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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Christo’s “Over the River” Project

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A dream in the making since 1992 – Christo’s “Over the River” project has been one with its trials and tribulations.

Not only does this artistic project extend beyond anyones imagination of possible outdoor art, it also reaches into some environmental issues and controversial topics.

Christo’s plan (as seen in the image) is to suspend 5.9 miles of fabric over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City in south-central Colorado.

Cool? Some say yes, some are unsure.

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Summer Concerts at Mishawaka

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Its that time of year again! To start planning out your summer concert agenda. And what better place to kick off your musical entertainment then at the legendary music venue, Mishawaka Amphitheatre.

Standing in Poudre Canyon in Bellvue, CO ‘The Mish’ can be found 13.7 miles up the Poudre Canyon Highway.

“Mishawaka’s restaurant and bar are open year round, as is the The SpokesBUZZ Lounge (formally known as the Dancehall space). The outdoor amphitheatre is open seasonally from late May to late September. The indoor venue legal capacity is 154 and the Amphitheatre holds 752.”

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Innovative Glass Art Featured in Fort Collins

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Dale Chihuly has been recognized as one of the most innovative, creative, and skilled glass artist today.

His talent has been mastered over the years starting with an educational background at the University of Wisconsin, to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and then in 1968 was given the opportunity to work in Venice, Italy to work at the Venini glass factory. His craft was guided in Italy by observing the team at Venini work their creative approach to blowing glass, which is now an essential part of his art today.

“His work is included in more than 200 hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including ten honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.” (

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Denver Post’s Pulitzer Prize-Winner Named Photographer of the Year

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Craig F. Walker has been named “Newspaper Photographer of the Year” by the Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International competition. One of the most well known and highly respected photojournalism contests in the world.

Walker has worked for the Denver Post since 1998 and was honored by receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his work on a feature collection of photographs. For over 27 months he documented the transition of Ian Fisher and his journey from being a high school graduate to a soldier engaged in the Iraq war.

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Best-selling science writer Dava Sobel will be speaking in Fort Collins

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Best-selling science writer Dava Sobel will be speaking in Fort Collins at 7 p.m., October 16, at the Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect. The event is free and open to the public – no tickets are required. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and seating will be on a first come, first served basis (maximum capacity of 500 people). A book signing and sales will follow the program.

Sobel, author of Longitude and Galleo’s Daughter, will be talking about her latest book, A More Perfect Heaven (to be released October 2011), in which she realizes her long-standing dream to write a play about Nicolaus Copernicus.

“And the Sun Stood Still,” the centerpiece of my new book, dramatizes the events that convinced Copernicus to publish his “crazy” ideas concerning the Earth’s motion. The nonfiction narrative surrounding the play tells the facts of his life story and traces the impact of his seminal book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, to the present day.

For more information about the author and her books, visit:

This is part of a series of free author evenings presented by sponsored by Friends of the CSU Libraries the Poudre River Friends of the Library, and sponsored by KUNC Radio and the Hilton Fort Collins.

For more information about the event, contact Jane Barber at (970) 491-5712 or

Written by Beet Street

October 14th, 2011 at 8:56 am

Music marches on

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The impact music has on our lives may vary individually, but there’s no denying its rock solid place in history. In fact, Wes Kenney, Music Director of the Fort Collins Symphony (FCS), likens it to a living museum. Whether it’s an orchestra or an opera, the instruments played are the same ones designed centuries ago, and even the music itself might be as relevant now as when written so long ago.

If you held up an LP record in front of a room, you could have an entire generation asking, “What’s that?”

Can you hear me now?!

“The medium changes, but the sound lives on.”

These are a few of the ideas Kenney will explore at this week’s Art Cafe.

The renowned conductor was taken as a youngster to see the original show of “The Music Man,” starring Robert Preston. The song “76 Trombones” struck a chord with him and when his family moved to Southern California shortly after that, he was given the opportunity to learn and play that very instrument. After a few years of playing in bands and ensembles, Kenney got a chance at the other side of the podium and never looked back.

In addition to music, he also pursued sports and says there’s a call for coordination in both disciplines.

“I call musicians the micro athletes,” he explained.

His musical career wove its way through Vienna, California, Bulgaria, Virginia and beyond as he found his way to Northern Colorado. It would be easier to list the things he hasn’t accomplished on that journey, and he quickly suggested that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro still needed to be checked off. Bucket list notwithstanding, Kenney has an impressive resume and was jointly hired by CSU and the FCS eight years ago.

