Manitou Arts Group distributes $ 55,000 to local organizations and individuals
Additional money available later this year
Funding for the Manitou Arts Culture and Heritage programs comes from a three-tenth of 1% increase in sales and use taxes in Manitou Springs, which was approved by voters in 2019.
Under the program, 66% of funds are allocated to facility improvements and operations of the Carnegie Library building, Manitou Arts Center, Manitou Springs Heritage Center, Miramont Castle and Hiawatha Gardens , all buildings considered culturally important or providing access to the arts.
All of these buildings are under Tier I funding, under the current funding cycle, Hiawatha Library and Gardens have each received $ 41,278, funding for Hiawatha Gardens remains on hold until the fate of the property can be determined once the task force has completed its work and the newer parts are demolished to restore the older historic part of the structure.
Level 2 funding goes to smaller non-profit groups that must apply for funds through the Manitou Arts Culture and Heritage Board of Directors.
The board received 30 requests, asking for $ 111,000 in funds, but there was only $ 77,500 available. The council has awarded a total of $ 55,000 in funding to 16 of the organizations that applied for funding. The remaining $ 22,500 is expected to be awarded during the mid-year cycle.
One of the funding recipients was Brenda Blondo, a photographer from Manitou who presents natural landscapes and conservation issues in her works. His “Bee Kind” project received $ 1,425.
Using the funds, she created a composite image of a native bee and elements of Colorado’s natural environment. She will apply the artwork to an exterior wall of a downtown business. The mural will be an 87 inch by 58 inch laminate vinyl sheet which will be heat applied. When completed, it will look to viewers as if painted directly onto the building. The project will be unveiled during the week of June 21, which is National Pollinator Week. The mural will contain a QR code that can be scanned and direct viewers to a website with information on protecting bees and butterflies.
Blondo said it will be the first in a series of public works of art designed to draw attention to environmental protection. Posters of the work will also be available for sale to help nonprofits in their pollinator awareness efforts. The installation will be carried out by the Creative Consortium which manages the Art on the Streets program in Colorado Springs. Two-thirds of the funds will go to the consortium.
Another organization that has received funding is the Manitou Springs Arts Academy, which received $ 2,800 for the ART Stacks program. The Academy began in 1992 under the leadership of Gary Miller, who was then the Superintendent of District 14. The mission of the Academy is to provide intensive education and training in the arts in a pleasant and supportive environment. The program will provide children with equal access to materials that will support the arts curriculum and provide guidance to parents and guardians. The materials can be used in different disciplines of visual arts, music, theater and movement and are rechargeable.
A third funding recipient was Deborah Thornton, Executive Director of Imagination Celebration, who received $ 4,000 for Manitou Connections. The project focuses on the portal, which is a large gold shipping container that stood at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Center during the Covid-19 lockdown.
With these funds, the project will support global conversations and possible collaborations between a range of Manitou creators and cohorts around the world, Thornton said. This is made possible by portal technology, which contains an 8ft by 8ft screen and cameras that allow virtual interaction with other portals around the world.
Thornton sees this project as a way to break down social and racial barriers, dissolve stereotypes and foster creativity and a better understanding of our place in global culture. These connections will allow Manitou Springs residents and visitors to share their unique experiences with others, she added. Although it is only operational during the pandemic, Thornton hopes to be able to get the portal back up and running soon and will call on Mary O’Meallie as curator. She has managed relations with Africa, Berlin, Australia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Honduras and the Netherlands.
The MACH Board of Directors will continue to fund projects as funds become available and are always looking for ways to help the community develop positive connections through the arts and heritage, such as allows sales tax.