You can’t stop the arts. Through wars, famine, tragedies, oppression and, yes, pandemics, creativity has found ways to express its voice and inspire humanity. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t had to adapt—art just keeps innovating. The same is true for the annual celebration of the local arts scene. For the seventh year running, October is Arts Month in Colorado Springs.
Of course, there will be differences this year because, you know, COVID, and many events and performances will be virtual as many venues remain unable to host their normal shows and gatherings. But the goal of Arts Month remains the same: Have at least one new cultural experience with friends or family during October. If anything, the annual celebration takes on even greater importance as it brings support to local artists, performers and creatives who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The sponsoring Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region is optimistic about this year’s celebration. “It has come together so wonderfully,” says Andy Vick, executive director of the Cultural Office, on Peak Radar Live: Arts Month Overview. “The new website, ArtsOctober.com, which we had started before the pandemic has been a wonderful addition and given us so much ability to improvise and pivot and be creative and really have a wonderful Arts Month 2020.”
To help navigate the options, Arts Month is divided into the following theme weeks:
Week 1: Visual and Culinary Arts, Oct. 4-10
Week 2: Theater and Film, Oct. 11-17
Week 3: Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Oct. 18-25
Week 4: Music and Dance, Oct. 26-31
Shows and performances are not limited to those weeks, but there are special events aligned with the focus of each respective week.
The culinary arts are a new addition this year, highlighting creative and edibly oriented endeavors and events, such as a series of free virtual cooking classes with David and Cortney Cook from Gather Food Studio in Old Colorado City and a free virtual Community Conversation about restaurant innovation with local restaurateurs, such as Brother Luck, chef and owner of Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling, and Russ Ware, co-founder of Wild Goose and Good Neighbors Meeting Houses.
The series of eight virtual Community Conversations are a key part of this year’s Arts Month. The conversations kick off with the Art of Social Justice, featuring a panel of leading local Black artists, including Ashley Cornelius, Tony Exum Jr., Lynne Hastings and Goddess Tyesha. Each Community Conversation is free, but registration is required.
Other highlights of Arts Month 2020 include Drive-In Cinema, hosted by Rocky Mountain Women’s Film, and the Cyber Poetry Festival, hosted by Poetry719. To kick off Theater and Film Week, actors from local companies will unite to livestream a free Virtual Theatre Showcase. The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Dragon Theatre Company, Craft Productions Resources, Springs Ensemble Theatre, Theatreworks, the Millibo Art Theatre, Theatre ‘d Art, and Theatre Across Borders will all present live selections.
A different Artist of the Day will be featured at ArtsOctober.com, highlighting a local creator and his or her work. And Peak Radar Live’s video series features interviews and events that bring the themes of Arts Month to life. Each new Arts Month episode airs live on Sundays, Sept. 27-Oct. 5.
“This arts community is strong,” Vick says. “We’re going to celebrate [Arts Month] like we do every October, and it’s going to be a great time for us all to come together, even though it may be in a virtual space. We’re really going to use the arts as a connector and a way to make this community feel alive. I’m really excited to be able to do that with Arts Month this year.”
Arts Month Dates and Details
Find all the events, dates, times, details and more at artsoctober.com