A peek at the Fine Arts Center's upcoming Families and more



Families are such powerful subjects in art. Take any image of Abraham and Isaac for the high drama, or some Dutch Baroque-period works for serenity. Both situations are gripping, at least in their own way.

But what about families of today? They certainly look different now, with same-sex couples, more single parents and the like.

That's the aim behind the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's next multidisciplinary show, Families, which kicks off Feb. 23. Like Conflict | Resolution and NASA | Art: 50 Years of Exploration before it, Families will encompass the museum, the theater and the Bemis School of Art.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Progressive

The museum has scheduled A Family Affair: Selections from the Progressive Art Collection and Mother: Photographs by Carol S. Dass. The former is a multimedia exhibit from the insurance corporation, which has accrued more than 7,800 pieces since it started collecting contemporary art in 1974. Mother, meanwhile, is a series of pictures taken by local artist Dass, as she grows to experience her mother as a person beyond "that role of the woman who carried me in her womb, raised me the best that she could, and will in many ways continue to view me as a child regardless of my age."

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Progressive
  • Courtesy of the Progressive Corporation.
  • TR Ericsson, "Everyday is Like Sunday," Porcelain decorated in blue toile. Edition 1/3, 2006.

Over on the theater side, the FAC will produce Other Desert Cities, a new play that follows a fictitious, semi-famous Palm Springs family about to unravel when one daughter brings home her draft of a tell-all memoir. Other Desert Cities was nominated for five Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize in 2012. This show will be the Colorado premiere of the play.

As part of its second-stage season (a handful of plays and events held in the Music Room upstairs), the FAC will also put on Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, an all-ages musical about a trip to the laundromat that goes terribly wrong. (For those of you who've ever lost a beloved toy, you know what I mean.) It's based on the award-winning children's book by Mo Willems (a big-time Emmy winner), who helped convert it to the stage with Grammy-winning composer Michael Silversher.

Rough Writers, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

Come April, the second-stage season will also bring about Rough Writers: A New Play Fest. For this, the FAC put out a call for scripts that respond to one of three works in the Families exhibits. About 12 chosen submissions — which can be 10 minutes, or one act, or a full full-length play or musical — will then be read to the audience for feedback, and then those will be judged by "a panel of theatre professionals" which will decide on a winning script to be fully staged in the FAC's big theater next season.

By the way, you can still submit a script; entries are due Feb. 14.

Ormao Dance Company will also perform an original piece for the FAC from April 12 through 14, and the Story Project will hold a session based on the idea of contemporary family struggles April 5.

Lastly, Bemis has scheduled a full slate of classes for all ages, from kids museum tours to a wine and watercolor course.

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