Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group


Arts and culture for the end of the year

By Griffin Swartzell | CSMNG Staff Writer

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, and at this time of year, it can be hard to find things to do that have nothing to do with it. Even those who do celebrate can sometimes use a breather, either to share with the family or to get some time away. Whatever the case, the events and exhibits below offer a sample of culture in the Springs without being Santa-centric. Many of the attractions we’ve chosen to spotlight below remain open between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, a week that tends to lack big draws.

(Dis)Information: American Indians Through the Lens of Roland Reed

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
215 S Tejon St, 385-5990,
On display through Jan. 5 — check online for hours.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, but nobody ever said those words were truth. Roland Reed, pictorialist photographer, was known for his work romanticizing Native American life before the reservation system. His images, while gorgeous, featured constructed and planned scenes that had little to do with reality. To offer visitors insight into the gap between what photographs like Reed’s depicted and the reality that Native Americans face, the Pioneers Museum is working with local artist Gregg Deal, who is Pyramid Lake Paiute. He’s made his career in part on opposing and challenging stereotypes about Native lives. This exhibition includes a mixture of Deal’s own work and commentary with historic images constructed by Reed, a juxtaposition between what’s real and what’s merely the prevailing narrative.

Superpower Dogs

U.S. Air Force Academy Planetarium
Enter via USAFA North Gate, North Gate Blvd.,

Shows through Dec. 30 — check online for a list of showtimes.

Actor Chris Evans played Captain American in Disney’s Marvel films, but in this documentary, his narration accompanies the stories of some real-life superheroes of the four-legged variety. Travel around the world and meet some remarkable dog heros. They train for disaster response teams, rescue people from avalanches and the ocean, and even help protect endangered species in Africa. The film also shows the powerful bonds between these dogs and their handlers. Admission is free and seating is first-come, first-served. Be sure to check online for base entry protocols and directions on-base — GPS programs will direct guests through restricted areas.

Guided chocolate tasting

Cacao Chemistry
109 N. Tejon St., 719- 633-3686,

7 to 10:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 28.

Haven’t had enough holiday sweets? Sample some high-end chocolates from locals Cacao Chemistry at its downtown storefront. The store offers four to five different chocolates each night — no reservations needed, kids welcome. But it’s more than just tasting nice sweets. Staff will talk a little bit about the history and the science behind each item they’re sharing. The tasting costs nothing, but it’s easy to walk out with a heavier shopping bag and a lighter wallet.

The Song Remains the Same

Art 111 Gallery & Art Supply
111 E. Bijou St., 719-471-3438,

Through Dec. 31.

Locals most likely know artist Gabriella Doussett from the Bemis School of Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. She’s been teaching there for the last five years. But when she’s not there or working out of the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, she’s making and showing mixed media and sculptural figurative art. Her current exhibition, “The Song Remains the Same,” features pieces that remind her of her favorite songs.

“I’ve always been very inspired by, mostly classic rock and roll, though I like classical and other kinds of music,” she says. She’s delved deep into the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix for this all-2D arts exhibition. Check Art 111’s website for gallery hours.

AdAmAn fireworks display

Pikes Peak

Midnight, Dec. 31

This marks the 98th year that the AdAmAn Club has ascended to the top of Pikes Peak on New Year’s Eve to set off a remarkable fireworks display at midnight. While locals can watch the amazing display from miles around, weather depending, the club will spend the 30th hiking up to Barr Camp, where they’ll spend the night. On the 31st, they’ll summit the peak through whipping winter winds and temperatures that can plummet to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep an eye open around 9 p.m., too. That’s when the club test-fires five shells in memory of the original “frozen five” who ascended the Peak in 1922: Ed Morath, Fred Morath, Fred Barr, Willis Magee and Harry Standley.

Electric Safari

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, 719-633-9925,

5:30 to 8:30 p.m., nightly through Jan. 1.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, named the sixth best zoo in the country by USA Today readers, continues to be a choice attraction for adults and families alike, but it only gets better in the evening. Through Jan. 1, every night sees the zoo glow with colorful lights, including 85 light sculptures. Outside, patrons can deal with the cold around warming fires throughout the park or purchase hot cocoa. Patrons can also enjoy one of the zoo’s many indoor enclosures, getting a close-up experience with giraffes, elephants, monkeys, birds, and more. Throughout the park, watch a variety of special animal enrichment sessions and keeper talks, including face-to-face encounters with smaller animals. Check the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website for a schedule of animal events.

Gallop in the Garden

Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center

1805 N. 30th St., 719-634-6666,

4 to 6 p.m., every Thursday

Get outside! Thanks to comparatively balmy Decembers in the Springs, there’s a good chance the weather will be pleasant enough to take part in the weekly 5k fun run through Garden of the Gods. Enjoy the gorgeous red rocks as the sun sets, following a rotating selection of mapped out routes through the park, including a stroller-friendly route. Dogs are welcome but must be on leashes, and participants must bring bags to clean up after them. First-time participants must fill out a waiver. After 10 runs, participants can purchase a Gallop in the Garden T-shirt.

Arts and culture for the end of the year
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