23 Ways to Celebrate Arts Month 2021

Try these creative highlights to enjoy a new cultural experience during #ArtsOctober. It’s only the beginning of all the ways to celebrate Arts Month.

Looking for something new to get out and do? Arts Month 2021 has you covered. The whole goal is to have at least one new cultural experience with friends or family during October. The annual event by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region is in its eighth year, and after a mostly virtual run last year, Arts Month 2021 is packed with a full schedule of entertaining ways to celebrate local arts and put a little fun and creativity into your life. 

While there are many great concerts, theater performances and gallery openings to explore, Arts Month isn’t limited to what you might think of traditional arts. Comedy, spoken word and culinary arts are all major themes as well, making for some tasty and creative experiences to discover. 

To help navigate the options, Arts Month is divided into the following theme weeks:

Week 1: Visual and Culinary Arts, Oct. 3-9

Week 2: Theater and Film, Oct. 10-16

Week 3: Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Oct. 17-23

Week 4: Music and Dance, Oct. 24-30

Shows and performances are not limited to those weeks, but there are special events aligned with the focus of each respective week. 

“I’m really excited for Latin Fever on Oct. 8 at CO.A.T.I. because it’s a great opportunity to showcase our Latinx community during a time when it’s both Arts Month and Hispanic Heritage Month,” says Andy Vick, executive director of the Cultural Office. “The inauguration of our new Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, Ashley Cornelius, on Oct. 23rd at the Knights of Columbus Hall is going to be a wonderful way to end Poetry, Prose & Comedy Week, and also a great new beginning to a more active and visible celebration of poetry in our community!”

Here are highlights of Arts Month events, so you can start making plans, registering or buying tickets, and generally filling up your calendar early. Keep watching ArtsOctober.com for more added throughout the month. You might just find your new passion. 

“Arts Month is all about creating new audiences for local arts and culture. I hope that someone having a new cultural experience during Arts Month this October will lead to a longer-term relationship with the arts that will last a lifetime.”

Week 1: Visual and Culinary Arts, Oct. 3-9

Indie Spirit Film Festival

Oct. 1-8

The annual film festival takes a virtual format this year, screening more than 85 films and shorts. Enjoy documentary and narrative offerings from local and international filmmakers. 

Times vary, Independent Film Society of Coloradoisff.eventive.org/welcome

Virtual Cooking Classes

Oct. 3, 4, 9

Create and savor the art of food when you make it yourself. Arts Month 2021 is giving away up to 300 free virtual cooking classes with David Cook and Cortney Smith from Gather Food Studio. Choose and register now for “Beef Wellington Demo” (Oct. 3), “The Art of Pie Crust” (Oct. 4) and “Garden Art Focaccia Bread Demo” (Oct. 9). 

Oct. 3, 4, 9, virtual with Gather Food Studioartsoctober.com/special-program/virtual-cooking-classes

Youth Art Gallery

Oct. 1-31

Celebrate talented young black artists from across the Front Range of Colorado. The exhibit is on display all month.

Museum hours, The Gallery Belowartsoctober.com/special-program/my-black-colorado-youth-art-gallery

Arts Month artist Ronny Quevedo in Comunidades Visibles: The Materiality of Migration at Albright-Knox Northland.
Comunidades Visibles (Visible Communities): The Materiality of Migration brings together artworks by first- or second-generation immigrant Latinx artists. In their creative practices, these artists celebrate their communities and interrogate the materials and stories that form their foundations. Each combines materials and techniques from their country of origin, from other colonized places, or from their present context with everyday or art historical references. The resulting hybrid practices correspond with the artists’ hybrid identities. Collectively, these objects and installations invite us to question our relationships to our own histories, evaluate the communities to which we belong, and see with new appreciation the value that erased or marginalized groups contribute to our daily lives. By turning personal history into palpable presence, the selected artists transform difficult narratives into celebratory and beautiful objects that convey urgent and consequential narratives about historical and contemporary immigration.
This exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistant Andrea Alvarez.

