The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and Pikes Peak Community Foundation invite the community to vote for the People’s Choice Prize of Peak Arts Prize 2020 at PeakArtsPrize.org/VOTE from Wednesday, Feb. 26 to Wednesday, Mar. 11 at noon. The People’s Choice Prize is a special grant of $1,000 that is part of the larger Peak Arts Prize 2020 program.
Peak Arts Prize funds projects that amplify local arts to new audiences. Video applications were accepted online from January 6 – February 6, and attracted 31 creative applications from across the region. A panel of 5 expert judges chose the top 9 projects – the top three in each category. These inspiring projects advance to this People’s Choice Prize round. Of these 9, three of them are the Peak Arts Prize 2020 grant recipients. One of them will receive the $1,000 People’s Choice Prize entirely based on the votes of the community.
New this year, the community can also donate to the projects directly from the ballot, introducing crowdfunding to the program for the first time. This new feature is inspired by the generosity of the original philanthropists, Carl and Edith Ellyas, whose estate began the Fund for the Arts that powers Peak Arts Prize.
“Great ideas can only happen in our community if we invest in them, the way the Ellyas invested in the Fund for the Arts. You can help these inspiring projects happen in a neighborhood near you by voting and by donating before March 11.” says Angela Seals, program coordinator of Peak Arts Prize.
Peak Arts Prize is funded by Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s (PPCF) Fund for the Arts, which was founded in April 2004 when Carl and Edith Ellyas left their estate to the Foundation. Based on the Ellyas’s great love of the arts, the fund was established to foster sustainability and growth for arts organizations and artists by increasing financial support and building awareness of the significance of the arts and artists in the community.
“Our partnership with the Cultural Office and Peak Arts Prize enables us to realize the Ellyas’s dream of supporting creativity and artistic expression in Colorado Springs. While the fund was inspired by the family’s estate gift, residents and businesses in the Pikes Peak region are welcome to contribute, opening the door to more opportunities for arts organizations,” states Lori Bellingham, vice president of philanthropic services, PPCF. “The celebration of this Fund is that it was created by a family with modest means, who lived in the Bonnyville neighborhood, but its impact is immeasurable. We are naive to think we have too little to give. Each and everyone one of us can be philanthropists.”
The results of the People’s Choice Prize, and the official grantees of Peak Arts Prize 2020, will be announced online at PeakArtsPrize.org on March 12. Funded projects will all happen before the end of the calendar year.
The projects on the People’s Choice Prize ballot are below. Their video applications, describing their project in 3 minutes or less, can be seen on the ballot at PeakArtsPrize.org/VOTE or via the hyperlinked titles below.
Concrete Couch proposes a grand community art project for the underpass bridge of the Highway 24 by-pass that traverses over Circle Drive in Southeast Colorado Springs. Powered by their history of community work and relationships in the neighborhood, they will engage 300 people to create a ceramic mosaic 110’ long by 10’ high, using photo glaze transfer techniques to highlight 100 personalities from Southeast. The project plans to connect with around 10 schools and organizations, and highlight the creative spirit and soul of the neighborhoods surrounding it
- “What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful”: Inclusive & Sensory-Friendly Family Performance by Chamber Orchestra of the Springs & Colorado Ballet Society
For this new family and children’s performance, Colorado Ballet Society will choreograph kid-friendly dances to accompany the Chamber Orchestra playing Victoria Bond’s “The Frog Prince” and Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.” It will be performed for the general public and with sensory-friendly adjustments, to be welcoming to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, and other disabilities. With pre- and post-concert interactive music and dance activities, and chances to dance in the aisles and on stage with performers, the concert will be an inaugural event for an envisioned semiannual Children Series.
This year, Downtown Ventures will be installing a 320’ mural and light installation by artist Mauricio Ramirez at the I-25/Colorado Avenue underpass to honor the past, current and future residents of the area, in partnership with the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum’s Conejos Neighborhood Project. They envision a series of community events – including a design talk-back with former and current neighborhood residents, community paint days with an accompanying coloring sheet, and an unveiling celebration – to immerse the community in the living history of the Conejos Neighborhood.
Funky Little Theater will stage their largest production to date, the musical “We Will Rock You,” featuring the music of Queen. They will leverage the show to build more community partnerships, expand their performance company to include musicians and dancers, and provide mentorship opportunities to high school & college students in El Paso and Teller counties. The summer production will advance their mission to bridge the gap between local professional & community theater through productions that highlight original work, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
EPIC will launch a new non-profit chamber music society whose performances will bring a high-caliber, fresh approach to the Colorado Springs music scene by combining classical music with visual art forms and interactivity. EPIC will be a new leader in innovative fine arts by connecting national-level masters with local stars and educational institutions. They pledge to use the best Southern Colorado professionals and national-level artists in every production; champion new works by underrepresented composers plus fresh spins on classics, collaborate with educational institutions, and open minds and spark imaginations through the magic of the arts.
Textiles West will host free events throughout the region where people can write a wish or hope for the community on a stone and then cover it with wool fibers as they learn the ancient art of wet felting. The felted rocks will be compiled to create a large installation, “The Felted River.” Felting is the oldest method humans invented to create fabric, and is accessible for a wide variety of ages and physical abilities. As the collaborative stone river grows, it will represent the diversity in our community, and remind us that together we can make a difference to the issues around water, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
In 2016, local writer, Jenny Maloney endeavored to write a 100-word story every day for a year. These little stories explore societal issues such as the #MeToo movement, gun control, and women’s rights, and have built a fanbase through Facebook.com/PlaceForTheStolen. In collaboration with local filmmaker, Taylor Geiman, Jenny will produce 20 short films based on her short stories over the course of 2020, culminating in a community film screening at the end of the year
Williams will expand his popular one-on-one interviews about humanness and creativity at Humanitou.co into a regularly-produced podcast. Since June 2017, his Humanitou project has featured 75 local artists and community members. Humanitou conversations cover topics like love and relationships, aging and death, politics and society, masculinity and culture, along with art and the creative process, and other human threads we all share. Expanding into a podcast will exponentially grow the project. Pictured is Williams’ portrait of Vincent Coleman for Humanitou.
Wegert produced and directed a cirque-style stage show, MYTHICO, which debuted last September at the Millibo Art Theater. It sold out its run of performances. The MYTHICO show is a synthesis of cirque-style acrobatics and aerial dance, martial arts, dance, and drama. Her vision is to revamp MYTHICO for performance on a larger stage for an audience of 2,000 people later this year, bringing more visibility to her work, the production, and its talented local performers.
About the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region:
The Cultural Office is a nonprofit organization, governed by a diverse board of community leaders from the arts, nonprofit, public and business sectors. We take a strategic view of the Pikes Peak region to ensure that cultural services reach all people and that the arts are used to positively address issues of economic development, education, tourism, regional branding and civic life. Our Mission: Connecting residents and visitors with arts and culture to enrich the Pikes Peak region. Our vision: A thriving community united by creativity.
About the Pikes Peak Community Foundation:
Pikes Peak Community Foundation evolved from the Colorado Springs Community Trust, founded in 1928 by visionary citizens who believed that the Pikes Peak region needed a way to build a permanent charitable endowment to improve the quality of life in our community. Over a 70-year period, the Trust quietly made millions of dollars of grants to non-profit organizations in our region. However, because the Trust had been chartered as a private foundation, its board came to realize that our community needed a true community foundation to make a lasting positive impact on our community. Pikes Peak Community Foundation was created in 1996 to take a leadership role in promoting philanthropy. Since that time, PPCF has generated over $100 million for a wide range of charitable purposes and reinvested in community projects and grants to nonprofit organizations.
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