In Honor of Fannie Mae Duncan
Everybody’s Welcome at Pikes Peak Center’s Studio Bee Wednesday, November 14 from 5-7 p.m. to honor Colorado Springs Cotton Club Owner Fannie Mae Duncan
It was the sign that hung in the window of the Colorado Springs Cotton Club in the 1950s and ‘60s during a time when the nation struggled to accept civil rights for all. Fannie Mae Duncan, a graduate of Colorado Springs High School and the owner and operator of the Colorado Springs Cotton Club, put the sign in her jazz club window, welcoming anyone inside to enjoy the best entertainment in the city.
The Colorado Springs Cotton Club hosted great jazz musicians throughout the years including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Etta James; it’s where famed comedian Flip Wilson got his start. For 28 years Ms. Duncan served the public. As part of the city’s urban renewal program, the club was demolished in 1975.
To honor Ms. Duncan’s courage, dedication and commitment to the Colorado Springs community, award-winning, American contemporary sculptor Lori Kiplinger Pandy of Fort Collins, Colorado, has been commissioned to design and to create a bronze sculpture of Ms. Duncan. Upon completion in 2019, the sculpture will be placed in front of Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts near the former site of the Cotton Club at the corner of Sahwatch Street and Colorado Avenue.
The Fannie Mae Duncan Statue Steering Committee is leading this initiative. In 2017, committee Chairman Kathleen Esmiol and four other retired local educators joined together following Esmiol's publication of Ms. Duncan’s memoir, Everybody Welcome: A Memoir of Fannie Mae Duncan and the Cotton Club, with the goal of erecting a bronze statue to honor Ms. Duncan’s contributions to the city. Ms. Duncan will be the first woman with a bronze likeness in the city and the first black woman with a statue in Colorado Springs.
The Fannie Mae Duncan Statue Steering Committee invites the community to Pikes Peak Center’s Studio Bee on Wednesday, November 14 from 5 – 7 p.m. to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the three-phase project. Ms. Pandy will be in attendance with maquettes of the final sculpture design and other pieces of her art on display. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Pikes Peak Center box office or online at PikesPeakCenter.com. They are $55 and include refreshments, music and door prizes. A cash bar will also be provided.
In addition to being a catalyst for the peaceful integration of Colorado Springs, Ms. Duncan was a philanthropist, co-founding the 400 Club – an organization that provided for those in need regardless of race or religion -- and saving the Dr. James A. Hart Victorian mansion from demolition by turning it into a place where blacks who were not welcome at local hotels could stay.
- Performance Schedule
- Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 5:00 PM CAL