38 Ways to Celebrate Arts Month

    The October-long celebration is all about experiencing art in a brand-new way. These are more than enough to get you started.

    aerialist at arts month artini kickoff
    Artini aerialist. Photo by Mich Pach, 3 Peaks Photography.

    October usually brings to mind images of Halloween ghosts and goblins. But over the past few years, more and more people in the Pikes Peak region are thinking Arts Month.

    “It felt like we needed to beat our chest more about all the great things happening in our creative community,” says Andy Vick. He’s executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), the nonprofit that has spearheaded the event since its creation in 2014. “This seemed like a great way to do that.”

    Created by Americans for the Arts in 1985, National Arts and Humanities Month celebrates all mediums of the arts, including dance, poetry, painting, ceramics—you name it. Today, the event reaches more than 3,000 arts agencies across the U.S.

    The local iteration has evolved over time, Vick says. More artists, performers and groups are involved every year.

    What exactly is the goal of Arts Month? For everyone in the region—nationally too—to dip into a new arts experience, Vick says.

    “We really want to encourage them to try something new. And do it with family because that‘s what makes it fun. That’s the whole message.”

    You’ve got no shortage of options this Arts Month. And we’ve got these 38 tips and highlights to help experience the arts in a brand new way. For more details and even more events, head to peakradar.com/artsmonth.


    Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, The Mansion and The Mezzanine
    Sept. 30
    Kick off a month of crazy cool arts and culture events with this party to end all parties. Music headliner Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors’ Vegas-style show is just the beginning of the local talent showcased. So mingle with the region’s artists, performers and impresarios—and sample a little martini magic by the area’s top mixologists.
    Free, only 21 and older.

    Hear Here Open Mic

    Hear Here
    Oct. 1
    You have to have some guts to stand up in front of a bunch of people and perform your innermost thoughts. But you wouldn’t be alone at this popular event, which welcomes all ages and all levels of experience.

    Fab Lab

    Concrete Couch
    Between the Manitou Art Center and Venue 515
    Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
    For some of us, tinkering with cool stuff isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. Find out how that personal obsession can find its way into art. Bring a project of your own or come and help with one of their projects. Kids under 13 need to be accompanied by a parent.
    Watch a video.
    Free. concretecouch.org

    50 Shades of Red

    I.D.E.A. Space, Cornerstone Arts Center, Colorado College
    Oct. 6
    Explore the Native American experience with award-winning artist Dawn Avery as she combines classical and contemporary Native American music with video and dance.
    Free. sites.coloradocollege.edu/ideaspace

    Jenny Morgan: Self Portraits

    Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, Pueblo
    Oct. 7-Jan. 17
    This up-and-coming Denver painter explores her “attachment to the self” through exquisitely beautiful and thought-provoking self portraits.

    self portrait artist jenny morgan
    Self Portrait. Jenny Morgan. Photo courtesy Jenny Morgan and Sangre de Cristo Art Center


    Sometimes nurturing an exciting arts community isn’t about adding to your collection of dogs-playing-cards paintings. It’s about showing up.

    The Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards

    Fine Arts Center
    Oct. 4

    The Business & Arts Luncheon

    Antlers Hotel
    Oct. 7

    Pikes Peak Studio Tour

    Studios All Around Town
    Oct. 8-9

    Dia de los Muertos Exhibition

    Kreuser Gallery, AHA Gallery, Commons Gallery
    Oct. 7-31
    Three galleries. One spooky theme. So much ghoulish fun. Get skeletal and tour this wide array of artists and mediums orbiting the Day of the Dead theme.
    Free. abigailkreusergallery.com

    Bring Some Art Home

    The heat usually backs off by early October (fingers crossed), so take a little stroll, and grab some homegrown art at the Colorado Farm and Art Market (Oct. 5 and 12, the Pioneers Museum). Oh yeah, seasonal produce is also available.
    Free. farmandartmarket.com

    The Elephant Man

    Springs Ensemble Theatre
    Oct. 13-30
    As one of the most ambitious theater companies in the Springs, SET likes to push the envelope with their programming. Here, they give us a my-life-ain’t-so-bad glimpse into the world of John Merrick, a man living with rare disfiguring skin and bone diseases. After a young physician agrees to care for him, Merrick quickly becomes a favorite of the English aristocracy—an acceptance that comes with a heavy price.


    GOCA 1420, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
    Through Nov. 19
    Think art is stuffy? In Michael Theodore’s hands, it’s just short of theater. This composer/sculptor/programmer/teacher/inventor thrusts the viewer into his large-scale work—micro/macro will occupy GOCA’s 2,800 square foot gallery. The experience is inevitably immersive and ringing with vivid color and a kind of seductive musicality. Sometimes his pieces even react to the presence of visitors. “Not only are we watching it, but it’s watching us,” says Theodore of one of his installations. Expect to be wowed.
    Free. uccs.edu/goca

    micro macro by michael theodore, branch silhouettes on blue
    micro/macro. Michael Theodore. Courtesy David B. Smith Gallery.

