yp-angela-sealsAngela Seals has only been in Colorado Springs for six weeks, but she knows what she likes.

“Spending the day in the mountains and the same night hitting a hip art opening and happy hour downtown,” she said. “The proximity is incredible. We should all take advantage of that more and be proud that Colorado Springs’ arts scene is as special as its views.”

Seals, 33, is the new development officer for COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, focused on developing the Peak Arts Fund, a campaign to raise money for 18 arts nonprofits that deliver music, theater, art exhibits, opera, dance and festivals during the year.

She says growing the art community is an important part of revitalizing downtown because the arts create a sense of place.

And she’s focused on helping young professionals find their own place in the city. She points professionals to PeakRadar.com, the arts and culture calendar sponsored by COPPeR, and the Peak Radar Pass, a benefits card available to people who donate $60 to the Peak Arts Fund. Cardholders receive discounts at shows, galleries and restaurants.

What is your job description at COPPeR?

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As Development Officer, I’m focusing this spring on Peak Arts Fund, a united campaign to raise money and grow audiences for 18 arts nonprofits that deliver music, theater, film, art exhibits, opera, dance, festivals, and arts education opportunities all year long to people in Colorado Springs and throughout El Paso County. At COPPeR, we envision a community united by creativity — and Peak Arts Fund does that by uniting our resources to fuel arts organizations that are shining examples of what the arts can do for all of us. It’s an exciting job and has been a great way to quickly meet a lot of personalities in our local arts scene, since I just moved here from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Your background is in art. In what ways do you think art can help revitalize an area?

The arts enliven and strengthen our neighborhoods, without question. That’s part of why it’s so important to support them. They unite neighbors by building community identity, inclusion and dialogue at a time when that is so important. They attract the innovative workforce, jobs and cultural tourists that power the local economy. But I particularly value how they foster an authentic sense of place. Commercialism makes a lot of communities look the same anymore. I want to know where I am — the distinct flavors, ideas and heritage of the people who are around me — and the arts collect, interpret and express that like nothing else. When I first visited and experienced the artisans in Manitou, the incredible classical music scene here, the surprising public art on every corner of Downtown — it awakened my curiosity to know this place and its people better. That vibrancy is real quality of life. And I’m proof that it attracts people, talent and dollars to the city!

Tell CSBJ readers about your new programs for young professionals.

I have to share 2 of the coolest resources to plug in to the arts & culture scene here, because more young professionals needs to discover them, as I have:

PeakRadar.com. This is the number 1 arts & culture calendar in the region — you’ll find everything from the big, centerpiece festivals to the hip, off-the-beaten path happenings, plus ticket giveaways, artist highlights and more. You’re not allowed to say nothing is happening this weekend anymore!

Peak Radar Pass. This is a VIP benefits card that is your gift for a donation of at least $60 to Peak Arts Fund. Cardholders get a full year of discounts at shows, galleries, restaurants and more — serious discounts, like happy hour drink prices anytime or Buy One Get One tickets — just by showing it at the register or box office. Check out the list of benefits and get yours at www.peakradar.com/pass. (100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the arts.)

What are some of the challenges you face in your job? How do you plan to meet those challenges?

One of the challenges of growing support for the arts is that a lot of people just think of them as entertainment, a pretty accessory to life. But when we talk about supporting creative industries in the Pikes Peak region, we’re talking about 2,500 companies and organizations, including 7,000 employees! Our creative industries sector ranks 23rd in the nation. Arts nonprofits alone generate $72 million in economic impact. Those are real numbers. My work and COPPeR’s work is to tell that story, to rally people into believing in what the arts can do here for the real health of the region.


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