Several months ago I let you know that we’d begun conversations with Colorado College about “forging a future together.” Well, those conversations have continued and have been fruitful. As we have stated from the beginning, we would only consider an alliance of this nature if it preserved our mission, protected our building, preserved our endowment, protected the art collection and honored existing donor restrictions. While we continue to work out the final details, a full alliance with a promising future looks very likely. The Boards of Trustees for both the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College have each recently voted to take yet another important step forward in developing this proposed alliance. An agreement is expected to be finalized later this summer.
The Fine Arts Center and Colorado College have a long history of collaboration. I’ve been doing research on our history and have come across some very interesting information. Back in 1926, when we were still known as the Broadmoor Art Academy, we became the de facto Art Department of Colorado College. This was during an age when professional arts education was transitioning from professional art schools (like the Broadmoor Art Academy) to accredited colleges and universities (such as Colorado College). Alice Bemis Taylor originally planned to build a museum to house her collection on Colorado College’s campus. She was persuaded by Julie Penrose to join forces with the Fine Arts Center to build a multi-disciplinary arts institution on our site instead. In 1935, while the Fine Arts Center was under construction, we held our first art exhibition as the Fine Arts Center on the CC campus in Cossitt Hall. And in the late 1930’s, the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College jointly hosted an annual “Conference on the Fine Arts.” The continued collaboration between our institutions goes back to our founding and makes it seem quite natural today.
Today, our city holds so much promise. There is an air of possibility, a can-do attitude, and a shaking off of old self-doubt and self-criticism. We have a lot going for us and we have the opportunity to shape the future in ways that are better for all of us. We are not destined to be a second-class city. We shouldn’t be stuck in the past or defined by past issues. We can move forward and create a great and vibrant quality of life, attractive to a diverse population. That means doing some things differently. What we are creating with Colorado College is a new and different way to bring great arts experiences to the Colorado Springs community. It is an opportunity to strengthen both organizations’ missions and to model a new era of collaboration. By joining with Colorado College, there is the potential for us to fulfill our mission in more profound ways and secure our place as the community’s foremost arts institution for generations to come.
All that said — we are, and will remain, a community institution in need of the community’s support. Don’t forget to renew your memberships, make your contributions and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. The arts exist because of supporters and patrons who know how important they are for the health and vitality of a community. Let’s show the world that Colorado Springs is a great community with a thriving arts environment and a spirit of collaboration.