They experienced art in the best of ways.

Little ones skipping down the polished hallways of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, gleefully pointing out to their parents the colorful and, unbeknownst to them, quite often famous works of art.

A crowd estimated at 1,000 — some veterans of the center and many others on their first visits — had a jam-packed and free culture day Jan. 26 as the FAC kicked off its 100th anniversary celebration year.

The event featured history, hands-on painting and weaving, photography, glassblowing, throwing on the potters wheel and the breathtaking Chihuly “Orange Hornet” chandelier in the center of its own room. Southwestern art and textiles were admired and studied.

Guests quietly gazed at works of art, with some reading the story of each piece. In the Tactile Gallery, visitors enjoyed a sensory please-touch experience.

People stayed for hours. And many grabbed lunch at Taste, overlooking the park below and the mountains beyond.

Members were treated to a reception and a special screening of a film about beloved muralist Eric Bransby, who at age 102 was there to enjoy every minute of the adoration and appreciation. Eyes twinkling, and a smile never leaving his face as he sat beneath one of his famous murals, he endured teasing about the artist-worthy neon green laces in his shoes.

The day was capped with a special VIP reception.

It was a perfect time for what had begun 100 years ago as the prestigious Broadmoor Art Academy.

And it was only the beginning, with special features planned all year long. A glitzy gala is slated for Sept. 7 and, on Oct. 12, another free community event will celebrate the official birthday and a legacy exhibition of the years of the Broadmoor Art Academy with art from collections from across the country.

For the year’s schedule:

Photo gallery:

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