At last week’s Business & Arts Lunch, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR) revealed a new initiative to funnel money to local arts nonprofits, the Peak Arts Fund, set to launch next February. Headed by program manager Steve Mack, PAF will distribute money annually to arts nonprofits in the region who “have arts as the main core of their nature, that were already established in the community,” Mack says.
“The whole idea of the campaign is to take arts to a new segment of the community, who may not be familiar, who may not be patrons of the arts,” Mack says. “We want to engage a new segment of the population with our amazing arts.”
An initiative like this has been dreamt of for a while, he says, and was even mentioned in the cultural plan COPPeR formed late last year. Under the leadership of COPPeR executive director Christina McGrath, the project came to life, and Mack was hired to oversee the project.
COPPeR has even secured seed money from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, the Inasmuch Foundation, the Bee Vradenberg Foundation and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund (headed by arts patron Christian Keesee, who has funded Green Mountain Falls’ annual Green Box Arts Festival). This seed money will allow that 100 percent the money raised during the first few years of the project goes straight to the chosen arts organizations.
Fifteen nonprofits have already been chosen for PAF’s first year. They are:
• Business of Arts Center
• Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale
• Colorado Springs Choral Society
• Colorado Springs Conservatory
• Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
• Colorado Springs Philharmonic
• Colorado Springs Youth Symphony
• Cottonwood Center for the Arts
• Imagination Celebration
• Millibo Art Theatre
• Opera Theatre of the Rockies
• Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
• Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts
• Velvet Hills Chorus
Mack won’t say how much money is at hand, since he is now working with local businesses to begin the fundraising tack. But he says that project is starting off small, with an emphasis for now on laying a foundation for the future.
“We’re looking for long-term success here.”