First Friday Art Parties

The Fine Arts Center is proud to be part of First Friday Downtown.

The event, located in Deco Lounge, is free and open to the public from 5-7:30p (with occasional exceptions) on the First Friday of each month.

The Deco Lounge is one of the coolest spaces in the building with an art deco vibe accented by Dale Chihuly’s Blue Sapphire Chandelier. It is open before theatre performances, during intermissions and by request.

First Friday Art Parties

Our vibrant First Friday Art Parties include, artist talks and demonstrations, music, exclusive giveaways to FAC events, a cash bar and the stunning ambiance offered by this chic, historic venue.

Both the Deco Lounge and Museum Shop participate in First Friday, featuring art for sale by local and regional artists.

Deco Lounge Gallery

The Deco Lounge also functions as a gallery, showcasing and selling the work of Colorado’s finest artists with First Friday events and displays managed by the FAC Museum Shop. Interested in participating in our Deco Lounge Gallery Program? See submission guidelines

December 2017/January 2018 Featured Artist

Sheary Clough Suiter (Colorado Springs, CO)

Suiter’s gallery show explores the complexity of encaustic, a paint made from natural beeswax and damar resin. Utilizing substrates ranging from sumi paper to cradled panel, Suiter’s work reveals extraordinary color and depth, achieved using techniques developed over the course of her 25 year career as a painter.

Suiter’s panel work includes strategic scrapes and carvings, both above and below the painting surface, visible clues inviting viewers to look deeply into the mystery-laden stratum of wax. Textural build-ups offer a glimpse into the three-dimensional possibilities inherent in encaustic, while the contrasting expanses of luminous, highly polished, smooth surfaces exhibit the finesse and skill of Suiter’s experienced torch-work. In contrast, her wax and paper hangings evoke a delicate transparency, encased within the material strength of encaustic.

Awards recognizing Suiter’s expertise in encaustic include a Permanent Collection Purchase by the Anchorage Museum of Art, a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Project Award, and an Alaska State Council on the Arts Career Opportunity Grant, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Suiter teaches workshops on the art of painting with encaustic at the FAC’s Bemis School of Art. View more about Suiter online at

Congrats to our upcoming First Friday artist and Bemis School of Art instructor Sheary Clough Suiter for coming in 3rd place at the national all-encaustic art show at Niza Knoll Gallery in Denver. Sheary was the only Colorado artist to win an award and the top three winners will have a show together at the Santa Fe District gallery in 2018!

October/November 2017 Featured Artist

Michelle McMahan (Colorado Springs, CO)

Michelle McMahan grew up in two cultures—Brazil and the U.S. The mixture of the two creates in her a third culture. Her cross-cultural vision and sensitivity generates artistic expressions that are unique and yet universally appealing.

Michelle’s artistic interests emerged early in life. Her parents filled every home they had with great art and music. She studied dentistry in Brazil and then worked as a dentist in the U.S. But throughout her life, art and beauty have been the air she breathes. The meticulous style of her work reflects a passion for miniscule elements of the natural world. Most people overlook these details, but Michelle brings them to life.

Her work with reclaimed wood and metals developed first in Brazil. There she found amazing beauty in the abandoned Peroba wood that had been used in the 1930s to build homes for coffee growers in northern Paraná, a state in southern Brazil. Today she is also incorporating exotic woods from around the world, which add an amazing array of colors and textures to her abstract work. Restoring beauty and design to wood once left to rot is an expression of her ability to see beauty and value in every person.

Her work has been displayed in galleries, homes, and architects‘ offices in Colorado and Brazil. In 2014, her wood assemblage titled Paradox won the “Best of Show” award in The Abstract Show at Cottonwood Center for the Arts (Colorado Springs). Her work, including handmade furniture, has appeared in nationally distributed Brazilian design magazines and books. Michelle’s work was first displayed at the Architecture and Engineering Club of Londrina, Paraná in 2010.

August/September 2017 Featured Artist

Emma Powell (Colorado Springs, CO)

Powell is an assistant professor of art at Colorado College. She graduated from the College of Wooster, and received her MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work often examines photography’s history while incorporating historic processes and other devices within the imagery.

