Anniversaries can mean different things — joy, remembrance, even sorrow. For the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, their year-long 100th anniversary celebration seeks to honor the rich cultural history of the region, and the people and events that shaped its growth from the Broadmoor Art Academy in 1919 to the FAC in 1936, and beyond.
For curator of modern and contemporary art, Joy Armstrong, this means crafting a series of four museum exhibits that tell a story of always-evolving artistic ideals across a century.
O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region follows a timeline from around 1870-1970, examining the earliest artists in the region, why they came and how their artistic ideals started to coalesce. In those early years, tracing the artists is fairly equivalent to tracing the history of the academy and FAC. They were founding personalities, board members and key figures in the transition from the academy to FAC, helping develop the region’s art identity.
Another component of the exhibit is “shifting perspectives,” sidebars that provoke attendees to be critical of historical truth, reexamine the art from our modern perspective and explore their own alternative viewpoints.
The second exhibit opening of the year, Scenes from Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest, is a series of 51 large drawings that showcase his reactions to a world he decided was essentially tragic.
“[Scenes] is really a demonstration of his thoughtfulness as an artist They are difficult works to be with — he was responding to the global events of the ’70s — but they feel contemporary.”Joy Armstrong
Arnest served as both the head of the FAC Art School (which became the Colorado College Art Department) and professor of art at Colorado College.
Notes from the Musick Collection will open Aug. 3. Archie
Musick was a student at the academy, and had relationships with many of
the founding characters. He even published a book — Musick Medley:
Intimate Memories of a Rocky Mountain Art Colony, which looks at his
experiences and local contemporaries in an entertaining tabloid format.
In concert with his daughter Pat, the exhibit will focus on the
family collection Archie accumulated through the years, which includes
art but also historical FAC artifacts, including diaries, announcements
The Broadmoor Art Academy and Its Legacy, 1919-1970 will
premiere in the middle of Arts Month this October, focusing on how the
artists that studied and worked in the area influenced each other, and
how that influence spread throughout the country and across time. It’ll
include private and public works, with pieces from the Smithsonian and
Denver Art Museum.
“This will really demonstrate the influence of the academy,”
Armstrong says. “It’ll look at the art artists brought with them to the
region and what they learned and experienced while they were here, and
what they did when they moved on. There was a really powerful impact on
the development of American art identity.”