The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581) is a quintessential artifact of the 1930s. Designed by John Gaw Meem, it is adorned with gorgeous murals and bejeweled with exquisite metalwork. It is one of the finest early-modern buildings, not just in this time zone, but in the whole country.

All of this swing-era swank makes the CSFAC the perfect setting for the prints dating from the period that make up the handsome Mayer Collection of Twentieth Century American Prints, which has been smartly installed in the gallery east of the sumptuous main lobby.

Jan and Fred Mayer, well-known Denver collectors and art patrons, began assembling this collection of prints in the 1980s. The selection in the Springs comprises a who's who of artists from early in the last century, at least those working back East and in the Midwest. Several aesthetic movements are represented, including the Ashcan school, early modernism and regionalism. In the latter group are big-name practitioners such as Thomas Hart Benton, whose sensational "Fire in the Barnyard" is seen above. Oddly, the Mayers didn't collect the famous prints done at the CSFAC during the institution's glory days some sixty years ago.

The show is only one of several worthy attractions now at the CSFAC, but there's never been anything as exquisite and rare as the building itself, so no matter what's going on there, it's always worth that arduous drive. The print show closes on April 15.


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