How would you sum up all your creative vision for your next art project in a three-minute video? The nine finalists for the Peak Arts Prize had to do exactly that. The regional contest is back for its second year, bringing local artists and arts organizations together with the public for a vote—with prize money on the line that will help fund the winning proposals. The prototype program of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region brought in 34 video entries, and judges narrowed them down to nine finalists. Now it’s up to you and me.
“What makes Peak Arts Prize so exciting is its high visibility, shining a new spotlight on our arts community’s standing invitation for more people to experience local arts and culture,” says Angela Seals, program coordinator and deputy director of the Cultural Office. “From the video applications to the fresh ideas in the projects themselves to the diversity of the applicants, this contest directly asks people what they want to see happen creatively in their own community this year.”
One winner in each of three categories—Small Arts Organization, Large Arts Organization and Individual Artist—will receive grant money from the Cultural Office to pursue the artist’s vision, bringing their ideas to life and better connect their art with the broader community.
“I think that it will benefit my gallery in so many ways,” says finalist Abigail Kreuser of Kreuser Gallery. “What I really want to do is bring in other creatives to liven up the space and bring in more culture to the community.”
Public voting closes on March 15. Watch for an announcement of the winners on March 20. Here’s an overview below of the nine finalists. Watch their full presentations and vote at peakartsprize.org/vote.
Prize: $2,5000 grant and $500 digital marketing package with PeakRadar.com
1. Kailani Dobson, Atlas.Promisi
Written promises gathered from the community through meditative movement workshops will be assembled into handmade books and inspire a dance installation. “Atlas.Promisi is a collaborative investigation of vulnerability and commitments,” Dobson says in her artist’s synopsis.
2. Thom Phelps, A Farewell to Bees
A steel sculpture of a dead bee will be the centerpiece of a local exhibition to educate and engage the public about bee extinction and pollinator protection.
3. Adam Williams, Humanitou 2.0
Adam Williams will expand his social art project, Humanitou.com, beyond Manitou Springs to the broader Pikes Peak region. The project is built around one-on-one conversations and photographic portraits. “We skip the small talk and dive deep, covering human topics like love and relationships, aging and death, politics and society, masculinity and culture, along with art and the creative process, and other human threads we all have in common,” Williams says in his artist’s synopsis. “In short, Humanitou is about connection.”
Small Arts Organization
Prize: $5,000 Grant and $500 digital marketing package with PeakRadar.com
1. Kreuser Gallery, SOLA / SOLA LIVE
In its new downtown location, the Kreuser Gallery will launch SOLA “Supporting Our Local Arts,” a website to sell local art and turn 10 percent of profits into a local artist grant program. SOLA Live will present bimonthly performance artists in the gallery.
2. Pacific Pride & Island Hearts, Pacific Island Cultural Fest
The local Polynesian community has celebrated an annual luau event for 20 years. Pacific Pride & Island Hearts will expand to America the Beautiful Park, welcoming all to celebrate dance, cuisine, crafts and island culture.
3. The Unsteady Hand, Creativity Labs
Providing improved quality of life in a communal engagement for people living with Parkinson’s Disease. “The Unsteady Hand’s Creativity Labs and our annual art show help people with Parkinson’s and their care partners discover how the creative process feeds the soul, improves fine motor skills and creates an intentional positive community,” says the group’s artist’s synopsis.
Large Arts Organization
Prize: $7,500 grant and $500 digital marketing package with PeakRadar.com
1. Bliss Studio and Gallery, Forging Human Connections and Embracing Empathy
The studio will present welding and iron pour workshops to spark conversation about connection and empathy. Students will join the collective creation of a public art sculpture and be invited to participate in the studio’s second annual Iron Pour event.
2. Ormao Dance Company, Global Water Dance 2019
In June, Ormao Dance Company will connect locals in Monument Valley Park with the Global Water Dances, an artistic initiative to inspire action and collaboration for water issues through the language of dance. It will draw attention to Monument Creek, which is part of Colorado Springs’ watershed and feeds into the environmentally contaminated Fountain Creek. “The event will culminate in an invitation (not an expectation) to all participants—dancers, musicians, environmentalists, viewers—to dance together in the spirit of collaboration needed to address our challenges around the local watershed,” the group’s synopsis says.
3. Youth Documentary Academy, YDA Speaker Series + Our Time TV Series
The intensive summer film program for Colorado Springs high school students fosters a generation of visual artists and community advocates. The speaker series expands on community screenings of their films, and students will participate in audience outreach for a new TV series, Our Time, to be broadcast on Rocky Mountain PBS later this year.
Who will win the Peak Arts Prize? Watch all the artists’ full presentations and vote at peakartsprize.org/vote.