is an arts center located just north of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. Located on the same city block are the American Numismatic Association and part of the campus of Colorado College.
The center uses a thick red outline of a square as its logo.
With $600,000, Alice Bemis Taylor funded the 1936 construction of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and provided a $400,000 donation for an endowment. It was built on property owned by the Broadmoor Art Academy. Constructed during the Great Depression, Taylor saw the project as a means of employment for unemployed laborers. Taylor donated her extensive Indian and Hispanic art and her collection of 6,000 volumes of Americana. She envisioned a place that would be accessible to all people, with no admission charge. The Broadmoor Art School previously stood on the grounds of the current art center, on land donated by Julie Penrose. Elizabeth Sage Hare also collaborated with Taylor and Penrose on the building which became a center for a museum, art school and performing arts venue for the growing city.
The fine arts center was designed by New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem who works often combined Pueblo Revival Style and Spanish Colonial into "Santa Fe Style" architecture. In 1940, Meem's most modern design earned a Silver Medal at the Fifth Quadrennial Pan American Congress of Architecture. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At the original Grand Opening in April 1936, Martha Graham performed Lamentation-Dance of Sorrow; "art icon Alexander Calder executed the stage design for an operetta; and Frank Lloyd Wright lectured on the new building." Art luminaries Boardman Robinson and Robert Motherwell were early teachers at the art school.
About the Fine Arts Center/Colorado College Alliance. On Aug. 24, 2016, the boards of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado College approved an alliance between both institutions. Following outreach that included listening sessions and a web-based comment process, the Strategic Planning Committee charged subcommittees to continue reaching out to identify strategic themes, goals, and initiatives to develop as the center and the college integrate their programs. Each subcommittee held community listening and small-group sessions to seek input. In all, the five committees held 40 meetings; and more than 800 comments were gathered. The Strategic Planning Committee used the reports to produce one overall plan. Following another round of community feedback, the Oversight Committee adopted the plan on June 14, 2017. On July 1, 2017, the center become the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. A four-year transition period focuses on the museum 2017, Bemis Art School in 2018 and the performing arts in 2019.
The Fine Arts Center is a modern poured concrete Pueblo structure that integrates Southwestern, Art Deco and Classic architectural elements. It has one, two and, for the theatre fly tower, four stories. Within the building are galleries, art studios, performing art facilities including a 450-seat theater, a library, music room, museum shop and storage and office space. The murals on the exterior of the building were produced by Boardman Robinson and Frank Mechau.
For the National Register of Historic Places, it was described as follows:
Its monolithic pueblo massing, its undisguised modern use of concrete, aluminum and glass; its southwestern details, its Native American designs abstracted into Art Deco ornamentation; its streamlined elegance; and its classical proportions - all result in a timeless character - with fundamental roots to the region and the time as well as manifesting an innovative architectural reflectionof the building's underlying function, which is to preserve culture and to honor the contemporary.
It borders Monument Valley Park and has a view of Pikes Peak. It is near the city's business district, in a combined residential and office building zone, in the Colorado College campus. Its well-preserved state, reflects the initial building construction with maintenance and restoration.
The multi-purpose center includes:
- Taylor Museum - Several galleries, where the permanent collection of Southwest art is displayed, in addition to other permanent works and traveling shows.
- The Performing Arts department's SaGāJi Theatre, the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, produces comedies, dramas and musicals. It also hosts music and dance events and film festivals.
- Bemis School of Art offers art education to the local community, with seven new art studios as of 2007. It offers classes for adults and children. Four times a year it holds free "Family Adventure Days".
- Taste and the Deco Lounge
Notable pieces and exhibits
- Dale Chihuly chandeliers.
- One of the country's "strongest collections" of Native American, Latin American and Hispanic American art.
- Notable artists within the FAC permanent collection include: John Singer Sargent, Georgia O'Keeffe, Richard Diebenkorn, Walt Kuhn, and Ansel Adams.
The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company is an award-winning professional theatre company, based at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Scott RC Levy serves as the Producing Artistic Director and Director of Performing Arts and Nathan Halvorson is the Associate Director of Performing Arts.
Many groups in the community used the stage at the FAC. The original Drama League (organized in 1916) used the theatre for all its performances. In 1946 the name was changed to Civic Players and in 1970 to the Civic Theatre. Further name changes occurred in 1988 when the resident group was rechristened the Repertory Theatre Company (under Thomas McElroy); in 2003 it was shortened to The REP (under Sandra Womochil Bray), and in 2007 it was renamed the "Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company" (under Alan Osburn). It's now a professional TCG Member Theatre (the national organization of the American Theatre) operating in both the SaGāJi Theatre and the 108-seat Music Room, hiring Equity and non-Equity performers, directors, designers, musicians and technicians from Colorado Springs and throughout the country (under current Producing Artistic Director Scott RC Levy). In addition to the 10 productions the company produces each season, nationally based artists, dance and music also perform in the SaGāJi Theatre
The FAC Theatre Company has performed many celebrated works of theater, including: Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007, Hairspray in 2011, The Wizard of Oz in 2013, Driving Miss Daisy, Peter and the Starcatcher and 9 to 5 in 2016, Enchanted April, Annie and Man of La Mancha in 2017, Intimate Apparel, Fun Home and Matilda in 2018, Hands on a Hardbodyand The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play) in 2019.
2019-2020 Theatrical Season
The 2019-2020 Season at the FAC is expected to include:
- Busytown: September 13-October 14, 2019
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play): September 26-October 20, 2019
- Carrie (musical): October 25-26, 2019, A Staged Concert
- Tiny Beautiful Things: November 8-December 1, 2019
- The Sound of Music: December 12, 2019-January 12, 2020
- The Bridges of Madison County (musical): February 13- March 1, 2020
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: March 6- April 5, 2020
- Silent Sky: April 2-19, 2020
- Men On Boats: April 24-May 2, 2020
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: May 28-June 21, 2020
- Lonley Sky: June 26-July 19, 2020
's Tony-Award winning In The Heights was originally announced to fill the May 28th-June 21st slot, however, in November of 2019, the FAC released a statement, officially announcing that The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will conclude the Mainstage Season and instead, In the Heights will open the 2020-2021 Theatrical Season, running September 24-October 18, 2020.
Youth Repertory Ensemble
The Youth Repertory Ensemble is a class produced by the FAC Theater Company for youth actors in Colorado Springs. The class consists of a five-week intensive that occurs annually in July. It concludes in a full musical production. Previous musicals include Applause, Urinetown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Merrily We Roll Along, The Pajama Game, and most recently Disaster! It is a celebrated course, turning out many notable performers.
In 2006, the center was expanded by more than 48,000 square feet. A new wing was constructed adjacent to the Center's Bemis School of Art to add studio space for classrooms and rehearsal spaces for the newly name SaGaJi Theatre. A new building was constructed that now provides modern exhibition space for the Center's museum. There are large expanses of gallery spaces reserved exclusively for American Indian, Latin American and American art. It was designed by award-winning architect David Tryba and built to American Alliance of Museums standards.
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- "Press Release - Update on the 75 th Anniversary mural created by local art legend" (PDF). Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
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