Alumni Awards 2020: Arts Guild

The Fountain Valley School Arts Guild was created in 2010 to recognize artistic endeavors by alumni, former faculty, and supporters, and serves as a historical account of the role Fountain Valley played in these individuals’ pursuit of the arts. Induction into the Arts guild is a symbol of Fountain Valley’s appreciation of the excellence and devotion displayed by these celebrated individuals and groups. This year, five artists were inducted by Arts Guild member Mark Wong ’86, as a part of our 2020 Virtual Reunion. 

Griffin Dunne ’74 and Dominique Dunne ’77
Fountain Valley School proudly inducted brother and sister Griffin and Dominique Dunne into the Arts Guild—Griffin for his roles as actor, producer, director and writer, and Dominique for her acting career. Both of them performed in several Fountain Valley play productions under theater director Hunter Frost. Dominique passed away in 1982 and Griffin accepted the honors on her behalf.

Griffin’s filmography as an actor, producer, director and writer is long and prolific, beginning in 1975. To name just a few notable film acting roles, you know him as Jack Goodman in “An American Werewolf in London,” as Loudon Trott in “Who’s That Girl” with Madonna, and Dr. Vass in “Dallas Buyers Club” with Matthew McConaughey. He also starred in and co-produced Martin Scorcese’s “After Hours.” This October 2020, he will appear with a who’s-who ensemble cast in a new Wes Anderson film, “The French Dispatch.”

He joined the cast of TV show “This Is Us” in 2018 as Nicky Pearson. He starred alongside Kevin Bacon in the 2017 Amazon series “I Love Dick,” and he made regular appearances on “Goliath” with Billy Bob Thornton.

Dunne made his directorial debut with a short film, “Duke of Groove,” which he also wrote and for which he received an Oscar nomination. He also directed box office successes including “Practical Magic” and “Addicted to Love.”

Dunne has been nominated for Golden Globe, Cannes and Emmy Awards, and has won several film festival awards.

Dominique Dunne's career began in college.  She was studying acting at the University of Colorado, but left after one year in 1979 to return to Los Angeles. Within three weeks, she landed her first acting job in the TV movie, “Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker” as the hitchhiker. She was talented and ambitious, and between 1979 and 1982, she played parts in 15 television series and movies. These included critically acclaimed productions such as “Lou Grant,” “Breaking Away,” “Fame,” “Hart to Hart,” “CHiPs” and “Hill Street Blues.” Her most notable role was as Dana Freeling in the famous 1982 horror film, “Poltergeist.”

Tragically, Dominique died in 1982, cutting short a brilliant career.

Pete LaFarge ’49
Oliver “Pete” LaFarge is most well known as a pioneering folk singer and songwriter but was also a talented actor, painter, writer, boxer, and a fearless rodeo competitor. He died before his time at the age of 34.

His sister, Povy Bigbee, said in an interview for the FVS Bulletin, "The breadth of his genius was such that one evening, he rode saddle broncs in Madison Square Garden and then left to go play the lead in King Lear off-Broadway.”

He influenced a generation of folk artists whom he also counted as friends, from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to Buffy Sainte Marie and Pete Seeger. Cisco Houston was his mentor and Johnny Cash recorded an album of his Native American protest songs.

LaFarge and his songs were noticed, and he was signed to Columbia Records in 1961. His first album included his most famous song, “The Ballad Of Ira Hayes,” the story of a Pima Indian who, although he fought in World War II and was part of the famous hoisting of the flag over Iwo Jima, returned home to a life of struggle.

Johnny Cash heard the ballad and was so moved that he recorded it, along with four other LaFarge songs on his 1964 album “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.” While radio stations found Cash’s “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” too controversial to air, it nonetheless became a hit song, rising to number three on the country charts.

Daniel Kaufman ’70
Fine art photographer, Daniel Kaufman may be the only artist who follows ships to create his art. Of particular acclaim has been his Rothko Series that captures colors on shipping containers. Kaufman initially studied architecture and with no formal art training, he began his career as a painter inspired by Rothko, Pollock, and Kandinsky, among others. His love of photography began as a boy when he saved money from his paper route to buy his first camera.

In the 1990s, he was known as a minimalist photographer of architecture and landscapes. While shooting one day on the Savannah River, a container ship blocked his view but he continued to shoot. When he printed the shots, he saw the Rothko connection and began planning ship shoots according to their schedules and the day’s lighting. In 2019, he created a Mondrian Port photo series, based on the abstract, colorful and geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement.

Daniel’s fine art photos are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Chinese-American Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private and corporate collections around the world.

Lauren Ciborowski ’00
Lauren Ciborowski is a renaissance woman. A gallery owner, concert pianist, vocalist and piano instructor, she practices, teaches and supports the arts.

She owns The Modbo, a gallery in Colorado Springs, where she encourages and fosters artists, and has exhibited works by Fountain Valley students and faculty. The gallery has energized the downtown arts scene. Modbo’s First Friday events in the alley gallery are packed, and other events include a cabaret, dance parties, live music, and yoga. To celebrate Modbo’s 10-year anniversary, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center held a reception and exhibit to honor Lauren and the gallery.

Ciborowski plays chamber music, is a member of a band, and is a highly skilled ballet accompanist. In 2016 and 2017, she was recognized as one of the top-three best pianists in Colorado Springs by the Gazette newspaper, and she teaches students of all ages and skill levels at her piano studio.
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