Level Up Resources

Level Up Resources

Starting a creative business? Looking to LEVEL UP your current set-up? Want to switch to a creative sector? We have put together the ultimate Creative Economy Guide, where you can find funding guides, gig opportunities, trainings, and cohesive resources for however you are looking to engage. 

Think we are missing something? Email Dylan@CulturalOffice.org to update the guide! 

Upcoming Resource Fairs

The Cultural Office will be hosting creative resource and job fairs in early 2024. Check back on this page for further updates!

Small Business Center

#AccessCOS is a city-wide online resource center for small businesses brought to you by community partners. Packed with free on-demand business tips from local experts and funding opportunities, you will never feel stuck again.

  • Colorado Springs Permits and Licenses: Discover the permits, licenses, and fees needed to open or expand your business in the City of Colorado Springs.
  • COS Open for Biz: A “step-by-step” online guide to assist entrepreneurs from their great idea to grand opening.
  • Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center: Helps existing and new businesses grow and prosper in the Pikes Peak Region by providing free and confidential consulting and no- or low-cost training programs.
  • Pikes Peak Workforce Center: Offering a variety of employer services from job postings, to job fairs, to pre-employment assessments.
  • SCORE Southern Colorado: Offers FREE 1 on 1 or Team Mentoring; Educational Programs (Live Virtual or On Demand); FREE Resources (Templates, Blogs and More). SCORE mentors know what it’s like to be a small business owner; its community of experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives is eager to help you start and grow your business.
  • Springs StartupFor entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, providing new early-stage and community programming for startup founders and the ecosystem.
  • THRIVE Network: An intensive program that provides hands on education, mentorship, networking and scholarship opportunities. THRIVE enrolls those who want an opportunity to start or build a business in the southeast side of Colorado Springs. The program is free to the participants!
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center: The VBOC Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.
  • Art Boss: A program of the Pikes Peak Arts Council that provides artists with continuing education on topics including innovation, advocacy, and business in the visual and performing arts.
  • Artwork Archive: Provides artists, collectors and organizations powerful tools to manage their artwork, career or collection. They additionally provide thorough resource guides on how to start an arts business, manage your portfolio, and track nationwide opportunities for artists of all mediums.
  • CaFÉ: A program of WESTAF, find calls for art of all kinds! 
  • Center for Cultural Innovation: Provides entrepreneurial training for individual artists and cultural workers in all disciplines  to enhance their business knowledge and career prospects (note: while paid trainings are offered via Zoom, there is limited availability for non-California based artists).
  • Colorado Business Committee for the Arts Resource Library: Breadth of webinars on any and all topics, from copywriting to knowing your rights as an independent artist.
  • CreativeStudy: Provides subscriptions to high-quality, self-paced, video-based courses to help creatives thrive by making intelligent business and financial decisions.
  • Springboard for the Arts/Art-Train: Art-Train is a virtual technical assistance program for artists, municipal agencies, and community-focused organizations in all sectors, in communities of all sizes across the nation. Trainings are free for artists and for Native, Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led and focused community-based organizations. 

Funding Crash Course

Whether you are an independent artist, small business, or nonprofit we have compiled a variety of funding resources to meet your needs.

The NEA is the only arts funder in the United States—public or private—that provides access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. Each year, they award thousands of grants nationwide, including grants to first-time applicants. Whether you are a first-time or returning applicant, they welcome the opportunity to connect with you. Their staff strives to ensure that all applicants receive the support they need to understand every step of the process.

This guide contains a wide array of federal funding resources that go beyond typical arts grants to encompass various aspects of creative placemaking. Most of them are not directly intended for creative placemaking, but could fund one or more aspects of the overall effort, like business retention or attraction, incorporating artists in planning processes, or construction of community-serving facilities. Check out the how to use webinar here.

One stop shop for all Colorado State grants/RFP/RFQ/small creative business development resources. Use a variety of filters to search for individual grants, organizational grants, loans, tax credits, project funding. Filter by Industry and Interests to get specific opportunities related to you.

The Colorado Startup Loan Fund provides loan capital to mission-based lenders to provide loans to Colorado entrepreneurs and small business owners needing capital to start, restart, or restructure a business, and those who are not able to obtain a loan from traditional lenders. This is a revolving loan fund, meaning the dollars will be used to continue supporting new entrepreneurs as loans are repaid. Scroll down to loan providers to learn more about partnership options when opening your business.

Creative Alliance of Manitou Springs regularly updates this funding tracker as they hear about new opportunities for small businesses and people participating in the creative industries. Click on individual links in the tracker to learn more about each opportunity! 

 

TourWest is a competitive grant program, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, that provides subsidies to arts and community organizations for the presentation of touring performers and literary artists within the 13-state WESTAF region. The WESTAF region includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and Pacific jurisdictions (American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam). 

The Robert Hilbert Nonprofit Resource Center (NRC) is located in the Carnegie Library at Penrose Library. Funding for the NRC is provided by the Pikes Peak Library District and a grant from the El Pomar Foundation. The NRC is a Funding Information Network partner of Candid, previously known as the Foundation Center. The Funding Information Network is comprised of libraries, community foundations, NGOs, and nonprofit resource centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, plus a dozen other countries. The resource center is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Facebook Group Connections

As artists, we know that many opportunities come from organic connections. In this section, you will find a variety of Facebook groups where artists of all mediums can find work opportunities, calls to audition, RFPs/RFQs, and support for your creative pursuits. 

