Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Pikes Peak Region arts publications fold

Sad news in my inbox today:
Springs Magazine ceases publication after 27 years of serving arts community.

Colorado Springs-Sunrise Publishing, Inc., publishers of the Springs Magazine and Bon Vivant announced today that both magazines ceased publication effective March 31, 2009.

According to publisher Michael Gardner, "It was a wrenching decision. In our 27 years of publication we've been through a number of lo cal and national downturns but this most recent recession has been different in many ways. As much as associate publisher Sharon Friedman and I wanted to continue serving the region's arts community the economics of doing so just weren't there."

"I know there are other venues for our advertising customers but I still feel bad about not being there for them," said Friedman, who is also Director of Advertising. "I've worked with many of our clients so long that they are like family and I'm going to miss them terribly. I feel so grateful and honored to have been able to have served them for so long."

Springs Magazine was the region's oldest and largest monthly magazine devoted to championing the arts. It would have been 28 years old this May. Bon Vivant, its sister publication, was a high-end four-color slick stock direct mailed publication also focused on local art and artists.

"I know everyone is saying print journalism is an artifact of another century, that the Internet is the future. We considered transitioning to an online platform, like many papers are doing, but frankly there are still too few successful models. The Internet may be publishing's future but it's not here yet," said Gardner.

"It's been an incredible ride," said Gardner. "I'm very proud of the stories we've done along the way, the message we've helped to deliver, that the arts are a vital foundation for a successful community."

"It's hard to imagine doing anything else," said Friedman, a sentiment echoed by Gardner. "I believe we still have ink running in our veins. Even though we won't be publishing news about the arts we still plan to actively support those who are making it," said Gardner.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doug Lamborn Stands Up for Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Did you hear the news? Last week, Congressman Doug Lamborn stepped up and publicly endorsed internationally-acclaimed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Over the River project.
Click here for the KKTV story.

A quick disclaimer: The project falls a bit outside of COPPeR's boundaries (we define the Pikes Peak Region as El Paso and Teller counties) but to me it's a no-brainer that the project will provide myriad potential benefits to all of Southern Colorado, as well as for the entire state!

Artists and community leaders have been working for many years to try to change the perception that the arts are not part of our daily lives here in Colorado. With the attention that would arrive with Over The River, Colorado would earn its rightful position as one of the great arts destinations in the United States.

Meet your wrappers: Christo and Jeanne-Claude have an impeccable record of respecting the environment, being forthright with officials and government, valuing local residents and rural communities, and working tirelessly to address any and all concerns that arise during the planning stages of their work. Moreover, their commitment to fully financing the project means that they will bring tourists to the state without creating a negative impact on funding for localized artists and projects. Folks, that means we don't pay for it! We get all the benefit with none of the cost!

Like with all of their projects, the artists have put a tremendous amount of thought into how to execute the work. Their respect for the natural environment is tantamount to the success of the work, and they have done a tremendous job embracing environmentally-sound practices for their piece. The economic impact through increased tourism could bring estimated millions of dollars. The opportunity to spotlight Colorado’s breath-taking natural environment and its cultural assets on a global scale is unprecedented.

So naturally, Lamborn is getting some flak for his decision to support the project. If you would like to tell him you think he did a very good thing for the state of Colorado and the Pikes Peak region, please visit his website or give him a call at (719) 520-0055.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This Just In: Cultural Post at White House

"President Barack Obama has established a staff position in the White House to oversee arts and culture in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs under Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser, a White House official confirmed. Kareem Dale, right, a lawyer who last month was named special assistant to the president for disability policy, will hold the new position. Mr. Dale, who is partly blind, previously served as national disability director for the Obama campaign. He also served on the arts policy committee and the disability policy committee for Mr. Obama when he was a senator from Illinois. Bill Ivey, who served as the administration’s transition-team leader for the arts and humanities, said he was encouraged by the appointment and would meet with Mr. Dale next week. “It’s a big step forward in terms of connecting cultural and government with mainstream administration policy,” Mr. Ivey said in an interview on Friday. The White House declined to describe the position in detail, since Mr. Dale’s appointment has yet to be formally announced. Mr. Ivey, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said he expected that the job would mainly involve coordinating the activities of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services “in relation to White House objectives.” Although there have been staff members assigned to culture under past presidents, they usually served in the first lady’s office, Mr. Ivey said."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arts Bootcamps

Here at COPPeR, we are dedicated to ensuring a bright future for our local arts community. In response to the financial crisis that is rocking our world right now (and not in a good way), we launched a series of "arts boot camp" sessions. The sessions are designed to arm our community's arts leaders with the necessary tools to face the coming months and years of uncertainty. So far we've hosted two--one on budgeting and reforecasting and one on Programming and Collaboration. Feedback for both has been good. One participant described the sessions as "always informative with great people to meet!"

