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Andy Vick

As a regular reader of the Colorado Springs Independent, you may be more likely than the average Pikes Peak region resident to cultivate an exploration of all things arts. You may be a music fan, or a passionate theatergoer, or a regular at gallery openings.

But you may not know the full breadth and depth of arts and culture that our region has to offer. This October, all art forms and expressions of creativity will take center stage throughout the Pikes Peak region, as our creative community celebrates Arts Month 2021! 

Orchestrated annually by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), Arts Month elevates the visibility of arts and culture across El Paso and Teller counties by showcasing local talent, providing opportunities for arts advocacy, supporting innovative cross-sector community collaborations, and creating new avenues for arts engagement and cultural enrichment. 

Our local Arts Month initiative coincides with National Arts & Humanities Month, which was established in 1993 and is observed every October throughout the United States. This national program was initiated to encourage Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of partic-ipation. Over the years, it has become the nation’s largest collective annual celebration of the arts.

Under the leadership of the Cultural Office, our local Arts Month takes the form of a coordinated awareness, advocacy, and community engagement campaign. Working in close collaboration with individual artists, arts organizations, and community partners from across our region, existing cultural offerings are amplified with special Arts Month programming to create an October calendar that’s rich with amazing local art to see, hear, taste and experience!

Although our local Arts Month celebration is embraced with equal energy and excitement throughout all 31 days of October, for planning and promotional purposes, the month is divided into four discipline-specific weeks:

Visual & Culinary Arts (Oct. 3-9)

Theater & Film (Oct. 10-16)

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Poetry, Prose & Comedy (Oct. 17-23)

Music & Dance (Oct. 24-30)

Targeted marketing, a diverse offering of cultural events and activities, and special Arts Month programming curated by the Cultural Office and our partners, are all aligned around these four Theme Weeks to help sustain enthusiasm, and generate robust community engagement throughout the entire month of October.

To encourage community members to get involved in the art-making process, Arts Month 2021 has orchestrated a variety of giveaways, including a chance to paint with an elephant in partnership with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, free art classes at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, free virtual cooking classes for adults and families from Gather Food Studio, and family and adult painting experiences from Downtown Colorado Springs’ Painting with a Twist. Visit ArtsOctober.com, and select the “Giveaways” tab for a full roster of contests and rules. 

Despite the ongoing challenges, impacts and uncertainties caused by the pandemic, our eighth annual Arts Month celebration is shaping up to be one of our biggest and best ever. What have you been itching to explore? What cultural venues have you heard of, but never experienced? Art Month is your opportunity to enjoy the amazing talent and diversity of our local creative community. Please visit ArtsOctober.com and make a plan to “have one new cultural experience with family or friends this October!”

Happy Arts Month 2021! 

— Andy Vick

Executive Director

Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region