- Local comic Jim Jackson will be the master of ceremonies at Creative Callout
Music lovers and community arts activists will get together in the name of business tonight. The Springs Community Action Network, working in conjunction with the Bee Vradenburg Foundation and other sponsors, have organized "Creative Callout" -- a triple dose of musical entertainment with informative lectures on the relationship between business and the arts in shaping civic life.
Centering on the theme of "Spaces and Places," the event will focus specifically on the cultural benefits offered by the Downtown Arts District, the proposed Confluence Park, and Urban Renewal Authority Areas, in particular, the City Auditorium.
"When a community embraces creativity, it has a ripple effect into the business sector," said Susan Edmondson, executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation. Citing economist Richard Florida's book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Edmondson argues that "an investment in the arts will attract highly skilled workers to the Springs." In addition to safety and tolerance, said Edmondson, a burgeoning artistic climate can be a city's biggest draw.
If the synthesis of artistic expression and community awareness seems an unfamiliar notion, said Helen Upton, the executive director of the Springs Community Action Network, then the remedy is generating "greater excitement and visibility for the cultural community." And reaching out to a wide audience never hurts either, Upton noted, adding that "artistic diversity is the lifeblood of a thriving cultural scene."
Her point is evidenced clearly by the evening's entertainment: a veritable smorgasbord of musical talent, punctuated by the homegrown hip-hop of Idiolectic and DJ Delaney. Idiolectic, whose members met at Palmer High School in the late '90s, performs a refreshing blend of meaningful, introspective lyrics and hard-hitting beats. With a fresh, creative style, and a slew of performances already under their belt, the hip-hop collective is one of the region's most promising acts. Upton hopes that featuring them will help in "building some bridges" between the music and arts communities.
The event will also feature Jim Jackson, a popular local comic actor as the master of ceremonies and the nostalgia of Bob Lillie playing the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.
"We wanted a wide variety of music and entertainment at the event, to give people a taste for the diversity music is our city," said Edmondson.
Jackson and the triumvirate of musical acts will perform throughout the evening in between a series of three 45-minute presentations by several prominent members of the community, including former city councilwoman Judy Noyes.
"In both our choice of entertainment for the event, and in the presentations, we wanted to acknowledge lots of voices, and especially some voices you might not usually get to hear," said Edmondson. "We're hoping to encourage the interplay between business and culture," she sais. "We hope that this event will make people realize that in a great community, culture is not the icing on the cake, its part of the cake also."
Tonight's event is the first of a series of three "Creative Callout" events.
-- Joe Kuzma
Creative Callout: "Spaces and Places"
featuring Jim Jackson, master of ceremonies
Idiolectic, DJ Delaney and Bob Lillie
Colorado Springs City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St.
Thursday, Jan. 15, 5:30-9 p.m.
Free and open to the public