Noel Black, Craig Richardson and Delaney Utterback, co-producers of KRCC’s “The Big Something,” are out to recreate the Colorado Springs self-portrait.
For generations this Midwest City has had a bad rap, and it is not just on our campus. Reviews of the city on the popular Yelp.com cite a lack of diversity, extreme conservatism, high suicide rates, and continuous commercial development as contributors to what is described as a stagnant, concrete wasteland of a town.
In effort to change this image, Black, Richardson and Utterback spearheaded “The Big Something” in 2009. The production, which primarily comprises on daily written posts complete with music, photo and video components, was an attempt to expand the influence of KRCC from solely public radio to public media as a whole.
“What we do is regional archaeology. We dig up overlooked histories and forgotten stories in order to present a more diverse, complex and interesting narrative of the Pikes Peak region,” Black said.
This week “The Big Something” takes on new form as an exhibition with the same moniker in the Coburn Gallery, thanks to the combined efforts of Black, Richardson, Utterback, and Marina Eckler, who serves as the assistant curator at the IDEA space. The gallery space is located in Worner Center nearest to the Cache La Poudre-facing entrance and is open from 1pm to 7 pm. “The Big Something” exhibit opened October 30 and will close November 20.
“It was a natural fit to do an exhibit. It allows getting people together physically, something that is not possible online,” Black said. This is the first event-style production of “The Big Something.”
The exhibition features a variety of artifacts from the Pikes Peak region. Fish tank biblical scenes by local pastor Iva Bowers and toy designs by artist Sean O’Meallie are a few examples.
Included in the exhibit is photography by Black, himself, striving to expose the strangeness that lurks beneath the beautiful veneer of this region. Works by local photographers Myron Wood and Jon Suhay are also exhibited.
Additionally, on loan from the Pioneer’s Museum, are two ornate wreaths made entirely of human hair. This antique craft was popular during the Victorian era, but has been long forgotten.
“The fact that a post master from Manitou Springs made the hair pieces, blows my mind,” Student Life Specialist Bethany Grubbs said, in reaction to the works by ___. Grubbs then elaborated on another exhibit element that highlights local flavor. “The Penny Arcade is a huge piece of Americana and it’s a large piece of culture within Manitou Springs.”
The penny arcade game, Lady PacMan, is a functioning game that visitors to the exhibit are welcome to play.
“We are looking for things that will never be presented or covered. We want to show the whole complicated picture […] not just the mountain vista view,” Black said.
In reaction to the exhibit, senior Art Studio major John Christie said, “I think this is awesome. I feel like the landscape and the culture in Colorado Springs is very quickly overlooked by people at CC. I find [the culture] to be interesting and substantial. It’s nice to see that there’s a show that highlights these aspects.”
KRCC, or Radio Colorado College, has existed in junction with the school for decades. Founded in 1944 by Woodson “Chief” Tyree, Director of the Radio and Drama Department at Colorado College at the time, the radio station began production in the basement of Bemis Hall. Despite the evolution and relocation of the station, KRCC continues to foster a close relationship with the Colorado College campus.
The local NPR radio station often sponsors musical performances on campus, as well as offering intensive internships for students. Furthermore, KRCC is the sponsor of the SOCC student radio station.
Black hopes that “The Big Something” exhibit will “remind people that [KRCC] is part of Colorado College” and encourage students to dismantle the “packaged idea of what life outside campus is, and to go see what is out there.
For more information on KRCC programs and events, visit http://radiocoloradocollege.org/