DOWNTOWN: A COLORADO CERTIFIED CREATIVE DISTRICT
Downtown Colorado Springs was designated as a Creative District by Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, and the Boettcher Foundation in June 2014. The creative district program began in 2011 in an effort to support local work to integrate arts, culture, creativity and innovation into economic development, tourism, quality of life and community-building initiatives. Downtown Colorado Springs is one of just 12 Colorado communities to achieve Creative District recognition.
Creative areas are appealing places to live, visit, and conduct business, which in turn enhances the economic and civic capital of a community. Attracting artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community infuses energy and innovation, which is good for downtown and the community at large. Downtown Colorado Springs was one of 45 applicants two years ago, became a prospective district, then was an official candidate in 2013. The new Creative District designation was awarded in June 2014. Click to read the full press release. For information on the Creative District program, click here.
Boundaries of the downtown creative district mirror those of the Downtown Development Authority.
Downtown’s creative assets are many and varied
While the size of our creative district represents only 1 to 2 percent of the land mass of Colorado Springs, within that small area can be found the vast majority of our city's creative industries, arts organizations, historic resources, and cultural events. Of note:
- Downtown is home to regional cultural institutions such as Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Colorado Springs Conservatory, American Numismatic Association Money Museum and Cottonwood Center for the Arts.
- Numerous creative events and festivals are held each year, including Pikes Peak Arts Fest, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the What IF Festival and others. Of the 2,138 cultural events listed on PeakRadar.com during 2013, nearly half of them happened within our downtown creative district.
- More than a dozen commercial and nonprofit art galleries participate in First Friday Downtown art walks every month.
- More than 40 new businesses moved into or expanded their footprint within our creative district during 2013. Downtown businesses include creative industries such as advertising agencies, software developers and technology firms, graphic artists, the city’s top 15 architectural firms, an independent movie theater, musical instrument stores, bookstores and recording studios.
- Downtown is home to COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. COPPeR works in a variety of ways to connect residents and visitors with arts and culture, including PeakRadar.com, a regional arts and cultural community events calendar.
- Downtown features more than 50 permanent pieces of public art, many of which were acquired through the Art on the Streets program.
- El Paso County has 91 properties listed on the National Register of HIstoric Places; nearly one-third of those are located in our district.
For more information on Colorado Creative Industries’ creative district program, go here.
Colorado Creative Industries has commissioned Beyond the Gallery, a web TV series by ZWFilm that feature artists and creatives who are uniquely Colorado. The third season features Downtown Colorado Springs.
Pictured: Xeriscape by Suzanne Kane (top) and Morning Dove by Jeremy Cooper (inset).