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Engaging with Art is a Multi-Sensory Experience

CC students and Colorado Springs community members danced the night away at a silent disco dance party at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College on December 16. Participants were given a pair of headphones and invited to tune into the channel of their choice to dance to their own beat underneath Buck Walsky’s “Beach Front,” an interactive art installation featuring fiber optics and LED lights.

The silent disco is one of many ways the Fine Arts Center is presenting unexpected new programming that appeals to both students and community members and invites them to engage with art in innovative ways. Another example is the Pop-Up Yoga Classes at the FAC, in which a Root Yoga Studio instructor teaches class accompanied by live cello music and against the backdrop of artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s elegant projections of trees moving in the breeze; the next yoga class is Jan. 21 at the FAC.

Artist William “Buck” Walsky is a Colorado native and proud parent of a CC hockey alumnus. He has one piece on display in the FAC permanent collection, and continues to create works of art, including an installation for the Burning Man festival.

Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the FAC, says she was excited to see Walsky’s art in the interactive experience of the silent disco. “I’ve long admired a sculptural work in the FAC permanent collection that is a large wood carving of a bird taking flight,” she says. “I was delighted to discover a few years ago that not only was he still making remarkable works of art, but that he had been commissioned by the Anchorage Art Museum to create a monumental installation for Burning Man.”

“One of my greatest passions as a curator of contemporary art is to engage with living artists and help facilitate the creation of their dream projects, specifically ones that are site-specific, immersive, and/or interactive,” she says. “Walsky’s ‘Beach Front’ was a perfect fit for the Fine Arts Center in all regards: a celebration of a regional artist, an exciting transformation of an unexpected and under-used location, and an opportunity for Walsky to re-envision his initial concept by tailoring it to the FAC and constructing it the way he had only dreamt of the first time around.”

Armstrong says the installation was a labor of love that involved many hands, generous donors of heavy equipment and specialized skills, and ultimately resulted in a “magical experience that we’re honored to share with our community.”

“My aspiration is to create a piece that holds people’s interest and continues to draw them back in, that defines a community, and is a public gathering space,” Walsky has said about the “Beach Front” installation.