Cultural Plan

Vision For The Plan

The vision of this cultural plan is to develop, enliven, enhance and promote arts, culture and creative industries in the Pikes Peak region to the benefit of our residents, our visitors, our cultural sector and our business sector.

This 10-year plan identifies goals, strategies and tactics for supporting the growth and diversity of cultural activities and offerings in the Pikes Peak region, and, in turn, pointing to methods in which the arts can strengthen all sectors of the community. The arts are an ecosystem, and in order for that ecosystem to flourish, we require a unified vision for our sector among its many players, including individual artists, the nonprofit sector, creative industries and a wide range of cultural consumers and arts participants. This diversity will serve as a source of strength and inspiration for creative individuals and arts organizations and will not only advance the creative sector but will enhance the economic vitality of the entire region, developing a reputation for our region as a cultural destination.

  Download the Cultural Plan Executive Summary

  Download the Full Cultural Plan


Values For The Plan

When we say “art” we mean arts, culture, history and heritage. We know that the arts…

  • …create a positive, unique and authentic brand for our community.
  • …..foster vibrant neighborhoods and urban revitalization.
  • …are a magnet attracting young professionals and a skilled, innovative and creative workforce.
  • …shape a “destination city,” luring cultural tourists, who stay longer and spend more money than other travelers.
  • …are the cornerstone of a well-rounded education, proven to: teach children complex forms of problem-solving, encourage risk-taking and new approaches, and develop critical-thinking skills.
  • …bridge ethnic and cultural divides, helping us to better understand people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.
  • …build community identity, inclusion and pride.


Why A Plan?

For decades, successful communities have used cultural plans as a way to galvanize their cultural sectors and identify priorities. The Pikes Peak region (El Paso and Teller counties) is home to more than 200 nonprofit organizations that produce an annual economic impact of nearly $100 million. Thousands of individual artists also call this region home. Colorado Springs also ranks in the top 15 percent of 276 metropolitan areas nationwide in number of arts businesses per capita, proving that creative industries are a major force in the economy. Until the formation of COPPeR in 2005, the region lacked a central organization providing research and information about the arts and culture sector. Now, with a professionally staffed local arts agency to conduct the research and oversee such a plan, it is time for a unified vision of the cultural community to emerge.

A cultural plan is a civic document, intended to guide and focus the efforts of citizens who care about arts and culture. The plan states goals and objectives to advocate for, to support financially, and to integrate the work of creative individuals and organizations for the betterment of the Pikes Peak region. The plan was developed through an open, inclusive process using the input of thousands of citizens, and the plan will be implemented with the same spirit.

It is a plan by and for the community, and as such is owned by the community.


About The Process

The arts and cultural sector in the Pikes Peak region has expanded in the past two decades, and arts leaders identified a pronounced need for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the sector in order to enhance the overall community.

An attempt to create a cultural plan in the early 2000s led, in part, to the formation of COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, the first professionally staffed cultural office for the region. In 2008, the two-phase cultural planning process launched, and COPPeR was selected by Arts for Colorado to be part of a statewide collaborative community planning process. This work culminated in an online Arts Community Needs Assessment Survey and the 2008 Arts Summit: Imagination and Innovation, which brought more than 150 artists, arts administrators, and arts educators together to develop a vision for the future of the cultural sector.

In Phase Two, through 2009 and the first half of 2010, COPPeR and the Cultural Plan Steering Committee continued gathering information and conducting research through targeted focus groups, interviews with key leaders, and additional public meetings. This process broadly and deeply engaged diverse perspectives from across the region. The plan also includes input from Dream City: Vision 2020, a grassroots, community-owned project that captured the dreams and aspirations of more than 3,000 people in meaningful dialogue to identify common visions and values.


Goals And Objectives For The Plan

GOAL 1: Increase engagement, access and participation in the cultural life of the region

  • Objective 1: Improve marketing for cultural activities
  • Objective 2: Expand community and neighborhood cultural development
  • Objective 3: Eliminate barriers to access for all citizens
  • Objective 4: Measure and track public participation in cultural programs

GOAL 2: Integrate the arts into the social, economic and political fabric of the community

  • Objective 1: Develop affordable and accessible venues and facilities
  • Objective 2: Define the arts and cultural sector as an economic driver and grow creative industries
  • Objective 3: Affirm culture, identity and heritage

GOAL 3: Strengthen and expand arts learning

  • Objective 1: Focus on K-12 Arts curriculum
  • Objective 2: Enhance Higher Education and Adult Education

