As published in The Gazette on April 7, 2020 …..
“Like other sectors across our region, the creative sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Events and performances have been postponed or canceled, local galleries and venues are temporarily closed, and many individual artists and performers have lost their opportunities to earn income. It’s really an unprecedented and dire situation for us all.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts & culture sector contributes $15.6 billion to Colorado’s economy, representing 4.5% of the state’s GDP. In El Paso and Teller Counties, the nonprofit arts and culture community has a $153.3 million annual economic impact, supports over 5,000 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $100.8 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $15.9 million in local and state government revenue.
As the designated local arts agency for the City of Colorado Springs and the surrounding two-county region, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), is working tirelessly to support and represent our creative sector during this crisis. But we need the community to join us.
Like other small businesses, our local arts community will need your help to survive during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you’re in a position to do so, please help by:
- Donating back the cost of any canceled tickets
- Taking an online class or workshop
- Purchasing artwork, memberships, or gift cards now for future giving or use
- Volunteering your time or in-kind services.
- Making a financial contribution. We recommend supporting the local Artist Recovery Fund for individual artists or the Emergency Relief Fund for nonprofits (at PPCF.org), and the Survive & Thrive Small Business Emergency Relief Fund (at ExponentialImpact.com.)
To help support and sustain the arts during this time of social distancing, the Cultural Office is encouraging the over 400 local arts and culture groups, organizations, and businesses to move anything that they can to an online/digital format.
Live-streaming performances, online art sales, remote interviews, and virtual art tours are a fast-growing trend across the country.
To facilitate this pivot locally, the Cultural Office has just launched a special landing page on the region’s cultural calendar, PeakRadar.com. At PeakRadar.com/Virtual, you’ll now find online arts experiences from 27 local organizations and more are added every day.
This adaptation is making our arts community more accessible locally and to the rest of the country and world! I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out and start participating in the arts from your living room.
Our creative sector is strong, innovative, and quick to adapt to new challenges, so I have no doubt that we’ll persevere — we already are in our new virtual environment!
With our community’s support, the local arts scene can weather this crisis and continue fueling our local economy, attracting cultural tourists, and enriching the lives of our residents.
I look forward to seeing you at a future music concert, theater performance, gallery opening, poetry reading, dance recital, or film screening when the COVID-19 public health crisis has passed and it’s once again safe to gather together, in person, to celebrate and enjoy the arts.”
Andy Vick is the Executive Director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region.