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Celebration Location!

KCIC inaugurates Celebration Place

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While local adults trying to make " a go of it" in the arts these days may be sifting their pocket lint for penny dust, Colorado Springs is a rootin' tootin' great place to be a young artist. Not only do the ankle-biting Braques and pubescent Picabias have Bemis Art School, they now have Celebration Place, a new youth arts venture at the Citadel Mall to hone the Hans Holbeins, David Hockneys and Hannah Hochs of tomorrow.

On Saturday, May 31, the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration will throw open its doors to a brand-new facility designed to facilitate all the creative endeavors of local youths.

According to special-events coordinator Beth Fox-Kret, the Citadel approached KCIC several years ago about opening a community-oriented arts space in the mall to help further its mission of being more than just a commercial retail outlet.

As such, the Citadel and many other local businesses donated the time, labor and materials needed to renovate the space into a 3,740 square-foot "workshop, performance and exhibition space" that will exist in a rent-free dreamworld few arts organizations ever get to experience.

"This really has been a labor of love," said Mary Mashburn, executive director of KCIC, citing all of the incredible people who "came together to make Celebration Place happen. ... We realized it would just be really special to have a place where we could have workshops, rehearsals, exhibitions and performances. We couldn't afford to rent the Fine Arts Center anymore. Prices were just too high."

Mashburn says she is excited that Celebration Place will be in such an accessible location.

"It's a wonderful place where kids can come from all different high schools, junior highs and elementary schools and not feel like they're on someone else's turf. ... The Citadel gives us a place where a lot of children can walk over and take the bus."

Mashburn is also pleased that the space will be available to any local youth arts organizations that want to use the space.

Saturday's festivities will include a parade from the Food Court to the new facility (kids can participate by dressing as their favorite storybook characters), the ribbon cutting ceremony, public performances, a show of local student artwork and snacks.

Formal activities begin on Wednesday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. with Patti Smithsonian's Puppet Workshop.

For a full lineup of events and activities, go to www.imaginationcelebration.org.

--Noel Black

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