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Cultural Office promotes musicians, dancers for curbside performances 

click to enlarge COURTESY HARRIETT LANDRUM
  • Courtesy Harriett Landrum

Some of the city’s talented musicians will find their abilities amplified in the weeks ahead with a brand new program from the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR): Curbside Culture.

“Curbside Culture ... allows performing artists to get out into the community to perform during this time in the pandemic, when most traditional performance venues are not operational,” says
COPPeR Executive Director Andy Vick. The aim of the program, Vick explains, is to develop a roster of hireable performers, vetted and elevated by the organization, to help those artists connect with paying gigs while larger events are in limbo.

“We are hoping to entice members of the community to reach out to the artist directly and schedule a performance in a safe and responsible and socially distanced way. It could be outdoors, perhaps on a curb or the street corner or in a cul de sac, backyard, courtyard or outside of an office building. The idea is to offer small performances — we’re not looking to attract big crowds. We want to make sure we’re being responsible as far as the COVID-19 situation.”

COPPeR’s roster for Curbside Culture — which currently includes 11 performers — has quite a few recognizable local names, including violinist and songstress Harriett Landrum; jazz, R&B and funk saxophonist and songwriter Tony Exum, Jr.; and guitarist and songwriter Ryan Flores. Of course, musicians aren’t the only performers on COPPeR’s list. For those who want a visual show to wow their small events, Dragonfly Aerial Company, Ormao Dance Company and dancer Jordan Henry are also available.

“We’re really trying to focus on artists who make their living full- or part-time on this work,” Vick explains.

The idea for developing a platform for local professional performers came from former COPPeR board member Herman Tiemens who discovered a similar Canadian program online and thought it would be an excellent way to support Colorado Springs musicians and performing artists.

“We took that concept and evolved it a good bit and made it fit our circumstances and the tools and resources we had here,” says Vick.

Asked why he thought it was important for COPPeR to facilitate such programs, Vick says it fits the mission of the organization.

“This is exactly what we should be doing,” says Vick. “Create an infrastructure — a scaffolding that will allow artists to find a way to cope with this current pandemic situation. It’s not going to solve it and it’s not going to replace all the dollars they have lost because of everything shutting down. But, hopefully, it will be a small help to them financially.”

People who are interested in booking a Curbside Culture artist (any time after the program launches on July 23) can learn more at peakradar.com/curbsideculture, where they will find the performance roster and individual artist rates.

“We want to make sure that this community remembers how important and meaningful the arts are, even in a crisis situation,” says Vick. “If we can make sure that we’re elevating the arts, we can ensure that the arts remain important and visible in our community, despite the unpredictable world we’re living in.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Herman Tiemens' last name. We regret the error.

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