    Friday Open Stage

    Black Rose Acoustic Society,
    Black Forest Community Center
    Oct. 14, 28
    Sit in on intimate shows with an esteemed group that’s been rockin’ unplugged for the past 20 years. You a player? Go to the website for details on their regular jam sessions.

    The Story Project

    SunWater Spa,
    Manitou Springs
    Oct. 14
    This spin on NPR’s The Moth allows regular Joes—and everyone else—to tell short stories to a live audience. No notes. No props. It just has to have actually happened to you.


    Funky Little Theater
    Oct. 21-Nov. 5
    OMG! In Colorado Springs? Hold on; it’s not that reality show. In this comedic play, which was made into a 2012 movie starring Kirsten Dunst, a bevy of bridesmaids search for a replacement for the wedding gown they ruined. Booze, drugs and nightclubbing may follow.

    Star Trek: The Final Frontier

    Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts
    Oct. 28-29
    Yes, the music to the shaggy dog tale of a ship, a crew and a universe of bad guys continues to live long and prosper all on its own. Josep Caballé-Domenech conducts this interstellar pops performance.


    Ushers at the FAC’s theater company earn tickets to productions.

    Robyn Peterson: Untitled

    Cottonwood Center for the Arts
    Oct. 29-Nov. 27
    This California transplant—and Cottonwood artist—explores the collective consciousness in large-scale paintings dominated by shamanic figures. “When you look into the eye of these beings,” he says, “you feel like there’s a presence on the other side. That’s the illusion these create.”

    black and white shamanic figure
    Photo courtesy Robyn Peterson and Cottonwood Center for the Arts


    Beethoven, Schwantner, Carter: Revolutionaries

    Chamber Orchestra of the Springs
    Oct. 8-9
    Thomas Wilson conducts.

    Night of the Living Dead

    Star Bar Players
    Oct. 14-31

    Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini

    Colorado Springs Philharmonic
    Oct. 15
    Al and Leigh Buettner Vanguard Performance, Josep Caballé-Domenech conducts

    Game of Love and Chance

    Oct. 20-Nov. 6

    The Strange Parade: A Tribute to the Doors

    Stargazers Theatre & Event Center
    Oct. 22

    A Thousand Kinds of Life | Anthropology and Culture

    Cottonwood Center for the Arts
    Oct. 29-Nov. 19
    Free. cottonwoodcenterforthearts.com


    Put your inner critic on mute and connect with the artist inside you. From painting to jewelry making, guitar to dance, it’s all right here.

    Bemis School of Art

    The ModboCo School of Art,

    Ormao Dance Company

    ormao dancer
    Photo by Greta Schmidt

    Black Rose Acoustic Society

    Pikes Peak Writers


    The FAC comprises an art school, museum, theater company and retail shop for local art. And it has all the following.

    Shear Madness

    Through Oct. 16.
    An award-winning interactive comedy (and Rocky Mountain West premiere) chases down the death of an old lady living above a hair salon.
    Coolness Factor (CF): It’s different every time you see it.

    First Friday Art Party for a Dia de los Muertos group show, in the Deco Lounge

    Oct. 7.
    Includes cash bar, demos, live music.
    CF: It’s a happening!

    James Surls and Charmaine Locke: All I Ever Wanted

    Oct. 15-Jan. 15.
    Large-scale sculpture and 2-D works focused on themes of nature, abstraction and cosmic ideology.
    CF: The East Texas artists are married, and the show explores the symbiotic relationship between their love for one another and their body of work.

    The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

    Through Oct. 30.
    Favorite storybook fables are uproariously derailed in this musical adaptation. Ages 5 and up.
    CF: Ineloquent giants, sassy barnyard animals and colossal cow pies.

    Too Much Light Makes Baby Go Blind

    Oct. 21-Nov. 19
    An ensemble show of 30 (two-minute) plays in 60 minutes that gets interactive, comic, tragic, political, personal and abstract.
    CF: Isn’t it obvious?

    The GothGlam Bash

    Oct. 29
    Performers, live music, dancing, cocktails, costume contest, prizes and a crazy lot of art.
    CF: Add some glam to your Halloween celebration.

    Polly Want a Do-Over

    If you walked downtown much in the last year, you probably saw sculptor Sean O’Meallie’s Poly Poly, 48 inflatable, vinyl macaws in a grid in the airspace between the Hibbard Building and the Carlton Building on Tejon Street. Removed because of damage, the work, which was one of four Colorado pieces recognized by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review, will fly again in October.

    parrots hanging over downtown colorado springs street
    Poly Poly. Sean O’Meallie. Photo by Michael Pach, 3 Peaks Photography, courtesy of Downtown Partnership

    Give Pokemon a Rest—But Keep Your Cellphone Handy

    Wander through the annual Art on the Streets with an expert: a free, self-guided audio tour (downtowncs.com/AOTS) that walks you through the 11 public works. The 18-year-old program has brought sculpture from all over the world to downtown Colorado Springs. And there’s a bonus: Audio from the artists is included. Rather have a living tour guide? Check out the Downtown Partnership’s Core Culture Tour on Oct. 8.