Two bootcamp sessions left! Click here to learn more and RSVP

Additionally, we are keenly interested in tracking how economic events are affecting our local arts community. As we know, several small galleries and one large theater festival have already shuttered their doors. If you work for an arts organization, please take a moment to fill out this brief survey. All feedback gathered is COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS and will be used to help us state the case for the arts on a regional, statewide and national level. Your feedback really does help us and is needed.

During these uncertain times, we want to make sure that we all have the tools to make sure our local arts not only survive but THRIVE. It's my hope that in the great economic and societal reboot of 2009, creativity will at the forefront of what we do. The artists can be the leaders!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Intern Speaks

Some of you may not know me, but I am the current intern at the COPPeR Office. My name is Brett Garman; I am a senior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, graduating in May with a double major in Professional Writing and Media Management. Bettina asked if I would like to post something to the blog about my experience so far, and I jumped at the chance! Let me give you an idea of a typical day in the life of a COPPeR intern.

When I arrive in the morning, the first requirement is to check the intern email. I’m currently working on confirming all the information for the 2009-2010 COPPeR Pages Directory. Click here to download the 2007-2008 Edition. This directory is filled with area arts organizations that work to promote creativity and support art appreciation. It is a valuable tool for the community as there is no other publication like it. It's particularly helpful for newcomers to the community. Combine the COPPeR Pages and PeakRadar, and any new resident will find him or herself with lots and lots to do. The listings featured in the COPPeR Pages provide the public with contact information and descriptions to help connect individuals to opportunities to participate in the arts in El Paso and Teller counties. I know I consider myself a person who is aware of the culture in our city, yet I find myself overwhelmed, surprised and delighted to learn about so many arts organizations.

Every day I when work on the directory, I discover the existence of a new arts organization in Colorado Springs. For example, just today I found out that there is an organization called New Vue Productions, Inc. that uses multi-media projects to encourage teenagers to engage in arts practices. As a Media Management major with a strong interest in all things multi-media, this organization immediately gained my enthusiasm. Also, there are more venues and creative outlets for music, visual and performing arts, and culture than I had ever been aware of. Just this month I’ve been to a couple new locations to look around. They include Smokebrush Gallery and Foundation and ARTSpace at Hillside Community Center. Since beginning my work with COPPeR, my horizons in just the Colorado Springs area alone have greatly expanded.

Back at COPPeR, I sit at my glass-top desk, working with updating contacts and organization descriptions. I believe I’ve added about twenty new organizations to the already substantial list of more than 170 organizations! And, more are brought to our attention everyday. Then, I usually work with the Peak Radar mailing list and postings. Kevin has to come to my aid on a regular basis as I bother him with questions about technology.

The day always seems to fly by when I am in the office. I really enjoy working downtown, where I find the atmosphere busy, yet calming. I’m always comfortable in the COPPeR Office and while I’m outside running errands. The location also presents the opportunity for several individuals to come in to the office. I’ve met a few board members, all of whom are kind and outgoing. I’ve also had the chance to meet several artists, such as Tom McElroy and Daisy McConnell. Both of these artists have items in the office and gallery at this time, so getting the chance to meet them and place a face with the creativity they present is exciting. Everyone is so friendly, and often very funny! I definitely feel like getting the chance to complete my internship with such intriguing and nice personalities is spoiling me. A lot gets done, but there is also time for important discussion of music, art, and the Colorado Springs community with my two favorite coworkers.

On February 6th, I had the opportunity to stay late at COPPeR for the FAC Modern Art Gallery opening of Atomic Elroy’s Hometown. The event was a great success. People filled the office and gallery, and everyone was having a great time. That night has been one of my favorite moments with COPPeR. I met some of the board members and got to enjoy some great food from La’aus. The exhibit is still at the FAC Modern. I definitely recommend coming to see it if you haven’t already! Link to PeakRadar listing

Thankfully, slave labor and irrelevant tasks are seldom in my daily requirements. Bettina and Kevin are an absolute pleasure to be around, and the work environment is always enjoyable. I feel so privileged to have gotten the chance to intern at COPPeR. I’ll be sad when I have to go in May. Don’t worry though; I should be around for more gallery openings, volunteering, and random visits.