Bob Hadley & Pat Topping – Fine Arts Center members for one year
Why did you become a member of the FAC?
Pat: I wanted to be able to visit whenever I wanted, and not rely on the free days so much. I am on a fixed income and it was a stretch to purchase a higher level membership so that Robert could be included. But I have found I come more often and I always feel so relaxed, yet energized, after a visit.
Bob: It was a gift from my Beautiful Lady…
When did your interest in the arts begin?
Bob: My formal introduction to the arts was in kindergarten. Mrs. Kohlstead tried to expose the class to every aspect of the arts– music, painting and even opera. My grandmother was instrumental in the introduction of opera though. My parents were also a factor. My father played piano and my mother sang with a jazz band during WWII.
Pat: I think it was in the 7th grade, in art class. I wasn’t very good at anything, but part of the class was art appreciation and history, and our teacher was good at exposing us to different things. I fell in love with Salvador Dali’s work; that dripping clock I understood! His work just somehow resonated. I remember all I asked for that year for Christmas was a book about him. My parents gave me a wonderful coffee-table book about him and his work (I still have it) and that first delight just grew over the years.
What has been one of your favorite plays, classes or exhibits at the FAC?
Pat: Lots of exhibits pop up – the Birger Sandzén exhibit (Sandzén in Colorado, 2011) comes immediately to mind. I love his work, and have been to the Sandzén gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas, twice. But two things that really stand out are the current Continuance exhibit and the play, Chicago (2003), from a few years back. I like industrial art and simply can’t get enough of Chuck and Collins’s exhibit Continuance. That huge circle of light is wondrous (Divided, 2013). I can sit for hours and watch it. I would love to see the FAC purchase some of the exhibit pieces for the permanent collection.
Bob: Hands down, Continuance: Charles and Collin Parson(2014), the exhibit was awesome. The Artist & Curator Conversation forum (which took place Feb. 7, 2015) with the artists and staff was amazing. To be able to get the thought process and ideas from beginning to end: art in motion, the conception, birth and raising of a baby. I think the forum is essential to understanding and appreciating the artwork.
What is your favorite work of art on display at the FAC right now?
Bob: Collin Parson’s sixteen foot circle (Divided, 2013). When I first viewed it, the room was relatively empty. It gave me, a combat vet with PTSD issues, a sense of peace. When I conveyed this to Collin, it affected him. All I want to say to him is thanks. It is a very powerful, tranquil piece. Art should affect a person and this piece does. I’m grateful to be able to tell him how it affected me at the Artist & Curator Conversation forum hosted at the FAC. I feel that the FAC staff wants the community to really immerse itself in the world of art, not just the displays, but during the social gatherings like the first Saturday Monthly Member Tours, and just being approachable by all. It’s a very welcoming attitude.
Pat: Besides the Continuance exhibit, one piece I love is the Vance Kirkland (Vibrations of Scarlet on Blue and Green, No. 5, 1969) that is currently on display. I have also been a member of the Kirkland Museum in Denver, and think he is underappreciated.
What else do you like to do for fun in Colorado Springs?
Pat: Besides follow the Broncos and the Avalanche? Hiking, road trips for any reason but especially to see my grandkids, TheatreWorks, movies, needlepoint and embroidery (I belong to the Embroiders’ Guild of America. For the past 10 years I have enjoyed learning new techniques about fibers, fabric, color and texture, and have started designing some of my own work), playing with my dog (who wants to play Frisbee until my arm falls off), and I read, read, read!
Bob: We, my lady Pat and I, are members of TheatreWorks, and the Colorado Springs Conservatory’s The Mezzanine. Between those and the FAC we manage to keep busy. We also like to travel, play with our dogs (read kids), restore old cars (works of art in themselves… could be a future exhibit!! Hint, hint), and work on our house.
To hear what else Bob & Pat had to say about the Fine Arts Center, check out the video below!