Groups for All Mediums

Are you an Artist? Painter, photographer, filmmaker, fiber artist, sculptor, illustrator, multimedia, mixed media, woodworker, Doodler? Are you a Hooper and/or Belly dancer? This group is set up for Colo. Creatives to post their classes, workshops, website links, show your latest works of art, post photos, post links to your exhibitions and much more. Art Galleries, please post your CALL FOR ARTISTS. Film Makers, post your CALL FOR ACTORS and CREW. Join us and let’s make this a thriving arts community.

Find local artists, curbside experiences/delivery, new artwork and more. Why? Art heals and connects us. Musicians, Actors, Dancers, Painters, Sculptors–All You Beautiful People Who Shape Our Culture: We need you now more than ever and we want to help promote you! This is a place to celebrate the positive power of our Pikes Peak region’s visual and performing artists. Let us see, hear, and experience your creativity. Share your new work, new shows, new digital classes or lesson offerings. We are not here to criticize, denigrate, or otherwise hold you back. Instead, we intend to create a safe place to connect across disciplines and spark COVID-safe collaborations. Be seen. Be heard. Be well.
 
Artists Connect Pikes Peak exists to foster the connection between art lovers as humans first; consumers second. For that reason, we encourage creatives to share their own work via fan recommendations, reviews and demos rather than direct-sales posts, and to pay it forward by celebrating the work of other creatives. We believe this kind of human-first content contributes more effectively to an inclusive and sustainable arts economy, so please – join us in building success for the arts by crafting posts that help readers experience the power of your work, rather than directly calling on them to buy it.

Groups for Visual Artists

A place where you can post your arts, photography, or crafts for sale. Group services the entire state of Colorado. Join here!

A community group and forum for designers and creatives in the Colorado Springs region. Join here!

This is a group for the Colorado Springs community to sell and buy homemade items to support local crafters! Please note you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here!

A virtual craft fair for Colorado Springs. Join here!

Colorado Springs Creatives is a collaboration of the talented and creative community members of Colorado Springs who offer a wide variety of skill sets/talents that benefit our local area. We have two goals: (1) Foster community and social connection through art, and (2) Act as a valuable resource for individuals and those seeking their talents. Please note you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here!

An open group where members can sell/promote artwork, some promotion/call for work. Join here!

Groups for Musicians

A forum, contact point and chat area dedicated to freelance musicians in the Colorado Springs Area. Join here!

A place to post flyers, advertise, buy and sell your tickets for upcoming events, entertainment, concerts & performances. Join here!

A group to promote venues/shows/releases, generally discuss the music scene in the region. Join here!

A group devoted to fostering the Colorado Springs jazz music scene and community (more for posting upcoming shows, but does welcome requests for support/connection to paid work). Join here!

A group to discuss the music industry in Colorado Springs. Please see group rules and note that you will have to request membership to see posts. Join here! 

A place for jazz musicians in Colorado Springs to find subs for upcoming gigs or full-time bandmates. Join here!

Groups for Theater, Film, and Performance

A national group to provide information about submissions/competitions for playwrights. Join here!

This group is a message board for professional singers in Denver, the Front Range, and all of Colorado to post job opportunities including gigs, sub calls, and auditions. (Note: this group posts unpaid work in addition to paid opportunities). Please note you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here!

For all the folks involved in live theater in Colorado. Share info about shows, jobs, auditions, volunteers, openings, closings…all that good stuff. Join here!

This page is for both film makers and actors. We highly encouraged actors to share projects they find here as well. It is also a place for local resources for both actors & production.

A place for local theatre techs to share resources and stories. Join here!

The Colorado Springs Film Crew, is a community driven group whose goal is to help promote local filmmakers in the city by way of sharing ideas, helping out on set, or simply showing up for a screening. The group will consist of both in person meet ups, virtual writing classes or just chit chats, and more. Join here!

Film group for filmmakers, crew and talent, that live in Colorado Springs or are willing to travel to the Springs to be part of projects. Please note you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here! 

This is a group for those of us who identify as People of Color and also act, direct, write, produce, work crew, or are in any other way involved in the Colorado Spring Theatre community. This group is a place where we can post audition notices, casting needs, etc. that are specific to POC. This is also a space for us to network and get to know each other in the hope of creating a support network within the larger Theatre community. Please note, you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here!

This Facebook group is to support theatre practitioners in the Pikes Peak Region. This open forum invites posts about all facets of theatre production and artistry– including casting and technical opportunities, employment, arts education, industry night performances at theatres, articles discussing our field, show listings, professional development, celebrating or remembering local theatre artists, shout outs and praise to other community members, and community bonding. Please note, you will need to request membership to join this group. Join here!

Creative Economy Data

Creative Vitality™ Suite is the industry standard data solution for measuring the for-profit and nonprofit arts, culture, and creative sectors. Here are the recent snapshots for the Colorado Springs MSA (which includes all of El Paso & Teller Counties):

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