COPPeR, the nonprofit Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, has hired Bettina Swigger as its first executive director.

She starts the job Jan. 3.

Swigger has managed the Summer Arts Festival at Colorado College for three years and also has worked as the administrator for the citywide Mozart @ 250 celebration, a freelance arts journalist and publicity chairwoman of the Colorado Music Alliance.

“Right now is an especially exciting time for the arts and culture,” Swigger said. “There is real growth, and it’s becoming more apparent that arts, culture, history and heritage create a huge economic impact.”

COPPeR was launched in 2006 and recently created, an event calendar that Swigger said has attracted almost 50,000 visitors during its first four months.