#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.
In 1936, what is now the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College opened to massive community praise, with works on display from such renowned artists as Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, and Renoir. To date, the Fine Arts Center is one of El Pomar’s largest grant recipients, promoting valuable art displays and education in the heart of Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
The fine arts are richly engrained in the history of the Pikes Peak region. Initially settled by founder William Jackson Palmer as a colony of fine taste and culture to impress his British wife, “Queen” Mellen, Colorado Springs quickly adopted the moniker “Little London” as a tribute to its high standard of living. This was enriched soon after by the establishment of the Broadmoor Art Academy in 1919 in the former home of Spencer and Julie Penrose. The Broadmoor Art Academy hosted numerous reputable artists as instructors, and provided instruction both indoors and in the beautiful natural areas throughout the city.
After the Great Depression hit in 1929, the Broadmoor Art Academy looked at diversifying and expanding into an entire arts district. Julie Penrose donated her home and property on Dale Street, philanthropist Alice Bemis Taylor donated her extensive art collection, and Elizabeth Sage Hare served as the first President of the Board of Trustees. Together, they opened the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in April 1936. Featuring artwork from the likes of Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, and Renoir, and an infamous bare-footed modern dance performance, the Fine Arts Center saw more than 5,000 visitors in its first week, in a town of only 30,000 people.
In 1949, El Pomar Foundation made a $14,000 grant to the Fine Arts Center for their vibrant educational programs. Continuing the legacy of the Broadmoor Art Academy and the initial vision of Alice Bemis Taylor, the Fine Arts Center still offers hundreds of classes annually in painting, sculpting, photography, drawing, digital art, and more, along with professional theatre productions and world-class art exhibitions. It is one of the Foundation’s ten largest grant recipients to date.
El Pomar in 1949:
In 1949, El Pomar Foundation made 21 grants to 46 organizations, for a total impact of $691,000. The largest grant recipients were: The Diocese of Denver, Colorado College, Glockner Hospital, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Images courtesy of:
The Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art,
©1979 Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.
Spotlight by Matt Nuñez