Friday night's fundraiser for mayoral candidate Richard Skorman, co-hosted by Mary and Wayne Mashburn and targeting the arts community, was billed as an opportunity to hear Skorman’s ideas on arts and government.
In actuality, Skorman didn’t discuss the topic in much detail. His main point during the event at the new Marmalade at Smokebrush was that he'd bring the arts community “to the table” in city-related talks. But he kept the idea generalized; even when pushed in the Q&A session, he explained that without voter approval on garnering the money to establish a structured arts council to the city, it's hard to plan further.
“I’ll be a cheerleader,” Skorman said, telling the crowd, “When we bring in new companies, you should be there, not military marching bands.”
Nevertheless, the house was packed, with attendees including Vice Mayor Larry Small and City Council hopeful Michael Merrifield; arts players such as Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center president and CEO Sam Gappmayer, Pikes Peak Arts Council president Jay Miller, Kathleen Fox Collins and Susan Edmondson of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, as well as a number of local artists.
Skorman spoke eloquently on hotter issues such as Memorial Hospital, alternative and renewable energy sources and public safety, citing a frightening statistic that Colorado Springs is the 11th-worst city in the country for sexual assault.
His largest point, however, was creating jobs. He insisted that in order to attract companies and jobs, he hopes to change Colorado Springs’ image by focusing on the positives that already here — namely, the geologic assets as well as the arts and culture scene.
“We tend to put ourselves down," he said. "We have this negative reputation across the country. I’m tired of it.”