According to data compiled by Americans for the Arts, almost 60,000 Colorado artists and creative workers have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, and creative industry businesses across the state have suffered an estimated $2.4 billion dollars in lost revenue over the last year as a result of the pandemic.
Locally, the nonprofit arts and cultural sector’s $153.3 million annual economic impact (pre-COVID) is not being fully realized, as we continue to navigate the reopening of our venues, and work to resume normal operations and programming in the midst of a lingering pandemic.
Fortunately, the creative sector here in the Pikes Peak region is resilient and innovative. From virtual First Fridays, to online theater productions, to drive-in movie screenings, local artists and arts organizations across our region have found ways to survive and thrive. Nonetheless, in the months and years ahead, our local creative sector will need this community’s continued support and investment, not only for service organizations like the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, but for the thousands of creative small businesses, cultural nonprofits, and independent artists and performers who contribute significantly to the local economy, support workforce attraction and retention efforts, attract cultural tourists, and enhance our quality of life across the Pikes Peak region. For most of you, that means attending local performance events when it’s safe to do so, sustaining your individual and corporate philanthropy for area cultural organizations, sharing your professional and creative talents with area nonprofits, and purchasing local artwork whenever possible.
These challenging times make our eighth annual Arts Month celebration more important than ever this October. Not only to help support the recovery of our local creative sector, but also to take advantage of an important opportunity to bring our community together around the arts, and to help showcase and celebrate the talent and creativity that makes the Pikes Peak region such a vibrant and desirable place to live and work.
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 Theme Weeks which offer prospective patrons the opportunity to seek out specific arts experiences and media that may be new to them.
Week 1: Visual & Culinary Arts (Oct. 3-9)
Week 2: Theater & Film (Oct. 10-16)
Week 3: Poetry, Prose & Comedy (Oct. 17-23)
Week 4: Music & Dance (Oct. 24-30)
With well over 100 arts and cultural events already listed on the artsoctober.com website (and more being added every day), this October’s Arts Month celebration is shaping up to be one of our biggest and best ever! When you get onto the website, be sure to check out all the Arts Month 2021 Highlights, as well as the free contest Giveaways. As they say, “there’s something for everyone” this Arts Month, and I encourage you to have fun, try something new, and have one new cultural experience with family or friends this October. Happy Arts Month 2021!
Executive Director, Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region