Ronny Quevedo, at the line

Oct. 1 – Dec. 5

The Fine Art Center at Colorado College presents the first solo exhibition in Colorado by internationally known, Ecuadorian artist Ronny Quevedo. The selection of recent work explores the formation of individual identity shaped by a fractured past.

Museum hours, Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, fac.coloradocollege.edu

Latin Fever

Oct. 8

Salsa till midnight at this evening of art, dance and Latin beats, hosted by Jaguart and CC Mobile Arts. The joint celebration with Hispanic Heritage Month will place the fervor of Latin dance in the limelight. 

6 p.m., CO.A.T.I Uprise, artsoctober.com/special-program/latin-fever

Arts Month Trivia Night

Oct. 8

Test your art facts and local knowledge as a team or individual at UCCS Downtown. It’s a free trivia night hosted by UCCS Downtown and CS Rising Professionals. 

5:30 p.m., UCCS Downtown, web.cvent.com

The Performance Series

Oct. 9

The two galleries host their first evening of performance art. Enjoy five performances by six local artists: spoken word, dance and performance pieces by Jasmine Dillavou, Su Kaiden Cho, Ashley Cornelius, Jacqueline Viola Mouton and Jordan McHenry, and Hollyn Pinar.

4 p.m., G44 Gallery and Kreuser Gallerypeakradar.com/event/october-performance-series

Monument Mural Painting

Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30

Celebrate Arts Month with the city of Monument. Join local artist Lawson Barney to help paint a mural of the Front Range at Monument Lake.

9 a.m.-4 p.m. each Saturday, Monument Lakepeakradar.com/event/town-of-monument-celebrates-arts-month

Thrive at the Peake Gallery

October – December

Check out the vibrant splash of colors, styles, mediums and more at the Peake Gallery in the Perk Downtown. The quarterly solo and group exhibit opens Oct. 1.

Business hours, The Perk Downtownpeakradar.com/event/thrive

Week 2: Theater and Film, Oct. 10-16


Sept. 16 – Oct. 10

Theatreworks opens its season with the tale a woman—who may be a witch—who thinks fast when a man—who’s definitely the devil—comes knocking in a dark comedy based on a Jacobean classic.

Showtimes vary, Ent Center for the Arts at UCCSentcenterforthearts.org

PPCC students perform in a theater production
Pikes Peak Community College Theatre students Emily Newton and Ilana Sherwood perform in collaboration with the PPCC Dance Dept. and Art Gallery for “Still/Moving: From Borders to Ballots and the Footprints We Leave” in April 2021. Photo by Melanie and Tyler Photography.

Guadalupe in the Guest Room

Sept. 30 – Oct. 24

The Fine Arts Center Theatre presents Guadalupe in the Guest Room. The live stage production is a funny and heartfelt celebration of new beginnings, breaking barriers and a realization that understanding doesn’t always require speaking the same language.

Sept. 30 – Oct. 24, Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, fac.coloradocollege.edu

Shakespeare’s Horror: An Exploration of the Bard’s Macabre and Grim

Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25

Local actor David Anthony Lewis leads a spooky investigation of Shakespeare’s most chilling plays in a weekly series, including scene readings and historical context. 

6 p.m., Cottonwood Center for the Artscottonwoodcenterforthearts.com

Haunting at the Old Homestead

Oct. 1-30

The Butte Theatre presents an original Halloween tale about three unlikely ghostbusters trying to rid Cripple Creek’s favorite brothel of an unwanted spirit that’s scaring off clients. A Halloween Olio will follow, with singing, dancing and laughter.

Wednesdays and Weekends, The Butte Theatre, Cripple Creek, thinairtheatre.com

Week 3: Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Oct. 17-23

Improv Classes

Sept. 14 – Oct. 19

Spend six weeks learning and performing—with a graduation show in front of a live, public audience. Explore short and long form improv comedy in this class series taught by United Comedy Academy at 3e’s Comedy Club.

