10 Ways to Celebrate Arts Month

Arts Month is all about enjoying new creative experiences. Here are our tips for making the most of the 10th anniversary of Arts October.

Arts Month has become a staple on the Colorado Springs calendar. The annual initiative is the largest collective celebration of the arts in Colorado Springs and other cities across the U.S. The Springs’ arts scene is always vibrant, but each October the calendar overflows with creative entertainment. That’s especially true this year for the 10th anniversary of Arts Month in the Pikes Peak region. 

Arts Month is always about discovering something new. The goal is to have at least one new cultural experience with family or friends. It’s a time to experience, celebrate and support the arts. It’s a chance to get out and explore something new. “For our 10th anniversary campaign, we’re inviting everyone to ‘Open Your World with the Arts!’” says Angela Seals, executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. “Try something new and experience all of the vitality, surprise and goodness that local arts offer you.”

Hopefully, that’s just the beginning. 

“Arts Month is a time when we shine this spotlight on the creative scene through ArtsOctober.com and our collective grassroots campaign across the entire region. But it’s all here all year long,” Seals says. “So participate this October. And then don’t stop! There’s more here than you think.”

You can find long, full schedules of Arts Month events at ArtsOctober.com. Some of the options will challenge your preconceptions and make you think. Others will pull you into the action and let you forget — your worries, your inhibitions or your insecurities that you’re not artistic. Many of the events will inspire and entertain you. 

To give you a jump on your Arts Month plans, here are our Top 10 ways to celebrate Arts Month. 

1. Don’t Miss the 10/10 Popups

Go all in on the 10s. To celebrate Art’s Month’s 10th anniversary, a series of creative pop-ups will take place at 10 locations on Oct. 10, beginning at 10 a.m. The performing acts will remain a surprise, but here’s the list of locations and times:

10 a.m. — Cripple Creek Heritage Center

11 a.m. — Soda Springs Park, Manitou Springs

12 p.m. — U.S. Air Force Academy (Reservations required — Contact dylan@culturaloffice.org)

1 p.m. — Broadmoor, Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway Depot, Manitou Springs

2 p.m. — Garden of the Gods Trading Post

3 p.m. — Plaza of the Rockies

4 p.m. — Colorado Springs City Hall

5 p.m. — Seven Falls (Private event)

6 p.m. — Panorama Park

7 p.m. — First and Main Town Center

2. Win Prizes

Want to overflow with art? Enter the Open Your Mind With Art Sweepstakes, and you could claim an $800 prize that includes artwork and experiences throughout the Springs. The prize package includes a vase by Jeremiah Houck, tickets to the Hazel Miller concert at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, $200 at Ephemera, $100 gift card for Lulu’s Downstairs, $50 at Loonee’s Comedy Corner and more. You can see all the prizes and enter here. 

3. Go to Arts Month First Friday

First Friday Art Walks are always a great monthly opportunity to roam new gallery exhibitions, meet artists and savor special events and receptions throughout Manitou, OCC and downtown. Arts Month First Friday will be even more festive on Oct. 6 as artists and art lovers around the region gather to see and celebrate new work. Learn more about it in our Insider’s Guide to First Friday.

Sasquatch Cookies collaborates with the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region with these decadent chocolate peanut butter cookies
Get a decadent taste of the arts with this collaboration from Sasquatch Cookies. Photo courtesy of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region.

4. Taste Arts Month with Collab Food and Drinks

Want to really taste the arts? Several yummy local businesses are serving special Arts Month-inspired treats. Josh & John’s has created the new flavor Rocky Mountain Red Rocks, red velvet cake with chocolate chips. Sasquatch Cookies has a new peanut butter chocolate cookie with peanut butter and chocolate frosting and peanut butter drizzle. And Local Relic Artisan Ales will release a special beer paired with each themed week of Arts Month. Each will have a custom label featuring a local artist. Speaking of those theme weeks…

5. Week One: Visual and Culinary Arts 

There’s a theme for each week of Arts Month, and the month begins with an emphasis on artistic expressions you can see and taste. Ephemera is hosting an art and wine event with local painter Shannon Dunn. COATI has an upcoming Arte y Ritmo event with live art, reggaeton vibes and drink specials. You’ll also find makers markets, the Pikes Peak Zine Fest, a benefit concert and fashion show for Ukraine and more. See the schedule at artsoctober.com/week-1.

6. Week Two: Theater and Film

Focus your Arts Month festivities on the stage in the second month of October. Steel Magnolias by Theatreworks is one play you don’t want to miss. The Fine Arts Center is performing Misery, the Stephen King psycho-thriller. And with Halloween on the horizon, you’ve got many other options to lean into the spooky vibes of the season, from scary movie series to haunted ghost tours and more. Find the Arts Month schedule for the week at artsoctober.com/week-2. And find all the Halloween festivities in our Ultimate Guide to Halloween in Colorado Springs. Even though it falls a bit later in Arts Month, don’t miss the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival too. 

Ashley Cornelius performing, will be inaugurated as Pikes Peak Poet Laureate during Arts Month 2021
Ashley Cornelius will perform at the Poetry719 Festival. She was inaugurated as Pikes Peak Poet Laureate in 2021. Photo by Delina Auciello, courtesy of Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region.

7. Week Three: Poetry, Prose and Comedy

Be moved and inspired by the spoken word, whether it’s in poetry verse or jokes and comedy skits. This is a great week for open mics, poetry slams, standup and improv. One highlight is the Poetry 719 Annual Poetry Festival with inclusive events happening all month. Find more Arts Month options at at artsoctober.com/week-3.

8. Week Four: Music and Dance

Get out to a concert or dance performance — or sing some karaoke and kick up your own heels at a dance event. There’s always a full lineup of live music, from local artists to national acts, and this month is no exception. Check your favorite venue or find a whole lineup of music and dance at artsoctober.com/week-4. 

9. Make Your Own Art

Arts Month is all about a new creative experience — so it’s the perfect time to get out and make something. Sign up for a painting event at a place like Painting With a Twist. Create pottery at Cottonwood Center for the Arts or Color Me Mine. Or make crafts at AR Workshop or Who Gives a Scrap. These no-pressure DIY workshops are great for date night, family fun or girls night out.

10. Keep the Arts Going with Season Tickets

Don’t stop enjoying, celebrating and supporting the arts when Arts October ends. If you tried and loved a new experience, consider buying season tickets or a membership to a local arts organization or group. Most groups, such as the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Theatreworks, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and the Millibo Art Theatre, offer a variety of ticket packages and memberships to meet every budget. And your support keeps the arts in Colorado Springs strong and thriving. 

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Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones is Springs’ co-founder, editorial director and chief outdoor officer. He loves building community by telling stories about all the people, places and culture that make Colorado Springs an amazing place to live. And he’s especially stoked when exploring new places in the Springs, Colorado and beyond. Watch for him hiking, running or mountain biking the local trails with his wife and kids.

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