Visitors are in for a rare treat as the Van Briggle Pottery on the Colorado College campus opens for a one-day-only tour and Festival on Saturday, September 10. Located off Uintah Street at 1125 Glen Avenue, the historic building offers a wealth of architectural details with tile and stone accents amid the bittersweet story of famed artist Artus Van Briggle and his wife, Anne. The Woman’s Educational Society (WES) of Colorado College invites you join them on site with Festival Friends: Fine Arts Center Bemis School of Art potters, Pioneers Museum, Historic Preservation Alliance, Horticulture Art Society, Friends of Monument Valley Park, and Manitou Springs Heritage Center.
This gorgeous pottery building, placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 2009, was built as a memorial by Anne Van Briggle to her husband Artus. Artus Van Briggle was arguably Colorado Spring’s most prolific contributor to art pottery and the Art Nouveau movement in America at the turn of the 20th century. His bout with tuberculosis brought him to Colorado Springs’ healing climate in 1899. In a few short years, he perfected his ceramic matte glaze in the laboratory of Colorado College chemistry professor William Strieby. Van Briggle also served as Director of the Colorado College art department in 1903. Along with his artist wife Anne, they built a thriving art pottery business on North Nevada Avenue. Sadly, Artus succumbed to tuberculosis on July 4, 1904. Anne, with help from Colorado Springs founder, General William Jackson Palmer, commissioned Dutch architect Nicholaas van den Arend to design the building that now stands at the corner of Uintah Street and Glen Avenue as a memorial to Artus. Van Briggle pottery was produced in this building - which survived fires and flood – until 1968, when the Colorado College bought the building, which now houses the CC Facilities Department.
Van Briggle pieces are displayed at the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, the Kirkland Museum in Denver, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The local Pioneers Museum has the largest Van Briggle museum collection worldwide. The pottery building was featured on the PBS series, Antiques Roadshow, and individual pieces often appear on the program.
Festival tickets are $12, children under 5 are free. Tours start every 20 minutes from 9:00-11:00 am and 12:20-3:00 pm. If you have a full group of 20 participants, you may have a privately guided tour at 8:00 am, 8:20 am, or 8:40 am. You may bring up to (only) 2 personal Van Briggle pieces for date authentication. Please call 719-389-7699 for additional information or with questions.
All proceeds will fund WES scholarships and projects at Colorado College.