Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Springs, CO)

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The image is of a vertical mixed media artwork including painted faces, wooden picture frames, a spoked wheel, a rectangle-shaped piece of screen, and a toy fish mounted on a painted background.

Synchro-Mesh #2 by Floyd D. Tunson, part of the exhibition of his work at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in 2005.  Photo courtesy of Floyd D. Tunson

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC), established in 1936 and annually reaching a community audience of 500,000, provides the community with facilities for both visual and performing arts.  FAC comprises three departments: the Taylor Museum, which displays an arts diversity otherwise unavailable to the community; the Bemis School of Art, which reaches more than 6,000 adults and children each year; and the Performing Arts Department, which presents a range of drama classes and workshops in addition to film festivals, theater and dance productions, recitals, and concerts.

In FY 2005, the FAC received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $15,000 in support of an exhibition by Floyd Tunson, a contemporary African-American artist whose work is known for both its high quality and as a reflection of the political and social concerns of being an African American.  This first major survey of Tunson's work took place from January 21 to March 13, 2005, and included pieces created over the past 25 years that reflected the artist's diverse interests in photos, printmakings, drawings, paintings, mixed media, and sculpture.

An integral aspect of this project included community and education outreach designed to narrow the community's cultural gap.  The FAC focused on a specific underserved school district, reaching 743 fifth-grade students in 12 elementary schools.  Prior to a tour of the exhibit, docents from the FAC met with the children in their classrooms to introduce them to contemporary art and Tunson's work.  The FAC also created a catalogue to accompany the exhibit, a DVD interview with Tunson in his studio, and interactive education tools.