This gallery show explores a fictional narrative that visualizes curious scenarios in order to convey a message or feeling instead of a record of a moment. Powell first began to explore photographic storytelling while working on her MFA thesis. Building on this interest in narrative, subsequent bodies of work have emerged. The body of work featured in Deco Lounge is a collaborative narrative with Kirsten Hoving titled “Svala’s Saga.”


June/July 2017 Featured Artist

Lindsay Hand

Lindsay Hand (Colorado Springs, CO)

Primarily self-taught, Hand has exhibited her work at various galleries throughout the state of Colorado. Her work was most recently shown at the Southern Colorado Coal Miner’s Museum in Trinidad and the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo.

Hand’s work engages the viewer with the creation of narratives, through an exploration into the concept of spiritualism, as threaded through various cultures and religions, including ideas and intents surrounding the theory of divination. Her works are layered with a reflection of the subconscious by the incorporation of automatism into her technique.

April/May 2017 Featured Artist

Patricia Barry Levy (Denver, CO)

Patricia Barry Levy’s work is inspired by beauty, mystery, whimsy and the varieties of challenges faced by humanity and the natural world in a rapidly changing environment. Levy has degrees in history and photography. Early in her career, she worked as a newspaper photographer in western Colorado, where her fascination with telling stories began. In 1985 she opened her commercial studio in Denver, specializing in people/portraiture for national magazines and corporate communications. Levy found embracing digital tools opened the doors of creativity in new ways, allowing her to move further into the realm of imagination. Increasingly the final images became the result of an additive process, made up of collected and created elements.

This gallery show is a participating event with the Month of Photography Denver, a biennial celebration of fine art photography with hundreds of collaborative public events throughout the region.
MoP Logov copy

February/March 2017 Featured Artist

Bill Starr (Colorado Springs, CO)

For more than 35 years, Bill Starr has shared his passion by photographically capturing movement in dance, theater, and performance art – and throughout Colorado’s indie/electronic/folk music scenes. The subject of his work is informed and influenced by his lifelong experience of living with acute rheumatoid arthritis. His photographs harness both the raw and elegant aspects of the human body in motion. He is well known for recording the likenesses of many area artists and students over the span of his career.

This gallery show is a participating event with the Month of Photography Denver, a biennial celebration of fine art photography with hundreds of collaborative public events throughout the region.
MoP Logov copy

On March 3, the FAC is partnering with GOCA to present a progressive First Friday experience presented in conjunction with the Force/Resistance exhibition at the FAC and the Black Power Tarot exhibition at GOCA 121. From 5:30-6p enjoy a Spoken Word Performance by Idris Goodwin, Nico Wilkinson, and Friends at the FAC. Then head to GOCA 121 for musical performances with DJ Gravity, Idris Goodwin and friends taking place in the gallery from 6:30-9p.

December 2016/January 2017 Featured Artist

Michael Baum (Manitou Springs, CO)

Michael Baum is an oil painter specializing in contemporary representations of the western and southwestern landscape. His 35-year, passionate exploration of the American West has led to an advanced landscape painting practice at the top echelon of this genre. He thrives on the challenge of getting to the essence of a scene through translating the immense beauty, light, and air of a place. His passion for paint and the land express themselves together in his works. His paintings are included in numerous private, corporate, and public collections nationally and internationally, and he regularly sells work in the FAC Museum Shop gallery. Michael lives and works in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Recent exhibitions include the Governor’s Art Show, Denver, Colorado, 2016.

“Revealing the inner essence of a thing by painting its outward appearance is the adventure of a lifetime.” – Michael Baum

October/November 2016 Featured Artists

Day of the Dead Celebration

Also known in Spanish as Dia de los Muertos, this celebration honors those who have passed on to the next world with ceremonial elements rooted in Aztec culture. The FAC’s version of this celebration includes an invitational selection of Colorado artists whose work exemplifies tradition of Day of the Dead artwork.

Participating artists include:

Carlos Fresquez, Quintin Gonzalez, George Rivera, Tony Ortega, Azul DelGrasso, Josiah Lee Lopez, David Ocelotl Garcia, Judy Miranda, Terri Sanchez, Roberto Rodriguez, Jerry Vigil.

