In the midst of the historic hardships of 2020, the local arts community is playing a vital role in the Pikes Peak region. The arts are supporting mental and psychological health during stress and isolation, generating economic impact and tourism draw, infusing virtual schooling with creativity, and reaching across our social and racial divisions with hope. The Cultural Office and regional committee of arts leaders launched the #ElevatedByArt campaign during Arts Month 2020 to honor this powerful relevance and celebrate these stories large and small.

From October 2020-February 2021, #ElevatedByArt is premiering compelling, original video shorts that drive home the relevance of art in our community during crisis. These stories are released digitally, on social media, and at ElevatedByArt.com. They exclusively feature local artists and arts organizations and are produced by Jason Carter of Twelve Legs Marketing, winner of the 2020 Icon Award for “Producer of the Year” from AAF Colorado Springs.

The public is invited to share their own social posts and video stories about the impact of art in their lives right now with the hashtag #ElevatedByArt. This stream of public stories stands alongside the professional series at ElevatedByArt.com and create an uplifting, growing portrait of creativity’s role in our region’s resilience.

Photo: THEATREWORKS by Isaiah Downing

A working group of diverse local creative leaders is behind the #ElevatedByArt campaign, which is stewarded by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region on behalf of the arts community overall. The working group is chaired by Angela Seals, Deputy Director of the Cultural Office, with contributions from the following team members:

  • Becca Sickbert, Manitou Springs Creative District
  • Brandon Bornes, My Black Colorado, Peak Artists Series, and BornesPro Media
  • Colin Christie, Neon Pig Creative
  • Daisy McGowan, UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art
  • Dori Mitchell, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
  • Jonathan Andujar, THEATREdART and Colorado Springs School
  • Kim Griffis, Visit Colorado Springs
  • Laurel Prud’homme, Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs/Downtown Creative District
  • Marisa Hebert, Actor/Director/Playwright
  • Matt Radcliffe, Pikes Peak Community College and Springs Ensemble Theatre

“The diverse working group demonstrates how our arts community collaborates and innovates even in hard times. Together, we’ve built and designed a project that will get people thinking really deeply about the role of creativity in collective healing,” says campaign chair, Angela Seals. “The arts are here for us in isolation, in limitation, in disruption. The arts help us ask the right questions and see each other more clearly. The arts community will be critical in our region’s resilience amid our historic challenges, and in our recovery.”

The creative sector has also been deeply impacted by the 2020 pandemic. In Colorado, 59,000 creative sector jobs have been lost, and annual revenue has taken a $2.6 billion hit, according to Colorado Creative Industries, the state arts agency. In the Pikes Peak region, unprecedented challenges are facing local artists and our nearly 400 creative businesses and arts nonprofits. For these reasons, ElevatedByArt.com also will invite the community to “Elevate Back” by connecting to information about how to support local arts events by participating (virtually or in-person) or by donating to the Artist Recovery Fund at Pikes Peak Community Foundation.

“Yes, the arts need support now more than ever,” says Seals, “but the #ElevatedByArt campaign expands that story to how they support us – how the arts support us individually, how they support our economy, how they support our neighborhoods. It’s an uplifting story in the midst of hardship. We hope the public will join us in reflecting on this relevance and share their personal stories with #ElevatedByArt!”

#ElevatedByArt is funded by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Bee Vradenburg Foundation. Special thanks to Visit COS for collaborating on an out-of-market promotional campaign for #ElevatedByArt, and to Neon Pig Creative and Madwoman Marketing for their support and professional services.

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