Friday, February 27, 2009

CFWT Closing

Yesterday we received the news that the Colorado Festival of World Theater is disbanding. Despite their efforts to narrow their programming, contract their budget, and expand their community relationships, the board made a decision to terminate the festival.

This morning's article in the Gazette.

The Festival brought theater legends to our region for five years, including Peter Shaffer, Stephen Sondheim and many others. My friends and I still have rigorous debates about the Truth In Translation show, the ambitious musical performance about the translator who worked for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.

Congratulations to the CFWT for five glorious seasons. And a big warm thanks to the staff-- Tim, Bobbie, Patty, Suzy--you made it all happen.

We're very sorry to see a big player in our arts community disband because of the economy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blog about the Pioneers Museum!

While virtually all City of Colorado Springs services are facing cuts, at COPPeR* we are particularly concerned about potential cuts facing Cultural Services. Facilities such as the beloved Starsmore Discovery Center and Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center will close, and the Pioneers Museum will have to reduce hours by approximately 50%. The Pioneers Museum also will lose the curator, exhibit designer, and museum guard positions, in addition to two other positions that already are or will soon be vacant and frozen. This will significantly impact its ability to operate as it has for so many years.

The Pioneers Museum is a beloved linchpin of the cultural community. We invite you to share the memories and experiences you have had at the museum by posting a comment on a special Pioneers Museum blog. Click here to see the blog and post your thoughts.

We also invite you to attend the 2009 Colorado Springs City Budget Reductions Public Hearing on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, from 7 to 9 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 107 North Nevada. The meeting will be an e-town hall format, which allows citizens to participate by phone, fax, e-mail or in person. The 2009 city budget reductions will be discussed and City Council will take input and questions from the public. The meeting will be broadcast live on SpringsTV, cable Channel 18. It will also be simulcast live on the internet at

* COPPeR, a non-profit organization, does not receive funding from the city's Cultural Services Department, although the City is among COPPeR's supporters.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Creative Energy: a Pleasant surprise

We all know times are tough. They're tough for everyone. Initially when I heard the news about CCA's budget potentially being slashed, I was extremely disheartened. Then this week when the infestimal portion of President Obama's stimulus package for the National Endowment for the Arts came up on the chopping block, I became further discouraged. When, I thought to myself, will people begin to realize that arts jobs are real jobs that contribute to the economy? We are an industry, like any other. You wouldn't know it from reading the news, which featured slanderous tidbits like:
"The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts." - National Review Editorial

"I just think putting people to work is more important than putting more art on the wall of some New York City gallery frequented by the elite art community." [U.S. Rep Jack] Kingston said. "Call me a sucker for the working man." - Congressional Quarterly report
So while I knew hosting a listening session to discuss the potential budet cuts to the CCA was the necessary thing to do, I was not sure what to expect. To be perfectly honest, I imagined the event was going to be, well, depressing.

For the first time in months, a conversation about a severe economic challenge became an inspiring, invigorating and motivating exchange of creative ideas. Thursday, it turns out, was a really good day. We started the day with a special session with representatives from Colorado Springs City Council, Manitou Springs City Council, the EDC, the Chamber, Colorado Springs Cultural Services and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Everyone there spoke eloquently and at length about the importance of embracing our arts and cultural community. Then about 50 people showed up for the lunch-time CCA listening session. Elaine Mariner and Maryo Ewell from the Colorado Council on the Arts were there to lead the discussion. Many CCA grantees were in the room, but there were also a number of concerned citizens.

As The Gazette accurately reported Friday, the session was energizing. I welcomed it, and the creative energy of all the people in the room.

Follow it up with Friday's night electrifying opening of Atomic Elroy's show, Hometown at the FAC Modern and COPPeR's open house, and this busy little bee was all abuzz with creativity. Here's hoping we can continue to carry that energy through the coming months.

We're going to need it.