David Ocelotl Garcia, Muertos Wedding, Acrylic on canvas, 40” X 30”, 2015

Note: The opening reception event on Oct 7 includes a traditional invocation dance by Grupo Folklorico Sabor Latino at 5:30p and is sponsored by El Cinco de Mayo, Inc. and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR).

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August/September 2016 Featured Artist

Betty Ross

Betty Ross

Betty Ross invites chance and seeks harmony in her studio practice. She endeavors to capture, in the words of Hilton Als, the “rush and chaos of nature” by using different modes and diverse artistic mediums. Ross trained as an art historian and has an MA in Theatre from UC Berkeley. She designed and made costumes for UCCS’s Theatreworks from 1976 to 2015. She travels extensively and incorporates ideas gained from these rich experiences into both paintings and costumes. She often works onsite in watercolor, using the information for larger acrylic works in the studio, sometimes adding collage elements, torn paper fragments, antique laces, leather, or shreds of wool.

“The gaps between abstraction and the real are actually what fascinate me as a painter— often filled with a narrative or strong emotion that drives the process whether at a pond in Derbyshire, or a cabin in the Sangres.” — Betty Ross

Betty Ross, Cordoba Mosque, Watercolor and Collage, 14 x 10”

June/July 2016 Featured Artist


Deb Komitor

A constant thread throughout Colorado Springs, painter Deb Komitor’s art career has been expressing the emotions conveyed in nature. One feels the energy in each brushstroke as her paintings evoke both the force and serenity in nature. Her decision to portray these works in an almost pixelated fashion asks the viewer to take a step back in order to see her works fully realized. This, in turn, draws you in and keeps you there while her warm interpretations make you stay and take in the details. Her paintings seem alive. You are not just drawn into Komitor’s paintings; they come out and get you.

“I want my paintings to bring the viewer back to nature. I want them to slow your breath, clear your mind, and ease you into quiet peace.” – Deb Komitor

Deb Komitor, Stretching to the Clouds, oil, 36 x 36”

April/May 2016 Featured Artists

David Mayhew The Strength Within

Our Deco Lounge exhibition for April and May features the photography of four Colorado-based Storm Chasers: David Mayhew, Eric Treece, Caryn Hill, and Roger Hill. This exhibition is presented as part of Pollinate: Biennial Arts Collaboration, exploring the theme of energy across southern Colorado.

DAVID MAYHEW (Fort Collins, CO)

David Mayhew chose photography as his life’s work in 2003 and studied photography at the College of DuPage near Chicago where he also joined forces with the meteorology program. Mayhew has seen unique and beautiful sights including the largest ever recorded tornado – 2.6 miles wide in El Reno, Oklahoma in May 2013. Based in Fort Collins, Mayhew is ideally located for heading east to tornado alley or west to explore mountain landscapes.

ERIC TREECE (Elizabeth, CO)

Eric Treece is a professional storm chaser and videographer with over ten years of experience capturing extreme weather. Treece’s photography and videos are regularly featured on numerous national news broadcasts including: The Weather Channel, CNN and Fox News, among others. Much of Treece’s weather expertise comes from his experience as a Great Lakes Ship Master at the helm of the S.S. Wilfred Sykes, where weather is just as unpredictable on the water as it is on the plains. In 2010, he released a full-length video capturing a decade of chase seasons titled Unleashed Fury.

CARYN HILL (Bennett, CO)

Caryn Hill works to create photographs that provide a unique perspective on nature’s unbridled fury from a vantage point most will never experience in person. Her photographs reflect not only this exciting point of view, but also the emotion sparked by an unusual camera angle, a thought-provoking composition, or simply a quiet, reflective moment in time. Hill chases storms with fellow photographer and husband, Roger Hill, also included in this exhibition.

ROGER HILL (Bennett, CO)

For nearly three decades, Roger Hill has spent close to 150 days a year in pursuit of thunderstorms to create videos and photographs of these momentous occasions. Hill has witnessed and photographed over 650 tornadoes, thousands of thunderstorms and tens of thousands of lightning strikes. In addition to chasing storms, Roger leads photography tours throughout the Southwest with his wife Caryn Hill.

