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FAC Encourages Exploration by Expanding Access to the Arts

What’s Happening: The strategic plan for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College is guided by three themes: Excellence, Access, and Collaboration and centered around six recommendations. Implementation of the strategic plan across the FAC’s programs has already led to significant progress.

Since July 1, nearly 50,000 people have visited the FAC to see the museum, attend a theatre performance, take a class or a tour, or participate in a public program or event. This winter, the production of “Annie” closed as the most attended and highest grossing production in FAC history with more than 10,300 tickets issued, exceeding its budgeted goal by over 150 percent.

In January 2018, the FAC launched a free K-12 school tour program and the volume of interest and inquiries has increased exponentially, with several area schools already taking advantage of the program, bringing in students who have never before visited a museum. And, the FAC has seen more than 600 new family memberships since September for the 4th grade Passport to the Arts program.

“Many students in my class had never been to an art museum,” says Lara Ash, a third grade teacher at High Plains Elementary who took advantage of the FAC’s free school program this year. “I believe it is so important to help youth see life though many different perspectives. Exposure to the arts encourages students to think differently and see things through many different lenses.”

Ash says her students returned to the classroom to talk and write about their experience “It helps remind students that learning occurs everywhere, not just a classroom. It also offered us an opportunity to write about a real-life experience; having those opportunities often feels rare.”

Implementation of the strategic plan within the Bemis School of Art will begin in July 2018. Building on the work of the 2016-17 planning subcommittee for the Bemis School of Art and guided by the six recommendations in the strategic plan, the Bemis School of Art Implementation Committee will develop specific initiatives and tactics (what will be done and how). The work of the committee will be guided by four questions: What new programming could be offered that would promote enhanced access and collaboration between the various communities of Colorado Springs, FAC, and Colorado College?; What initiatives would bring collaboration and integration of the programs within the Bemis School of Art and the college’s Arts and Crafts programs?; How might existing programming transition to be aligned with the six recommendations and themes of the strategic plan?; What structure can you envision that would promote collaboration across the FAC and college community?

Additionally, the FAC was accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program, which pairs arts organizations and local school systems for a two-year commitment to establish or expand professional learning programs in the arts for teachers. The FAC’s local partnership team is one of only about 14 accepted across the country.