Significantly, his audition for the Fort Collins Symphony was in 2003, on the same day as the Challenger Disaster. The three-movement piece he played dealt with grief, souls passing and celebration. It was written independent of the tragedy, yet harmonious in its timing. The conductor points out that we often turn to our artists in the wake of catastrophe.

“What are you listening to now?”

Wes Kenney, Music Director of the Fort Collins Symphony

Wes Kenney follows that question with the speculation of what will be serenading us in ten years. We already know that Mozart and Beethoven have stood the test of time, and Elvis, Sinatra and the Beatles enjoy a regular resurgence in popularity. But will we be listening to Lady Gaga or Eminem in the next century?

Don’t miss this Wednesday’s Art Café for a fascinating discussion on the impact of music on our past, present and future. As always, it starts at 5:30 p.m. at Avogadro’s in Ft. Collins.

I’m curious now, what are you listening to today that you think will stand the test of a decade?

Written by Susan Richards

April 26th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

FCMOCA becomes FCMOA and exhibits a legend

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“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed and is, thereby a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety.”  -Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art is now the Fort Collins Museum of Art and to celebrate this transformation the museum is hosting an American legend. Currently, MOA is exhibiting Ansel Adams: Masterworks from the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

The exhibit not only represents some of Ansel Adams most famous photographs, the artist handpicked this particular collection as some of his personal favorites. Adams, born on February 20, 1902 in San Francisco, California, was the only child of a businessman and grandson of a wealthy timber baron. The family lost their fortune in 1907, and Adams’ father was never able to gain it back.

Not particularly successful in school Adams loved the outdoors. At age 12, Adams began playing the piano and by 1920 he had set on this activity as a career path. It was not to be. In 1919, Adams had joined the Sierra Club and he took a lot of photographs during his time working for the club in Yosemite. His first published photographs appeared in the club’s bulletin.

You can find out more about Adams’ life at the museum’s display, which includes a timeline of his life and work on the walls of the exhibit room. Get an in depth look at the artist at

At the opening night of the Adams’ exhibit, the crowd learned that it has been 30 years since Fort Collins has seen an art exhibit of this kind. In 1981, Andy Warhol exhibited at Colorado State University.

Ryan Keiffer, Executive Director of Beet Street spoke at the event, and stressed that it is important to for Fort Collins residents to see the city as an arts community, not just for outsiders to consider Fort Collins as an arts community.

Melissa Katsimpalis, president of the museum board, spoke about the new mission of the museum. She said the museum board listened to the community and realized that they needed to broaden their horizons and feature “a variety of arts across the ages.” The museum wants their new logo, a black and white design by Anne Vetter, to express that they are a vibrant organization. “We believe this new logo will stand the test of time,” said Katsimpalis.

The Ansel Adams exhibit is upstairs in the main gallery, but when you visit don’t miss the Michael Gregory show downstairs. Gregory’s work, colorful paintings featuring gigantic skyscapes and decapitated barn buildings, is definitely in contrast with Adams’ black and white photography, yet the art is connected. Both men enjoyed capturing the scenery that depicts the American experience. The simultaneous shows work well together.

Both exhibits run through March 15, 2011. The Fort Collins Museum of Art is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesdays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and $5 for children ages 7 to 18. Children 6 and under are free. Admission is free for museum members.

For more information about the museum, including membership, visit

Move Without Movement: Midtown to Old Town

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The banner across College avenue read: “Welcome from the Midtown Merchants.” I had just moved to Fort Collins. The banner was only a few blocks from my house. Thus, I had come to live in midtown Fort Collins.

I live in that house today, but my house and I have moved from Midtown to Old Town. The final nail in the coffin of my midtown life was struck in 2010 by the planners doing the Midtown Study. The northernmost boundary of that study is almost a mile from my home.

As far as I know, none of my neighbors nor neighborhood business owners protested the boundaries. Nor do I hear rustling from ghosts of others who have moved into my house since 1905. The early ones may have known our neighborhood as “the South End” and later, perhaps, “Campus East.” I came rather recently, 1977. I believe most of us relics would agree: the move downtown, the move into Old Town has been a good move.

For brief whiles we went without a hardware store, without any kind of clothing store. For a long while we endured without a convenient movie theater. These have returned and are returning. It is even possible that there were years when we were fewer—people who often find it easier to walk and bicycle to Mountain and College than to drive. For a time, kids’ toys and kids’ wheels were disappearing from porches and sidewalks. When I moved in it was hard to find a college student east of Campus West, a high school student north of Montgomery Wards (Need I say Whole Foods?). Yet they came and they came back—to old and refurbished spaces, to new lofts, new places.