Tuesdays, 6 p.m., 3E’s Comedy Clubunitedcomedyacademy.com

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

Poetry 719: We Do Stuff Poetry Festival

Oct. 20-24

The Poetry719 organization builds connection by uplifting the voices of marginalized communities and people of color. Its annual five-day festival features in-person and virtual open mics, spoken word, dance, workshops and more. There’s a full schedule running Wednesday through Sunday.

Various times and locations, Poetry719artsoctober.com/special-program/poetry719-festival

All Pikes Peak Reads Presents: Author Robert Kolker

Oct. 21

Award-winning journalist Robert Kolker discusses his book Hidden Valley Road in a virtual event. The New York Times best-seller tells a story of a family overcome with schizophrenia and the major advancements in our understanding of mental illness brought about by their willingness to undergo research.

7:30 p.m., Virtual by the Pikes Peak Library Districtppld.librarymarket.com

Not-So-Late Show: Coffee Shop Pop-Up

Oct. 21

Awaken Creative presents “2-Ply or Bust,” the third episode of an original live sitcom, “The Last Showstopper,” and other fun and meaningful pieces exploring division and reconciliation in our world today. 

7 p.m., Third Space Coffeeawakencreative.org

Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Inauguration

Oct. 23

Don’t miss performances and the installation of Ashley Cornelius as the region’s new poet laureate. A silent disco will follow.

6 p.m., Pikes Peak Library District at Knights of Columbus Hallpeakradar.com/event/pikes-peak-poet-laureate-inauguration-2

Week 4: Music and Dance, Oct. 24-30

Karen Mosbacher painting for Chromesthesia, exhibition on display during Arts Month at Cottonwood Center for the Arts
Sonata for Viola and Piano I: Impetuoso, R. Clarke by Karen Mosbacher, part of the Chromesthesia exhibition on display during Arts Month at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

Chromesthesia: Art Inspired by Music

Oct. 1-30

Chromesthesia is a form of synesthesia in which sound causes a person to experience color, shape and movement, in addition to common emotional reactions to music. This juried show features artists of all mediums from across the Pikes Peak region, interpreting three musical works.

Museum hours, Cottonwood Center for the Artscottonwoodcenterforthearts.com/currentexhibition

Classical KCME Virtual Passport

Oct. 18-31

Sign up for your passport. Travel through all the different programs on 88.7, and collect key words or answers to questions. The more answers you collect in your passport, the bigger the prize you could win from the classical music station. 

KCME 88.7peakradar.com/event/classical-kcme-virtual-passport

Arts Vision 2030

Oct. 27

This celebratory event unveils the new 10-year cultural plan for the Pikes Peak region. Mix and mingle at The Gold Room. Presentations include Arts Vision 2030 Declarations and a performance of the new poem “The Time is Now” by Ashley Cornelius, the new Pikes Peak Poet Laureate and Arts Vision 2030 Steering Committee member.

5 p.m., The Gold Roompeakradar.com

Brett Eldredge, Good Day Tour

Oct. 28

The award-winning, platinum-selling country music star brings his Good Day Tour to The Broadmoor World Arena. Nashville breakout star Morgan Evans takes the stage as well. 

7:30 p.m., The Broadmoor World Arenabroadmoorworldarena.com/events/detail/eldredge

Halloween Zombikaze Burlesque

Oct. 29-30

Colorado’s Burlesque Super Troupe performs a Halloween themed show at the Champagne Cabaret. The show is kamikaze style, meaning performers don’t know their musical accompaniment until 30 seconds before they perform. Costumes are encouraged for all guests. 

7 p.m., The Gold Roompeakradar.com/event/halloween-zombikaze-burlesque/

Find more arts events and things to do at ArtsOctober.com. And tag your social media with #ArtsOctober when you share your Arts Month experiences.

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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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