GOAL 4: Foster thriving arts organizations

  • Objective 1: Enhance the sustainability of existing cultural organizations
  • Objective 2: Create sustainable funding for cultural organizations

GOAL 5: Support creative individuals and advance arts leadership

  • Objective 1: Recognize and support creative individuals
  • Objective 2: Advance leadership in the arts


About The Plan Implementation

The plan will be stewarded by artists, arts professionals and volunteers in the region. Each of the five Goal Areas will be monitored by a Goal Area Task Force, made up of volunteers whose responsibility it is to monitor action steps and create momentum for action steps that are not already under way. These task forces will meet a minimum of twice per year and provide a very brief written status update to the Cultural Plan Team. In the fall of each year beginning in 2011, COPPeR will convene a public all-hands meeting of all goal task forces to share knowledge, review progress to date and determine steps for moving forward.

Many of the action steps in this plan already are under way or in various stages of progress. The primary job of the Goal Area Task Forces is to ensure that the wheels are in motion on all action steps and that no step is neglected or ignored. In brief, the task forces monitor:

  • Action steps needing initiative, leadership
  • Progress on action steps to date
  • Opportunities for integration with other goals or other community efforts
  • Readjustment of timelines, as needed


Using this plan as a tool for you or your organization:

There is a place in this plan for every artist, arts organization, arts patron, interested citizen, school, neighborhood – everyone! In particular, here are some ways you or your organization can use this plan:

  • Share the plan with staff, board and volunteers of your organization and use it to lead a larger discussion about how your organization serves the needs of the community at large and the arts community in particular.
  • Use the plan as a starting point for your organization’s next strategic plan, and/or planning your next year of programming.
  • Remember that this plan is the result of input from thousands of citizens. As such, when your organization undertakes efforts that align with this plan, it is beneficial to cite the plan as additional “endorsement” for your efforts. This can be beneficial in fundraising and other ways.


Get involved today!

Volunteers are needed for the five Goal Area Task Forces. Time commitments are a minimum of two task force meetings and one all-hands meeting per year. To sign up, go to COPPeR staff also can help connect interested citizens to specific initiatives in this plan; if you are interested in one or more specific action step, contact

The Cultural Plan full document identifies recommended action steps to achieve community partnerships and collaborations will be critical to accomplish the goals and objectives identified in this plan. To get involved or learn more, contact COPPeR,, 719.634.2204,



The Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak Region is a community document produced by COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. COPPeR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to connect residents and visitors with arts and culture to enrich the Pikes Peak region.

Special thanks to the Cultural Plan Team (Janine Alfano Musholt, Susan Edmondson, Nancy Johnson, Todd Liming, Jan Martin, Amanda Mountain, Dave Talbot, Deborah Thornton, Thomas Wilson), Maryo Ewell, and several key funders of COPPeR (Inasmuch, City of Colorado Springs, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Colorado College Public Interest Fellowship Program)


What is Cultural Planning?

Cultural planning is a process that takes stock of existing cultural resources and asks how they can be maintained, enhanced, or developed to continue to improve our lives and the vitality, livability, and success of our community.

Our Cultural Plan will ensure that the arts, culture, history and heritage of the Pikes Peak region are integrated into all aspects of the community and positioned to strengthen the region.


Our goals:

Increase access, civic engagement and participation in the cultural life of the region.

Engage community members in hands-on learning about cultural planning by
demonstrating that we have heard their concerns, issues, dreams and aspirations.

Integrate the arts into the social, economic and political fabric of the community so that
our cultural “fingerprint” includes a broad base of cultural amenities, including our military presence, natural environment, faith centers and sporting centers.

Identify needed actions to strengthen the sustainability of arts providers and enhanced
ability of artists and arts groups to serve the community.


Beginning of Cultural Planning Process 2008:

Inspired and galvanized by the statewide Collaborative Community Planning Process in 2008 and 2009, COPPeR began a two-phase cultural planning process. In April 2008, Colorado Springs (with COPPeR as initiator) was selected by Arts for Colorado to be part of a statewide collaborative community planning process launched in conjunction with the National Performing Arts Conference in Denver. At NPAC in June, Planning Team members attended training sessions on cultural planning.

Informed by the conference, biweekly meetings of the Planning Team then focused on building partnerships and setting parameters for the plan. This work culminated in an online arts community needs assessment survey and the 2008 Arts Summit: Imagination and Innovation, which brought more than 150 artists, arts administrators, and arts educators together to develop a vision for the future.