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Innovative Gift Funds Three Students at Bemis School of Art

Funds from an innovative gift will provide scholarships for three first-generation Colorado students attending a pre-college collaborative art class.

The Bemis School of Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College will utilize funds from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Scholarship Fund, enabling the students to enroll in a Colorado College Summer Session course. The pre-college art class, A Material Exploration of Drawing: On and Off the Press, is CC’s first class offered for credit through the Bemis School of Art. The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Scholarship Fund was founded in honor of Joyce Robinson, a former director of the Bemis School of Art and a local and national advocate for the arts.

A Material Exploration of Drawing: On and Off the Press is a synthesis of two studios — drawing and printmaking — and is taught by Kate Aitchison ’10. Aitchison graduated from Colorado College cum laude with a degree in studio art and earned an MFA in printing from the Rhode Island School of Design.

The for-credit art course, which runs July 15-31, supports the ongoing transition of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center into CC, says Jim Burke, director of CC’s Summer Session.

“This was an opportunity for Summer Session, Bemis, and CC’s Art Department to collaborate and develop a new initiative that builds on the academic strengths of CC, the expertise of Bemis, and our offices’ commitment to making Colorado Springs a center for the arts in the Rocky Mountain West,” says Burke.

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, which supports students in the arts, closed a few years ago, when the director passed away. Tara Sevanne Thomas, director of the Bemis School of Art, says the reimagined use of the funds, in keeping with the foundation’s wishes, is to be used to support scholarships in art instruction for students who show talent, promise, and interest in the visual arts, as was, with special emphasis on youth in middle and high school, as well as young adults.

Thomas notes that the fund is to be used to ensure the heritage of the Fine Arts Center as a center for arts education is proactively continued, and that the Fine Arts Center is accessible and relevant to each new generation of audiences.