COPPeR uniting through creativity

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When vision stirs passion, and passion spawns action, you will find people forging new paths.
These people are the leaders who set out to fulfill a vision through their strength of purpose and commitment to a cause for the common good. The Pikes Peak region maintains a legacy of committed leaders and the causes they promote.
Such a cause is the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, known as COPPeR to a growing cadre of supporters and partners.
COPPeR is a recently formed nonprofit organization that brings to our region what more than 1,200 cities across the United States already have: a cultural infrastructure with a strategic vision to serve all residents and visitors by connecting them with arts and culture. Through the creation of strategic partnerships, COPPeR will ensure that the arts — all the arts — are rightfully positioned as vital to economic development, education, civic life and a sustainable future.
There is passion for the arts in this community, but until now the region has lacked coordination and advocacy to enhance a cultural consciousness for all.
People with vision, and leaders with determination, fashioned COPPeR as a collaborative forum for the integration of our arts — linking all cultural services with our neighborhoods, the business community, visitors, schools, government, children, seniors and underserved populations.
The entity that is now COPPeR was borne of leaders who embarked on a journey for the past three years to fill a critical need for a cultural office that represented all the arts — and the community.
As stated in the 2004 State of the Rockies Report Card from Colorado College, “Recognizing what makes a community unique culturally and then celebrating that distinction may be the most overlooked tenet of strategies to pursue economic development and vibrant communities.”
COPPeR will work to improve knowledge and therefore economies for the arts, while promoting public policy and private interest that recognizes and supports the vital contribution the arts make to our culture, our lives and our communities.
Leaders respond to challenges. Leaders are inspired by the interaction of dedicated purpose and passionate people. It comes as little surprise, then, that three of COPPeR’s board members hail from a program that fosters such interaction: Leadership Pikes Peak.
For three decades, Leadership Pikes Peak has offered community-focused leadership development programs, providing the hands-on opportunities and knowledge necessary to create community in the Pikes Peak region. Three graduates from the class of 1996 — Susan Edmondson, Kimberley Sherwood and myself — serve on the executive committee of COPPeR.
It is not entirely coincidental that we LPP graduates should arrive at this juncture — the genesis of COPPeR. Ten years ago LPP challenged us to recognize our personal responsibility for taking action to improve our community. The leadership skills we honed through LPP, and the friendships formed then, were invaluable as our paths crossed years later.
We join our fellow COPPeR board members in fulfilling the mission of COPPeR to connect residents and visitors with arts and culture to enrich the Pikes Peak region.
Initial investment and strategic guidance from Charitable Venture Partners has helped to leverage additional support for COPPeR from foundations and individual donors. COPPeR’s board and advisory board are deeply committed, and staff is growing to meet the needs.
Through input from more than 300 community and cultural leaders, coupled with extensive research and assistance from national experts in community arts development, COPPeR has set substantive goals for 2007. Expect a broadly inclusive cultural amenities guidebook, a Web-based cultural calendar with a proven track record of building audiences and programming designed to “tell the story” of the arts and celebrate the unique qualities of our community.
Also in 2007, the results of an economic impact study about the arts in our region will be released, in conjunction with the same national study through Americans for the Arts.
The leaders of COPPeR have embarked on an ambitious journey to ensure that the arts are strategically positioned to address community needs. We are guided by a potent vision … a community united by creativity.
Contact COPPeR at or P.O. Box 190, Colorado Springs CO 80901.