Illustration of students enjoying a proposed art gallery and studio space.

A record-breaking $1 million gift from the Marie Wash Sharpe Art Foundation is helping to develop the Downtown Studio Campus into a cornerstone for regional arts education as well as a major destination for cultural events in downtown Colorado Springs.

Construction will start this winter, and by the fall of 2017, the Pikes Peak campus at 100 W. Pikes Peak Ave. will be transformed. The centerpiece of the project will be the Marie Walsh Sharpe Creative Commons, a multi-use art studio with state-of-the-art digital as well as traditional art tools. That will be accompanied by a garden/ outdoor studio and another indoor 2-D art studio. Large airplane-hangar-style doors will open to Pikes Peak, taking full advantage of the magnificent view and natural light. These enhancements will boost what is already the only studio-based visual arts program at a public institution of higher education in the Pikes Peak Region. It is used by students, community members and established artists.

With nearly 1,500 visual arts students, 65 visual arts courses and two visual arts degrees, the college is poised to produce a new wave of talented young artists.

“We will be mindful stewards of Ms. Sharpe’s legacy, and we are proud to continue her efforts to inspire young students through art,” said PPCC President Lance Bolton. “We also see these upgrades of our campus and programs fitting in well with the City of Colorado Springs’ Cultural Plan, leveraging its location in the cultural corridor, near the planned Olympic Museum."

The architectural work will be done by Hord Coplan Macht, Inc., which will preserve the integrity of the original structure while making it more functional and stylish.

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See some of the featured art and types of displays at the gallery.

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