GUEST COLUMN:
OCC art ‘best kept secret’
By Bill Crowley

       I am writing your terrific newspaper to throw out some opinions and suggestions... not about Route 24, or little nit-picking ordinances confronting small businesses in town, etc., etc... but to hopefully rally the troops (artistic) and perhaps create some talk, meaningful conversations and even some action... get some wheels turning, if you will, in establishing Old Colorado City as THE art district of Colorado Springs.
       It is my opinion that Old Town truly is the ART DISTRICT OF COLORADO SPRINGS... but, hear this: NO ONE KNOWS IT!!! It is VERY IMPORTANT to the survival of Old Colorado City that a reputation... an ARTISTIC REPUTATION... be established. The town... the Westside... is crawling with artists. They are aplenty. But it, from my viewpoint, is the BEST KEPT SECRET IN TOWN. So... how do you establish this elusive reputation??? As you well know... there is never ONE “MAGIC PILL.” It takes a lot of things to come together to create a following.
       Here is just ONE suggestion that I have: create an art organization. An art club. Some sort of an artistic group of creative people... FROM THE WESTSIDE. Get together fairly frequently... kick ideas around. Inner-act with each other... all with the same goal... make people aware that you exist. Have an annual art show. Have contests. Encourage children to draw the neighborhood.
       (Here is one project that I would love to see happen: a series of paintings, photographs, drawings... of the FRONT PORCHES of the WESTSIDE!!! Yes... front porches. If you have ever driven up and down the little side streets of the Westside... you will see some REALLY PRETTY front porches. Some decorate with flowers. Some hang flags. Or both. Some put comfortable furniture and antiques on the porches.)
       Create a web site... let the world know you are here... in the ART DISTRICT OF COLORADO SPRINGS... Old Colorado City... and The Westside.
       The only name, by the way, that I personally came up with for an art group is “WESTSIDE CREATIVE.” (I like it because it leaves the door open for everyone: writers, artists, craftsmen, musicians, etc.) I would be proud to wear a WESTSIDE CREATIVE T-shirt. I would be honored and proud to enter a Westside Creative event ( art show, poster contest, etc.). So... that's what I have to say. Downtown Colorado Springs is NOT the creative capital of this town. Manitou Springs should not be thought of as the ONLY place in this area that has creative people. And Taos and Santa Fe... well... they do have some creative people around town. AND... good PR people. C'mon, creative people... get together. I have my creative business in the Citadel Mall, true... but I have lived and painted on the Westside since 1991... along with my artist wife, Judy.
       I would love to see the artists on the Westside “paint the town”... with creativity. Join... create an organization. And promote. That's my suggestion... and I'm sticking to it!!!