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Summit Fleming, 11, of Manitou Springs, competes in the park event Friday, July 19, 2013, during the skateboarding competition at Memorial Park for the Rocky Mountain State Games. The skateboarding competition continues through Sunday. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Peak Arts Fund is in the home stretch of its 2013 campaign, and $3,500 shy of its fundraising goal.

The program, sponsored by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), kicked off on March 15 and aimed to raise $50,000 by July 31.

"We started the campaign in 2012, and 2013 has been feeling really good," said Christina McGrath, executive director of COPPeR. "Having one year under our belts and having a better sense of a good way to reach out to our community, to raise new dollars and new awareness for our arts groups - it's exciting."

One hundred percent of the money raised is split among 18 local non-profit arts organizations, including TheatreWorks, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Millibo Art Theatre and Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival.

In addition to the 15 non-profit groups that participated last year, three others are included: Ormao Dance Company, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival and the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs. To be considered, an organization must be solely focused on the arts, hold non-profit status for three years and have at least a $100,000 operating budget, McGrath said.

In 2012, the campaign raised $36,000.

Although any amount is welcome, Peak Arts Fund offers the Peak Radar Pass to those who gift $60 or more. The pass earns the user a year of discounts at theater and music performances, restaurants and other local businesses. A payment plan for the pass is also available - $5 per month for a year. The perks begin as soon as the first payment is made. All contributions are tax-deductible. And as a special thank you, a wrap party for donors will be held on Aug. 14 at the Ivywild School.

"It's (Peak Radar Pass) a good tool to engage with the arts community," McGrath said.

The 18 organizations will each receive $2,000 when the campaign is over, and the remaining money is divided among the groups based on the size of their operating budget. The bigger the budget, the bigger the check.

"We use it for scholarships for kids who are underrepresented socioeconomically," said Debi Krause-Reinsch, executive director of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, a by-audition organization that provides seven groups of young musicians with instruction and performance opportunities. "Our kids pay tuition, and it helps offset that and provide scholarships. We are also starting a new outreach program with the Youth Transformation Center in Harrison School District. It's a percussion year-round program for kids who've dropped out and then get back in school."

Cottonwood Center for the Artsm, which boasts the largest collection of studios in the area, already has plans to build a new staging area for life drawing and painting classes with its portion of the fund, McGrath said.

"The arts connect us with other people in the community," said Angela Seals, development officer at COPPeR.


Jennifer Mulson can be reached at 636-0270.


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