Arts Month in review: A great start

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Vick sees Arts Month in baseball terms. He was hoping this year's would step up to the plate and get a solid single, but instead it hit a double. - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Vick sees Arts Month in baseball terms. He was hoping this year's would step up to the plate and get a solid single, but instead it hit a double.
You saw the logo, and you probably saw the banners or the billboards, or encountered the ads. But looking back, just how did the city's inaugural Arts Month go this past October?

That's what COPPeR wanted to know today in a public meeting it held this morning. With a crowd of about 25 people nestled in the Deco Lounge at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, COPPeR executive director Andy Vick broke down the outcome of this initial drive. (Learn more about its background and goals here.) 

As far as funds are concerned, COPPeR spent all $12,700 set aside for the campaign (which came by way of an anonymous donation, $10,000 from the Anschutz Foundation and a few others) on advertising, incidentals and its events. This was about as expected, and then further helped by matching ads from KCME, KRCC and Lamar.

Vick was further enthused about the general buzz around the month (which included endorsements from City Council, El Paso County as well as Manitou Springs and Monument), and the amount of events individual organizations either moved to October or promoted with the Arts Month cache. In particular, the CHORALaborative concert on Oct. 19 that packed the Pikes Peak Center and the premiere of local filmmaker Pete Schuermann's The Creep Behind the Camera, which Schuermann scheduled for October.

"That's exactly what we hoped would happen," Vick said. " And we wound up having a really robust calendar of events."

Jon Khoury, executive director at Cottonwood Center for the Arts said that with the help of Arts Month, which it pushed hard, he said, Cottonwood was able to set a record in art sales that month, bringing in over $35,000. "We're really grateful," he said. "We really attribute it to this helping tell the story."
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Not everything was as successful, Vick admitted. He hoped for a greater spike in the online realm, either on PeakRadar.com or COPPeR's social media pages, but it was only a modest increase. Vick also felt that outreach to the north and east parts of town could have also been better. 

The analytics for Arts Month's success are also still in question. Vick's in the process still of looking at data sets and determining what key figure will benchmark Arts Month's efficacy.

However, Vick said he is still quite proud of this first year and that between the lessons learned (including building a more specific message that COPPeR hatched mid-month: "Have at least one new cultural experience in October") and the ground gained by rallying the arts community around a centralized concept has positioned Arts Month quite well in 2015. In fact, he applied to speak on the Colorado Springs version of Arts Month (which is a national campaign begun in 1993) at next June's Americans for the Arts conference; he's that confident.

The rest of the meet was open for discussion, in which ideas about promotion, messaging, best use of funds, etc. were tossed around. Vick was eager for input (which you can give here) and has opened up the opportunity for volunteers to join the Arts Month committee for next year.

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