CSFAC: A Modernist Pioneer

Built on the foundation of the prestigious Broadmoor Art Academy, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (CSFAC) carries the legacy of Colorado Springs’ arts and cultural heritage.

From the latter part of the 19th Century through the mid 20th, Colorado Springs was an artists’ colony that rivaled the scenes in Taos and Santa Fe. CSFAC: A MODERNIST PIONEER, an hour-long documentary and DVD with extras, will reveal the compelling story of the CSFAC’s history and how three dynamic women – Alice Bemis Taylor, Elizabeth Sage Hare and Julie Penrose – forged an art center that was unique at the time since it included a museum, art school and performing arts venue.

Opening in 1936, in a new building by architect John Gaw Meem that combined Southwestern vernacular architecture with the art deco style, the center became an immediate architectural landmark and home to acclaimed print and mural workshops. From the time of its opening celebration – where Martha Graham danced barefoot, and Alexander Calder designed the set for Erik Satie’s “Socrate” – the CSFAC has always been on the cutting edge. This was particularly true after WWII. With an influx of veterans who were students, the CSFAC once again led the region – this time as a nucleus for an abstract painting scene.

With a new, sensitive addition by architect David Owen Tryba, the CSFAC at 75 years old continues to embrace great art and to forge relationships with the art masters (Boardman Robinson, Lawrence Barrett, Frank Mechau, Walt Kuhn, Robert Motherwell, John Waters, Dale Chihuly, etc.) of the 20th & 21st Centuries.

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