To stroll alone through rejuvenated Campus East and Downtown is to be with people. Everywhere are scenes worthy to be painted and photographed.—peopled scenes with modest displays of architecture, greenery, art, and signage as background. Just as van Gogh alternated among several canvasses when he painted his observations of haystacks at different hours of the day, so too we watch peopled scenes in Old Town change from hour to hour, street to street, nook to cranny, season to season. Our ages, sizes and wardrobes change seamlessly.

Want to know who is in town? Walk the streets of Old Town; look around. Sport teams of teens? High-tech geeks? Families of friends? Friends of families? Ask strangers why they are here? Something about Old Town Fort Collins makes them want to answer.

Something about Old Town Fort Collins makes me want to write.


Written by Bob Komives

December 27th, 2010 at 9:19 am

Slouch Socks, Scrunchies and Side Ponies: Old Town Square Turns 25 and Brings Back the 1980s

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It was the year of New Coke, Back to the Future, Calvin Hobbes, MacGyver, Tetris and The Golden Girls. President Reagan began his second term, Americans started buying CDs, a gallon of Gas cost $1.09 and the average movie ticket was $2.75 (Source: Musicians around the globe came together to record “We are the World” and Madonna released “Crazy for You.”

Construction of Old Town Square

Construction of Old Town Square

The year was 1985 and the look of downtown Fort Collins had changed dramatically – and it had nothing to do with the big hair and layered look of the 80s. Old Town Square opened to the public. It was built to be the pulse of downtown Fort Collins and has since grown into a nationally-known cultural, shopping and entertainment destination. The project which was conceived in the early 80s and opened in 1985, combined renovations of historic buildings and construction of new buildings.

This Friday, Fort Collins celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of Old Town Square with a huge 1980s Square Party.
Old Town Square construction

Old Town Square construction

The event is hosted by Beet Street, the City of Fort Collins, the Downtown Business Association and the Downtown Development Authority. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite 80s fashions and can enjoy food, a Coopersmith anniversary brew and live 80’s music. Over 50 downtown businesses are offering discounts and specials to celebrate the anniversary.

I spoke with Ed Stoner, president of Old Town Square Properties, who was on the City Council when the bonding for Old Town Square was approved. When I asked him about the significance of the Old Town Square development, he said, “When visitors come to Fort Collins, there are typically four locations that locals take their visitors to see: Old Town Square, the Poudre River, Brewery Tours and Horsetooth Reservoir.”

Stoner, whose office overlooks the fountain says what he enjoys most is that “On almost any weekend starting in mid May through September, you can count on something happening in Old Town Square.” In fact, starting next month, Streetmosphere will bring all kinds of performers to the streets of Old Town, particularly in the square.   

 Bringing the Vision to Life

The opening of Old Town Square

The opening of Old Town Square

Today, Old Town Square is a must-visit destination in downtown Fort Collins, but bringing the vision to life wasn’t a walk in the park in the midst of the Savings and Loan crisis that struck a similar note to the current economic downturn. In fact, Stoner comments that the crisis was what he remembers most about the 80s. The Coloradoan created a timeline of the history of Old Town Square and also spoke to the developer Gene Mitchell about the challenges of bringing the vision to life.

 Bringing Back the 1980s

What are your favorite 80’s memories? Believe it or not, I used to perm just my bangs to get the desired height and volume. My favorite accessories? Jelly shoes and my Espirit bag! Stoner says his 80’s favorites include: Footloose, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, Born in the USA, In the Air Tonight and Jump. On Friday he’ll either be sporting an 80’s bowling shirt, or if it still fits, a triple knit three-piece suit he saved from the 80s.

Grab your Trapper Keeper and Boom Box and get down to the square to celebrate this weekend. If you need some help deciding what to wear, here is a list of 80’s fashions to help you pick out your digs.

 Women’s clothes, accessories and hair ideas

  • Leg warmers
  • Slouch socks
  • Tight rolled jeans
  • Banana clips
  • Blue eye shadow
  • Teased bangs: the bigger and higher, the better… Lots and lots of Aqua Net!
  • Jelly bracelets and jelly shoes
  • Pumps with socks
  • Lacy leggings
  • Cut up t-shirts worn off the shoulder (air brushed, even better)
  • Crimped hair

 Men’s clothes, accessories and hair ideas

  • Mohawks and mullets
  • Rock band t-shirts
  • Leather jackets
  • Rolled up sleeves and jeans
  • Stonewashed jeans
  • Jams and Hammer pants
  • High Tops
  • Chuck Taylors
  • Skinny ties
  • T-shirt under a blazer – think Don Johnson, Miami Vice 

