Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR)
October 2, 2018
Andy Vick updated on new community initiatives from the regional arts community, including Arts Month 2018, the 11th Annual Business & Arts Lunch, and the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The latter program just received funding to build a website that will provide free art-based therapy to military veterans beginning April 2019.
Andy reports that the local arts and culture community provides $153.3 million in annual economic impact to the community. One example of this is First Friday Art Walks, supported now by a free shuttle that connects three main "art districts" in the region. COPPeR's website, PeakRadar.com, is another free service that lists hundreds of cultural events of the region and is seeing record traffic growth. It sources event content from venues and hosts who register free accounts to promote their activities.
In discussing emerging trends, Andy said that 300 arts events are occurring this month alone and that Colorado Springs is gaining a reputation for its growing arts focus. Having left a career in marketing and human resources to manage a successful fine arts and crafts business with his wife for ten years, he is very familiar with art shows, galleries and cultural trends around the country and believes that Colorado Springs is becoming a focus for arts and culture.
He pointed to the merger of the Fine Arts Center, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, and Colorado College as building a strong financial foundation for this venerable institution, originally founded as the Broadmoor Arts Academy shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Also, the new Ent Center is a state-of-the-art (no pun intended!) facility that really helps solidify the city as an arts destination.
COPPeR is manages an annual budget of $500,000 that supports four employees and promotes selected events. It sources some city funding as well as private donors and grants. COPPeR is not a membership based organization, so there are no membership fees and all services are free to the public.
Most local arts organizations were founded in the 1970s and 1980s and many are part of their city governments, receive line-item funding. Art, however, "took a back seat" in Colorado Springs during that period according to Andy, so "we have some catching up to do. COPPeR, founded 12 years ago, is now in "high-growth mode."
Tom McClintock is the owner and founder of Relationship Martech.