She and her husband Bob have made numerous contributions to the arts locally, including their latest project, Marmalade at Smokebrush.
Kat Tudor took some to talk to the CSBJ about Marmalade and local arts in general.
What is Marmalade?
Marmalade is the newest incarnation of the Smokebrush Foundation. It is a place where the healing and the creative arts meet. We are a gallery, studio and workshop space, event facility, and catalyst for new ideas, productions and interactive bliss in the community. We offer classes in yoga, Tai Chi, Qui Gong, Zumba, dance and meditation as well as workshops in painting, drawing, jewelry-making, improvisation, drumming, voice, and many other creative pursuits. We moved into our new facility in December 2010 and had our grand opening as part of a three day festival from April 8-10. The festival included free yoga, a Japanese tea ceremony, a Lakota Peace Pipe ceremony, folding 1,000 Cranes for Peace, a World Dance Party, a poetry slam and a Yogic Spiral for Peace. We continue to participate in First Fridays with a monthly art opening with live music, and we have recently added the Storytelling Project to the line-up.
What’s your connection to the Colorado Springs arts scene? How did you become involved?
I have a long, collaborative history with the Colorado Springs art scene. After graduating from Colorado College with a degree in Studio Art, I settled here and worked with many organizations including the Colorado Springs Symphony, Manitou Arts Academy, Theatreworks, Bemis and Imagination Celebration as a teacher (art, dance, drama, puppet-making, creative writing), choreographer, visual artist, and designer before founding the Smokebrush Foundation in 1992.
Smokebrush was originally located on Nevada Avenue in the building where The Independent is now located . For 10 years. Smokebrush produced world-class theater productions as well as a multi-purpose arts facility. In 2001, my husband, Bob Tudor and I created the Uncle Wilber Fountain, which the Smokebrush Foundation donated to the city of Colorado Springs. Smokebrush relocated to the Depot Arts district in 2003 where we ran a gallery/event space and continued to collaborate with local organizations including the BAC, Futureself, UCCS, Concrete Couch and many others. In 2008, Bob and I created the Quarters for Conservation Stations at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. For the last four years, I have been leading Yogic Spirals for Peace which have taken place in America the Beautiful Park, atop Pikes Peak, in the Cornerstone Arts Center, and in Estes Park at the Yoga Journal Conference. During all this time, I studied yoga around the world and began teaching yoga 8 years ago. I find that art and yoga are very compatible as both help people open up to their creativity and deepest selves.
How have you seen the Colorado Springs arts culture grow?
I have watched the arts scene ebb and flow over the years. Currently, it’s wonderful to see the number of galleries, theater groups and talented artists that make Colorado Springs their home. It is wonderful to have Copper, the Gay and Lesbian Fund, the Bea Vradenburg Foundation and the Pikes Peak Arts Council as supporters and funders for the arts. They make a tremendous difference.
Why is a vibrant arts culture important to a city?
I’m not a very objective about this question because the arts are part of my lifeblood, but I suppose the best way for me to answer this is to compare the atmosphere of Acacia park pre-Uncle Wilber to it’s incarnation post-Uncle Wilber. It was an unhappy, dangerous and depressed area, a place where no one in their right mind would have taken their families to visit. I invite you to head down there this summer and let me know what art has done for the park. Art adds joy and energy to the mix.
Should public money be used to fund the advancement of the arts?
Let’s just say that I’m not going to hold my breath until there’s public funding for the arts.