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Dream City Data an Integral Part of New Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak Region

On September 20, after two years of research and listening to the community, on behalf of the community, COPPeR is pleased to announce that the first-ever Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak Region is available now.

For decades, successful communities have used cultural plans as a way to galvanize their creative sectors and identify priorities. The Pikes Peak region (El Paso and Teller counties) is home to more than 200 nonprofit arts organizations that produce an annual economic impact of nearly $100 million. Thousands of individual artists also call this region home. Colorado Springs ranks in the top 15 percent of 276 metropolitan areas nationwide in the number of arts businesses per capita, proving that creative industries are a major force in the economy. We know that a strong arts and cultural sector benefits everyone from visitors to residents, educators to businesspeople, schoolchildren and seniors alike.

The Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak region is a ten-year strategic plan which aims to develop, enliven, enhance and promote arts and culture to strengthen our community. This plan was born through an open, inclusive process using the input of thousands of citizens through surveys, summits, focus groups. The data gathered in the Dream City: Vision 2020 project was particularly important to the process and helped inform the plan. 

Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Council, local business-owner, serves on the Cultural Plan Team. She says, "Not only do the arts contribute to our local economy, but they are the heart and soul of our city. This plan puts us on the road to becoming known as a region where arts are leading the way to a more vibrant economy and creative people thrive."

We know our arts scene already is vibrant - and we simply want to see even more of a good thing.  This 10-year plan has identified the necessary goals, strategies and recommended action steps for supporting the growth, diversity and sustainability of cultural activities in the Pikes Peak region. The plan identifies methods in which the arts can strengthen all sectors of the community, with the understanding that the arts are an intricate ecosystem composed of individual artists, nonprofit organizations, and creative industries like film, design and architecture. In order for our region to be hip, exciting and attractive we all need to be on the same page, with a similar vision for the future built on shared values.

This plan identifies that one of the most critical issues holding back the artists and arts organizations from serving our community is the lack of a variety of affordable and accessible venues throughout the region. This plan calls for dedicated effort toward ensuring a variety of cultural spaces -- from an amphitheatre that takes advantage of our beautiful scenery and weather to more simple and small-scale spaces for performances and exhibit spaces -- spaces that are achievable in partnerships with developers, institutions, municipalities and others.

Numerous studies have shown that in order to compete in an increasingly fast-paced employment market, arts education is essential for building 21st-century thinkers. This plan looks at ways to capitalize on successes in innovative arts training and connect more students to arts learning opportunities both in and outside of the classroom. The plan also calls for more interactive, instructive arts programming to build creative individuals of all ages.  

Philanthropic support will always play a part in the arts. This plan identifies new systems and structures for generating new, sector wide private support for the arts, in addition to ways the arts community can better demonstrate its impact and its high level of professional management standards to donors and partners.


Serving the community begins at the neighborhood level -- from block parties to coffeeshop poetry readings to concerts in neighborhood churches and YMCAs and community centers -- and especially integrating public art and murals throughout our two-county region. This plan calls for tools that will help artists and arts organizations work with our community at the neighborhood level to increase the quality of life for all of our residents -- in downtown Colorado Springs, in  artistic hubs such as Manitou Springs and beyond to all of our neighborhoods.

The Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak Region is a community document produced by COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. COPPeR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to connect residents and visitors with arts and culture to enrich the Pikes Peak region. The plan will be implemented with the same spirit of openness and inclusivity. It is a plan by and for the community, and as such is owned by the community.

Special thanks to the Cultural Plan Steering Committee (Janine Alfano Musholt, Susan Edmondson, Nancy Johnson, Todd Liming, Jan Martin, Amanda Mountain, Bettina Swigger, Dave Talbot, Deborah Thornton, Thomas Wilson), Maryo Ewell, and several key funders of COPPeR: Inasmuch Foundation, City of Colorado Springs, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, and the Colorado College Public Interest Fellowship Program.

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