Op Ed: Uniting Manitou Springs’ library and art center to enrich community

Op Ed: Uniting Manitou Springs’ library and art center to enrich community

Published in the Colorado Springs Business Journal, 12/11/20


"The art and culture community can survive and thrive – but it will require creativity and openness to new opportunities with other likely, and not-so-likely, allies."
Andy Vick
Executive Director, Cultural Office

As we all endure the many ripple effects from the ongoing global pandemic, the power of collaboration gives me hope for the future. The art and culture community can survive and thrive – but it will require creativity and openness to new opportunities with other likely, and not-so-likely, allies.

The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and local performing artists realized the need to pivot in the wake of COVID-19, so art and cultural experiences could be delivered directly to community members in a safe and engaging way. As a result, we launched Curbside Culture, a new program that facilitates small-scale live performances outside of private residences, businesses, and gathering spots. The program has become a valuable resource during the pandemic, and it will continue to support and benefit our performing arts community into the foreseeable future.

Now, we also can look towards a future with more synergy, right in the heart of Manitou Springs, to support people’s aspirations and boost prosperity. Art, literature, creative studios, and meeting spaces will soon unite under one roof to enrich the local community and broader region. Thanks to a new co-location partnership, Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) will relocate the Manitou Springs Library inside of the Manitou Art Center (MAC) during the first quarter of 2021. Like Curbside Culture, this joint venture demonstrates what’s possible when existing partners capitalize on their strong alignment and actively pursue resourceful solutions. 

Building upon a decade of trust and cooperation, PPLD and the MAC are working together right now to transform the historic building at 515 Manitou Avenue to become a shared space that extends more benefits to local artists, Library cardholders, and the greater community. As the partnership evolves, PPLD will be able to offer more than traditional library resources and services – and in a way that’s accessible to all in Manitou Springs. The MAC will join them in welcoming more residents to learn, connect, create, and tinker with their already extensive offering of equipment and creative spaces.

This coming March, the Manitou Springs Library will officially open inside of the MAC with limited indoor services, in addition to curbside pickups and returns. People will be able to browse the collection and check out Library materials, connect one-on-one with library staff, and use WiFi, computer stations, and copying, scanning, and faxing services. As the shared spaces expand in the future, PPLD and the MAC will offer broader access to on-site meeting rooms, computer labs, makerspaces, art studios, and workforce development opportunities. 

This is what can happen when we unite to find ways to better serve our community regardless of the circumstances. I applaud PPLD and the MAC for their collaboration, and I hope other organizations are inspired to move beyond traditional community partnerships and consider embracing the shared-space model that capitalizes on existing resources and plays to each other’s strengths. Such alliances can lead to more people and businesses flourishing, which is what we need to strengthen the fabric of our communities for years to come.

Andy Vick
Executive Director
Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region

Andy Vick is an experienced leader and arts administrator who believes in the power of the creative sector to drive economic development, build community, grow tourism, and enhance the quality of life for everyone. As Executive Director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, Andy oversees the daily operation and financial management of the nonprofit, local arts agency serving the City of Colorado Springs and the surrounding two-county region.

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