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OCC-Manitou shuttle added feature for this year's 'Creative Corridor' ArtWalk

       Until April, it had been 15 years since a free shuttle connected Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
       That changed with the first OCC ArtWalk of the year that month.
       During ArtWalk season (continuing through December) people can ride at no cost on a free bus every half-hour between OCC and Manitou Springs.
       Old Town actually serves as a shuttle transfer point, because two other ArtWalk buses - also free - run loops, 20 minutes apart, to connect OCC with five downtown-area art locales.
       ArtWalk, a free, self-guided tour of galleries and stores, occurs on the first Friday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m. Artist demonstrations and refreshments are offered at many locations.

Karen Cullen
Westside Pioneer photo

       OCC's ArtWalk is in its 13th year. Its 17 participating shops/galleries this year are all within the historic shopping district, along Colorado Avenue from 24th to 27th Street.
       The shuttle plan was approved by Colorado Springs City Council in March, as part of a process to have council informally recognize the downtown-to-Manitou avenue segment as a “creative corridor.”
       Making the corridor presentation to council were Karen Cullen, executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group; and Andy Vick, executive director of the nonprofit Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR).
       With the transfer set-up, the shuttle is a “huge benefit to Old Colorado City,” Cullen said afterward. “If you want to go to Manitou, you have to go through OCC.”
       Council's corridor resolution boasts that Old Colorado City supports more than 400 artists and 15 galleries, and adds, “With murals on structures and stores wedged between buildings, art and innovation [are] not confined to shops alone, but located throughout the design and charm of the historic gold rush city.”
       A downtown-to-OCC shuttle had started last summer. The funding is provided by COPPeR, with financial help from the city.
       On the shuttles, according to the COPPeR website, “local artists and performers [will] entertain you, guide you and share stories and interesting facts about our community.”
       For about 20 years, ending in 2003, a free summer shuttle service - featuring for much of that time the colorful, open-air “jolly trolleys” - had run between Manitou and Old Colorado City. According to a Westside Pioneer article in 2005, the service ended mainly because of rising costs.

Westside Pioneer article