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Jesse Swedlund

Meet Our Jan Member of the Month: Jesse Swedlund

Why did you become a member of the Fine Arts Center?

I grew up in the Colorado College community, so I remember visiting the Fine Arts Center quite a bit growing up. It wasn’t until this last summer that I became an official member of the Fine Arts Center. At the annual gala, I received the first ever Student Membership Prize which was made possible through the generosity of Kirkpatrick Bank. I was honored to receive this award not only so that I could take advantage of the perks of being a member at the Fine Arts Center, but also because of what it means in light of the alliance between the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College.

When did your interest in the arts begin?

I have been interested in the arts as far back as I can remember. Throughout my time in school I was very involved in music and theater productions, and was always drawing in my free time. Going into college I wanted to be a history major but soon realized that my passion lies in the arts. I am currently an art history major and museum studies minor. I am inspired by the way the visual arts are able to communicate ideas across cultures and the power of museums to facilitate this type of conversation.

What has been one of your favorite experiences at the FAC?

One recent exhibit that I particularly enjoyed was Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico. I was excited to have the chance to actually see works of art by O’Keeffe which I had previously studied. This exhibit was also special in that it brought the work of such an important artist of the Southwest to Colorado. This to me is what makes the Fine Arts Center so special in that it provides a space for people in Colorado Springs to explore and understand the artistic heritage of the Southwest.

What is your favorite work of art at the FAC?

My favorite artwork at the Fine Arts Center would probably be God Bless You All, a painting by Howard Finster. The painting depicts a central figure surrounded by giraffes and Bible verses. This piece strikes me because it represents the genre of folk art and is so different from everything else around it. In reading about this piece, I learned that Finster was a Baptist priest who produced thousands of paintings throughout his life to communicate the word of God. While the subject matter of this painting is quite unusual, one can see Finster’s passion and religious fervor in the expressiveness of this piece which I thought made it quite special.

What else do you do for fun in Colorado Springs?

I grew up near Garden of the Gods, so I have always enjoyed hiking and exploring that area. I also love exploring the shops around Manitou Springs. Manitou has such a distinct and special culture, and no matter how many times I visit, I never fail to find something new and exciting. I also went to school in Manitou, and feel that it contributes a lot to the artistic culture of the Colorado Springs region.