Art Focused + Student Centered

Bemis School of Art: Constantly Evolving Art Instruction

Article by Cara Bukacek

Photography by Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College

Originally published in Colorado Springs Lifestyle

In 1919, Julie Penrose opened the Broadmoor Art Academy in her private home to provide a space where teachers and students could foster a vibrant art community in the Pikes Peak region. 

After the Great Depression, Penrose along with her colleagues Alice Bemis Taylor and Elizabeth Sage Hare decided it was time to grow the academy and relocate to a more public space. In 1936, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center opened to the public and it featured a museum, theatre, and art school.

Bemis School of Art 

The Bemis School of Art, named after benefactor Taylor, offers courses in drawing, painting and sculpting with a wide range of mediums. They also offer courses in pottery, printmaking, mixed media and wood turning.

“Whatever your artistic interest, age or skill level, we have classes to drive your passions at the Fine Arts Center’s Bemis School of Art,” according to the website. “Experienced artists and art instructors, large studios, and limited class sizes create a motivational and supportive environment to explore and develop your talents.”  

With small class sizes, instructors at Bemis are able to provide more individualized attention and guidance. 

The school’s approach to learning is “art focused and student centered,” says Director Tara Sevanne.

Bemis is ever evolving its course catalog to fit the interests and needs of students. For instance, they recently offered a course on how to paint a car that was met with great interest and success.

Art is for Everyone

“The proudest moments for me come from providing a high-quality art experience to people who otherwise couldn’t afford it or didn’t know how to bring art into their lives,” Sevanne says.  

In the spirit of making art accessible to all, Sevanne explains how the art school provides special programs for military veterans and families, young adults with autism, children in the justice system or who are struggling with PTSD and kids who are struggling to find themselves and their voice. There is also limited financial assistance for those who qualify.

The Bemis School of Art offers, but does not require, membership. The rewards of being a member include advanced class registration, member tours, member-only programming/events and various discounts. The school also hosts events like Wine & Watercolor, Free Family Adventure Days and Family Friendly Fridays. 

More information about the Bemis School of Arts and events can be found below.

Instagram: @bemisschoolofart
Facebook: @BemisSoA

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