The Details

  • 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Square Party…like it’s 1985 in Old Town Square
  • Live 80’s music
  • Wear your favorite 80’s fashions
  • Enjoy Coppersmith’s Anniversary Beer
  • Free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the first 250 people
  • Appearance by the Ghostbusters Movie Car and Characters
  • Food and Beverage available
  • For more information:
  • Over 50 downtown businesses are offering discounts and specials to celebrate the anniversary

Written by TanyaFlynn

May 19th, 2010 at 7:57 am

Hike Through History: Soapstone, a Must-Do Adventure Close to Home

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Photo by Charlie Johnson, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program

Photo by Charlie Johnson, Courtesy of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine played hooky from work and suggested we hike at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. If you’re not familiar with Soapstone, it’s probably because it only opened to the public in 2009. However, archaeologists have been talking about the Lindenmeier Archaeological Site, which is part of Soapstone, since the Smithsonian and Colorado Museum of Natural History excavated it in the 1930s.

I really enjoyed Soapstone, but before I went the first time, I wish I would have researched it to get even more out of the experience. I thought it was a very peaceful place to hike with some great views. There is something about prairie grass swaying in the breeze that makes it easy to forget your troubles… But I had no idea the Lindenmeier Archaeological Site is considered “One of the most important archaeological finds in the Western Hemisphere,” according The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center.

Learn a little about Soapstone before you go
Soapstone is about 25 miles from downtown Fort Collins, but there is much you can learn about it before you get there. I suggest some quick visits to the Fort Collins Convention & Visitors Bureau Downtown Information Center (19 Old Town Square) and The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center (200 Mathews Street). At the end of this post, I include a suggested itinerary to get the most out of your day at Soapstone. Particularly for families, Soapstone offers a great mix of adventure and education.

The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center put together a great booklet about the excavation that can also be downloaded online: To see first hand some of the artifacts found at the Lindenmeier site and immerse yourself in its history, visit the museum’s The Discovery exhibit – its collection is only rivaled by the Smithsonian. Additional artifacts were added to the exhibit last year to celebrate the opening of Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

Stop by the Downtown Information Center to pick up a map and ask questions about Soapstone. The map can also be found on the City of Fort Collins Web site along with background information and an overview of the different trails.

Photo by Charlie Johnson, Courtesy of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program

Photo by Charlie Johnson, Courtesy of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program

The History
According to the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center, the Lindenmeier excavation site was “the smoking gun that proved humans had lived on this continent for at least 10,500 years.” It is an Ice Age Indian site that archaeologists say sheds light on a culture many didn’t believe existed in North America. According to the booklet from the museum, at the time it was believed humans had only been on the continent 3,000 to 4,000 years, thus the extreme interest from the Smithsonian in this site.

What was also significant according to the museum booklet, is how much more advanced people of the Ice Age were than what was previously thought. Archaeologists learned people of this time stayed in one place longer (but weren’t afraid to travel), were more socially inclined and had a wide variety of functional and decorative items. It wasn’t just about hunting and gathering – apparently even back then in Fort Collins, lifestyle mattered.

Make a Day Out of It

  • Download a map, determine which trail(s) you want to hike and get directions.
  • Pack some lunches to eat at Soapstone.
  • Visit The Discovery exhibit at The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center in the morning to see artifacts from the Lindenmeier excavation and learn more about the history of the site. Take a copy of The Excavation at Lindenmeier booklet with you or better yet, download it here and read it before you go:
  • Before or after your hike, have lunch at the Lindenmeier Overlook (0.3 miles from the trailhead), a unique picnic area with some great views.
  • Hike the Towhee Loop, the Mahogany Loop or part of both. Be sure to spend a little time on the Canyon Trail, which can be your connection between the two loops.

The Details

  • The Lindenmeier Archaeological Site is part of the Fort Collins’ Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (SPNA). You can also hike between Soapstone and the Red Mountain Open Space.
  • Soapstone Prairie National Park is open daily March through November from dawn until dusk.
  • Admission is free and parking is available.
  • Different trails are open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in cars parked at Soapstone.
  • For directions, a map and summary of the trails, visit

Soapstone opened in March for the 2010 season. We went late in the day, so we mainly hiked the Towhee Loop. However, we did connect to the Canyon Trail for a bit at the top, which even inspired us to jog. It looks like it’s going to be a nice weekend, so I say there is no time like the present to hit the trails. Where do you like to hike? Have you been to Soapstone? Share your experiences here. Also if you have any questions, I will try to find the answers.

Written by TanyaFlynn

April 7th, 2010 at 8:56 am