Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Katie, the friendly Fellow

My name is Katie Ferguson and I’m so excited to be working with COPPeR this summer as their cultural planning coordinator through Colorado College’s Public Interest Fellowship Program. I’m a Mathematical Economics major and dance minor at Colorado College, just down the road. I have grown up in the nonprofit world, training with a dance company and school near Denver and working with their administrative and development departments and teaching in past years.
I’ve not posted a blog on here before so I thought I’d fill everyone in on what I’ve been up to and let you all know that, at least for the summer, there are more people in the office! (I wouldn’t want any of you coming into our office and thinking there was some random girl hanging out at a desk). So here goes!
During my time here at COPPeR, (about 2 months now!) I’ve gotten the great opportunity to work very closely with Bettina compiling and creating the first ever Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak region. This project is what drew me to the job in the first place so I’m so happy to be getting to do so much work with it ☺ So far this process has been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the area and discover just how important the arts and culture are to this region. It has been really great to be able to meet so many influential people in the community through the plan0-writing process.
I’ve also gotten to explore the Colorado Springs arts scene and learn more about what’s going on here. I was shocked in my first few weeks to learn how much was going on! I have always considered myself to be pretty aware, but there was so much I hadn’t heard about. As I explored and visited places like Smokebrush Gallery, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and Cottonwood Center for the Arts, I also learned just how very essential the arts, culture and heritage are to this community and to so many people who live in it and work for it.
I had no idea places like Cottonwood existed, let alone so close to where I live. I got a tour of Cottonwood from artist Jennifer Hanson and to get to meet so many of the artists. I was blown away by the level of local talent we have here. From sculptors to painters and even artists who work with pastels (I never could do anything with those except get them all over my hands and clothes) the work was just brilliant. There was one artist who paints landscapes from pictures so that they would look brilliant-- even clearer than the original picture! And the truth is that there are tons of venues for local artists to show their work- we have an amazing artistic base here in the Pikes Peak region. Unfortunately, not everyone knows about our rich arts scene and that's why COPPeR is so important for getting the word out.
I brought a couple friends with me to the Pioneer’s Museum and besides learning new things about Colorado’s history; we got a secret tour up to the top of the bell tower! Check out this picture - there's COPPeR wa-a-a-y down below. If any of you heard the bells ring a couple random times in mid June- that might have been me! It was great up there; you could see for miles.

In addition to my work on the Cultural Plan and exploring the area, I have also gotten to work on the PeakRadar.com Arts/Culture/Fun(d) drive, in which we raised more than $8,000 to support PeakRadar.com! There have been lots of other activities, too - there's always something going on at COPPeR.
Last weekend I got to hang out at the COPPeR booth at Pride Fest which was so much fun (Click here to see some great photos)! It was great to see the diversity of our region so engaged in such a great festival. It has been a really truly great experience working with COPPeR and I’m excited to continue on through August!

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