A chill is in the air, we’ve had our first snow and holiday vacation requests are flowing — break out the hot chocolate because the holiday season is nigh upon us!

Not quite in the mood for turkey and gift wrap? Don’t worry, I’m not there yet either, though I know I’ll get festive in time for cornucopias and carols. If you’re like me and need a bit of help getting into an extra cheerful headspace, try easing into the season with the holiday we lovingly refer to locally as Arts Month.

Arts Month is a region-wide campaign across El Paso and Teller counties to raise the visibility and value of arts and culture in our community. Organized locally by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), this is the 32nd year celebrating the season of Arts Month nationally.

You might recall COPPeR’s Deputy Director Angela Seals’ column from this month, in which she issued a challenge to readers to “have at least one new cultural experience with your family or friends during the month of October.”If you’re frantically flipping through the calendar and realizing you haven’t done anything artsy this month — don’t worry! Lucky for you, there are still two weeks left of colorful, lively and entertaining arts events happening in our community.

The monthlong celebration has been broken up into theme weeks: Week 1 highlighted the visual arts and week 2 introduced many to local theater and film. This week, enjoy a variety of events centered around poetry, prose and comedy works, or next week check out the local music and dance scene. Find more info and events at peakradar.com/artsmonth.

I’ll admit, it can feel a bit overwhelming looking up all the shows, exhibits, performances and displays I’d like to see, hear and experience in October. I’m working my way through a few I know I simply can’t miss! Below are a few of my Arts Month highlights:

On Sept. 26, I attended a Colorado Springs City Council meeting where I heard a proclamation read announcing the local government’s support of arts month in our city. It was encouraging to see our city’s leaders acknowledge the economic and social impact a tradition like arts month has on our community and uphold its significance in front of a room full of media members and concerned citizens.

On Oct. 6, I attended the 10th Annual Business and Arts Lunch at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs. The lunch honored some of our top art supporters with beautiful sculpture awards and featured performances from a handful of local up-and-coming artists. From electric guitar solos to live Spanish music to clay collaging and acrobatic air flips on stilts, it was the most entertaining lunch I’ve had in a while.

Later that day, I also attended an artist’s talk at the Gallery of Contemporary Art 121 (GOCA) in downtown Colorado Springs. Four artists with pieces on display in the Great Expectations exhibit spoke on their creative process and took questions from the audience. I was especially excited to join a group of friends as we listened to local artist Elizabeth Selby — a dear friend of mine — detail her experiences growing up with a artist’s mind and finding ways to express herself in portraiture painting. For those of us who can’t fathom painting 3-times life size hauntingly beautiful portraits, it’s a gift to have a glimpse into the mind and soul of one who can. Great Expectations will be on display through Nov. 11 in GOCA 121.

All this artsing around this month even got my creative juices flowing a bit. I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly crafty gal, but I have been to the 8th Street Hobby Lobby three times this month browsing supplies for a few small projects and gifts I’ve felt inspired to work on. Perhaps it’s the chill in the air or the paint in my nostrils, but whatever it is, keep it coming.

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for five years and enjoys exploring the many neighborhood haunts and side streets of southwest Colorado Springs. Send your feedback and column ideas to hannah.blick@pikespeaknewspapers.com.


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