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Reader: Alice's contributions




Your Jan. 23 article on the Fine Arts Center wonderfully highlighted its 100-year identity as an innovative cultural influence on the Colorado Springs community. (The cover image, incidentally, shows work-in-progress on murals that now hang in the Justice Department, Washington, D.C., painted by Boardman Robinson and students from here).

The article sadly left out a crucial component of its origins: the Taylor Museum. Alice Bemis Taylor, an avid collector of Southwestern Native American and Spanish Colonial art, was one of the three "audacious women who envisioned" this Center. When the Broadmoor Art Academy was experiencing financial challenges in the early 1930s, Mrs. Taylor offered financial assistance via buying the art school's garden to build a small museum to house her collection. Instead, the concept of an all-encompassing, multi-arts Center took hold. (Architect John Gaw Meem incorporated elements of Southwest indigenous architecture in his then-modernistic building; he also married Taylor's niece.) Until fairly recently, the Center's superb collection of Native and Hispanic arts was known as the Taylor Museum at the CSFAC.

One of the innovative aspects of our Fine Arts Center is its integration of forward-thinking arts vision with a founding collection rooted in traditional arts — an aspect epitomized by recent artist-in-residence Virgil Ortiz, whose futuristic sculptures spring from his family heritage of traditional Pueblo potters. In fact, the partnership with Colorado College (arguably analogous, in its influx of new resources, to Mrs. Taylor's financial support long ago), through the Mellon Artists-in-Residence program, has brought three Native Americans to share with the CC students and the community: a fitting echo to the founding Taylor Museum collection.

— Pat Musick

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