The Growth of the Permanent Collection
By 1957, the FAC School had become the art department of Colorado College with Bernard Arnest (father of local composer and playwright Mark Arnest) as director. The students moved out of the FAC studios and into new studios on the CC campus. Sadly, 1957 saw the death of Julie Penrose, the last of the remaining founders. Betty Hare left the Springs in 1937 and went on to write a book about the 1939 New York World’s Fair. She died in 1948. Alice Bemis Taylor died in 1942.
But the 1950s also mark great growth in the permanent collection, under FAC Director James B. Byrnes, who is two brief years, dramatically grows the Modern American collection by acquiring Dark Iris by Georgia O’Keeffe, Fog Horns by Arthur Dove, From Mt. Desert by John Marin, Two Doves and Christ Evicted by Marsden Hartley, andFisherman at Work by Milton Avery. An Imaginary History of the West, Walt’s Kuhn’s extraordinary suite of 29 paintings, was gifted to the FAC by Kuhn’s wife and daughter. Byrnes compared the Fine Arts Center to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, stating that such a modern center should have a strong modern art collection.
The Debutante Ball Committee began in 1967 and proceeds from this event benefited the FAC acquisition fund, which resulted in the purchase of many iconic FAC works by John Singer Sargent, Jamie Wyeth, Marisol, Laura Gilpin, Ansel Adams and more.
In 1967, the Fine Arts Center began construction on the Bemis School of Art for Children. The addition, designed by Dietz Lusk and John Wallace, was completed in 1968. The FAC added more gallery and administrative space in 1970 with another expansion.
Former Robinson student Eric Bransby repainted the original Boardman Robinson frescos over the entrance that had weathered over time.
In 1989, the Fine Arts Center celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Broadmoor Art Academy. Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart and his wife, Gloria, a former Colorado Springs resident, as well as many Broadmoor Art Academy artists and students, attended a lavish black-tie gala to support the exhibition: Pikes Peak Vision: The Broadmoor Art Academy, 1919-1945.
In 1996, the Fine Arts Center produced a career retrospective of works by Boardman Robinson for the 60th Anniversary called Boardman Robinson: American Muralist and Illustrator, 1876–1952.