Colorado College, Fine Arts Center receive funding boost
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Dave and Diana Tohlen, left, of Colorado Springs, lead their friends Pat King, second from right, and Mary Anne Johnson, right, from Mesa, Ariz., through the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, and past the photos in local photographer Aaron Anderson's Periphery show. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

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The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College recently announced changes that will appeal to arts fans far and wide.

Reduced admission prices, extended hours and additional theater performances come courtesy of "Excellence, Access and Collaboration," the strategic plan worked on by more than 3,000 community members over nearly a year to allow CC to fully integrate the center's building, art collection and $2 million debt into the college by 2020. CC assumed full operational management of the center July 1.

The agreement calls for a four-year transition to integrate the center's three program areas into the college. Focus on the museum began in July and will move to the Bemis School of Art in July 2018 and the performing arts in July 2019.

"After spending a bunch of time talking and listening to the community," said FAC Director Erin Hannan, "what we heard loud and clear is it was important to our Colorado Springs residents that we have a level of accessibility that invited a wide swath of the community to participate here."

Changes include:

- Beginning Friday, the public will pay $10 for museum admission. Rates to attend past exhibits varied, but the price now will stay consistent.

Active-duty and retired military and seniors 55 and older will pay $5. The museum also participates in the Blue Star Museums program, which provides active-duty and retired military personnel and their families free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day every year. Children 12 and younger always have been admitted for free, but now that offer will extend to all students and teachers with a valid ID from any school in the country, including high schools, trade schools and higher education institutions.

- Beginning Sept. 9, the museum will add a second free day on the second Saturday of the month. This is in addition to the current free day on the third Friday of the month.

- Hours will be extended from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sunday hours will remain 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the museum will be closed Mondays beginning this Monday.

- The theater department will add Wednesday evening shows for all main stage productions in the 2017-18 season. Tickets will be $20.

A&E and features reporter

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