By MAHEA DANIELS
The Fine Arts Center at Colorado College let the dogs out. Now, the dogs have new homes.
The FAC was filled on Sunday, Sept. 16, with the smells of sweet treats and the sounds of barking puppies, communal chatter, and the excited laughter of children for the first annual adoption fair and vegan pop-up market.
The fair was inspired by one of the FAC’s current exhibits: “Year of the Dog.” The traveling exhibit, which is open until Oct. 14, features the works of six American artists whose goals are to examine the relationships, both of companionship and exploitation, between humans and animals. At the fair, the FAC offered visitors free admission to the museum and Year of the Dog exhibit.
“The goal was to bring people in the Colorado Springs community together to celebrate the the Year of the Dog exhibit and bring local businesses together,” said Jia Mei ’21, a current FAC student guide.
The event not only served as an escape for students from the mounting stress of first block finals, but it was also an ideal way to delve into “friends, not food” initiatives from 40 vendors across Colorado Springs. Over 300 visitors claimed on Facebook to have attended the event, and an even larger number is estimated to have passed through at some point during the four-hour period.
“Attendees loved that an iconic Colorado Springs institution invited the vegan community in, in such a big way,” said JL Fields, a culinary instructor and consultant who helped organize the event.
With mason jars of Pikes Peak Lemonade in hand, students, families, and kids from the Colorado Springs community huddled around outside play pens containing puppies. Blue “adopt me” bibs draped over the top, and people dressed in uniforms from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region stood watch next to the play pens. After one woman adopted a 10-week-old Australian shepherd mix puppy, a Humane Society employee announced it over the loudspeaker, and the crowd outside all began to cheer.
Inside, a calming and relaxing environment stood in contrast to the contagious excitement outside. Tables with vegan sweets, dips, breads, soaps, jewelry, artwork, books, and candles lined the hallways of the FAC. Representatives sat behind each table to explain their businesses and vegan approaches to passersby. Some of the local vendors included The Pet Pawlor, Missy J’s Snacks & Treats, Visibly Veg, CoS’bucha, and Potato Potato.
“We received positive feedback about the community gathering event because it was free, and people also got to visit the museum for free as well,” Mei said.
The event was not only an ideal study break or family activity on a warm Sunday afternoon. It was also a moment when CC students blended in with the broader Springs community under the common goal of supporting vegan initiatives.
The FAC was both “surprised and happy to see such a huge showing for a vegan event,” Fields said. Due to the event’s success, it hopes to host similar events in the future.