David Mayhew, The Strength Within, Photography, 2009

February/March 2016 Featured Artist

Lance Green

Lance Green

Born in Denver and raised in Los Angeles, Lance Green became a famed and favorite local artist after transplanting himself to Colorado Springs following a successful career as an artist, sign painter, and gallerist in LA. Lance teaches painting for Bemis School of Art and conducts workshops independently.

He exhibits regularly throughout New Mexico, Los Angeles, and in the FAC Museum Shop. A student of the late and famous Fritz Scholder, Lance’s expressionistic paintings often feature yoga poses, dancers, birds, and other universally symbolic characters (both human and animal). Collectors love his work for the sense of movement, the incredible play with color and layers, and the contemplative, emotional, or spiritual connections offered by the work.

For his Deco Lounge exhibition, Lance is taking the opportunity to play with the joy of painting more than anything. This intuitive means of painting culminates in a body of work conveying the freedom and fluidity found in the process of expressionist painting at its best! Don’t miss it!

Lance Green, The Prodigal Son, 24×18”, Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas, 2015

November/December 2015 Featured Artist

Nadine Sage

Nadine is the youngest of seven, raised in Massachusetts and Prince Edward Island, Canada in a family of accomplished artists. Her success as a papier collé and oil artist also launched her on a path to the accessories industry as she began to transform her original art into wearable works of art. She incorporates 18th and 19th century illustrations with oil paint and sometime gold leafinig, giving old images new life.

On a whim, she incorporated her art into a belt buckle — “I love the idea of wearing a piece of art.” After several years of perfecting the process, she now runs a successful accessories company called SAGE + LØVE. Her belt buckles, lavalier pendants, handmade belts, and original artwork are popular items sold in the FAC’s new Museum Shop.

She additionally creates papiér collé works on paper exclusively for the Museum Shop’s Colorado Originals program. Her original papiér collé work for the Deco Lounge include a variety of large and small scale works on panel, finished with a lushly shiny epoxy coating. Don’t miss it!

Nadine Sage, antlers, Highway 24, South Park, 24″ x 48″, Oil, Paper, Metal Leaf, Polymer, Resin

September/October 2015 Featured Artist

Doyle Svenby

I have been an metal sculptor and fabricator for 21 years and have been painting for about five years. I have always loved working with steel and was exhilarated by the challenge to create something beautiful out of discarded objects. The same thoughts intrigue me with paining as I maintain the obstacle of using recycled housing paints, spray paints and plywood.

My color selection is all over the place. I use what I find and experiment a lot. Different types of paint react inversely when mixed. I usually start with a form in mind and introduce colors throughout the process while adding a layering process.

When I look at who I am influenced by sculpturally, I’m drawn to many artists, but mainly a few that have made such an impact on our community and me personally: Bill Burgess, Don Green and Chris Weed. As a painter, there are too many to list. I truly enjoy creating and exploring different ways to interpret the world and nature through painting and sculpting.  — Doyle Svenby

Doyle Svenby, Building Blocks

July/August 2015 Featured Artist

Karen Fisher

Karen Fisher

Along with the fashion magazine inspired images, my recent work includes images of birds in flight. When I’m working out of my Ohio studio during the spring and fall months, I take pictures of birds coming to my feeder, literally hundreds of pictures. It’s a kind of obsession. They distract me inviting me away from my studio work. Having a nature conservancy as my backyard, I can attract so many varieties.

This body of work celebrates the relationship that I have with them. I feel a kind of telepathy when they are around. Even when I’m working out of my Colorado studio, Swallows will chirp loudly outside, begging me to come out and then they swoop down so close to my face as if to greet me or entice me to play with them.

The Swallows remind me of Zephyrus, Greek god of the west wind and husband to Chloris. As depicted in Sandro Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring, I liken the transformation of Chloris into Flora to the way that I transform multiple fashion model images into one. The creation of these new women appear in my work as ghostly photo transfers along with the birds that I photograph, who become stand-­ins for Zephyrus. Each work begins with layers of vintage record album sleeves and tissue paper. The photo transfers and subsequent layers of acrylic paint and found and hand-­made papers reveal a clairvoyant interaction between bird and woman.   — Karen Fisher

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