Artist-of-the-Day Archives

Meet Local Creatives

In celebration of Arts Month 2020, the Cultural Office is excited to feature a different local artist or creative on the ArtsOctober.com home page each day during the month of October. That’s 31 different profiles of painters, poets, chefs, singers, dancers, actors, and much more, who are each representative of the inspiring talent and diversity that defines the arts & cultural community here in Colorado Springs and across the Pikes Peak region! After their featured day has passed, all of the profiles are archived chronologically below for you to re-read and enjoy. A special thanks to Humanitou and My Black Colorado for partnering with the Cultural Office staff to author many of the profile narratives.

To view special Arts Month 2020 content from the Artist-of-the-Day, please click the buttons below!

Arts Month 2021 Artist-of-the-Day

Starting on October 1st, Arts Month 2021 will feature our program called “Artist-of-the-Day!” During each of the 31 days in October, we’ll introduce you to a different artist, performer, or creative from our local community. In addition to photos and brief bios here on ArtsOctober.com, we’ll have links to their personal websites and social media pages, as well as more in-depth profiles written by the Cultural Office and our content partners at Humanitou and My Black Colorado. In addition, we’ll be showcasing specially created digital content from many of these amazing artists on PeakRadar.com’s Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the month of October! After their 24 hours in the Arts Month 2021 spotlight, all featured artists will be added to the Artist-of-the-Day Archives.

Profile Story by Curbside Culture

Harriett Landrum (a.k.a My Name is Harriett)

Date Featured: October 31, 2020

Harriett Landrum, “My Name is Harriett,” is a songstress who composes and plays all original music. She is known for her compositions that fuse violin with electronic looping to create gorgeous soundscapes with passionate vocals. “It’s simple music made for complicated people,” she says. Harriett also plays a variety of modern and classical works on violin, and has been teaching violin & piano privately for fifteen years, and performing professionally for ten years.

AuroTejas Hemsell

Date Featured: October 30, 2020

AuroTejas Hemsell was born in India and has been studying Indian Classical Dance from the age of five both in India and America. Her mother is Gujurati and her father is American. Tejas has devoted her entire life to studying, teaching and performing Indian Classical Dance. Tejas founded the Shakti Dance School and the Shakti Dance Troupe in Colorado Springs in 2004. Tejas performs and teaches Odissi East Indian Classical Temple Dance, Bollywood Dance, World Fusion & Zumba in Colorado Springs & Online. Tejas has been organizing World Dance Festivals in Colorado and in Auroville, South India since 2006, and is extremely passionate about Cultural Performance Arts Education. She collaborates with talented artists to promote Traditional Cultural Dances from around the Globe in her World Dance Festivals. Currently, since the pandemic, Tejas is focusing on teaching online dance classes and performing at outdoor garden parties.

Profile Story by Humanitou

Yves Sturdevant

Date Featured: October 29, 2020

Yves is a Colorado Springs native, lover of yummy foods, avid dog petter, and shenanigan maker. She dances with her troupe the Luddites who were born, by coincidence, on the eve of the Waldo Canyon fire. She loves to organize shows such as The Odd Show and Zoetrope and otherwise engage in the wonderment our entire heart-filled arts community offers. She hopes to curate an art show soon and am inspired daily by the artists who live work and dream here.

Profile Story By Humanitou

Joe Johnson

Date Featured: October 28, 2020

Joe Johnson is a dynamic writer and performer with more than 20 years entertaining fans, friends, and family alike. Hailing from a musical family that includes Country music legend BJ “The DJ” Johnson, he presents his honest and thought provoking work anywhere and everywhere it’s appreciated from theaters and festivals to dive bars and coffee shops. Originally from South Mississippi, Joe has called the Westside of Colorado Springs home for the last 16 years, in the process becoming a cornerstone of the Springs vibrant artists community and a musical ambassador to towns all across the state and the country.

Profile By My Black Colorado

Kailani Dobson

Date Featured: October 27, 2020

Kailani Dobson is a local installation artist with a background in movement-based works and a love for film and textiles. She is passionate about making dance more accessible by taking performances off the stage and exclusively performing in galleries and public spaces. Kailani believes that art is a community-driven endeavor that benefits from the conglomeration of multiple art-forms. During the Covid-19 quarantine she opened a small coffee roasting business focused on ethically sourced beans that are roasted mindfully and packaged with hand drawn illustrations.

Latisha Hardy

Date Featured: October 26, 2020

Latisha Hardy Dance & Co Ltd. was established in 2010. Latisha started creating this brand after learning salsa roughly 12 years ago. Latin Dancing helped her grow past a very difficult time in life. Currently, she works to give that back to others and her community through the art of dance and empower individuals to empower themselves.

Profile Courtesy of Curbside Culture

Ryan Flores

Date Featured: October 25, 2020

Ryan Flores is a California native with Czech and Mexican roots (Czexican or Czex-Mex as he calls it) who moved to Colorado in 2010. Flores is a songwriter playing mostly original songs in a genre he bills as Latin Gypsy music—a mixture of Tango, Flamenco, Mariachi, Caribbean, and Balkan styles. He is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a dynamic performer and plays several instruments simultaneously. The sound is sophisticated, rhythmic, danceable, and fun.

Andrew Ingram

Date Featured: October 24, 2020

Andrew Ingram is a writer and comedian from Colorado Springs. His writing focuses on human stories in fantastical circumstances and he posts a new short story to his blog Mindfulofmadness.com every month. When there isn’t a pandemic making live performance tricky you can find him slinging jokes at bars, clubs, and independent venues across Colorado. His comedy album This Was A Bad Idea is available just about everywhere music and comedy are streamed online. Likewise his podcast, also called Mindful of Madness, where he interviews artists of any discipline about their work and process, is available on all podcast platforms. Andrew also wants you to know writing a bio for himself makes him very uncomfortable and this last sentence is certainly not a callous attempt to humanize him after shilling for all the stuff he makes.

Birgitta De Pree

Date Featured: October 23, 2020

Birgitta De Pree has been acting, directing and teaching theater throughout Colorado for the past twenty years. Starting the Millibo Art Theatre with partner Jim Jackson in 2001 is one of her proudest achievements. She loves generating laughs, hanging out with her family, tending her garden and embodying outrageous characters in silly situations. Until the theaters reopen, you can find her on-line this Fall in weekly episodes of “Babette’s Kitchen” and “Judy & Judy Safety Tips.”

Chris Beasley

Date Featured: October 22, 2020

Christopher “Beas J” Beasley (he/they) is an nationally recognized poet and organizer in the community. He has been performing for 10 years and was instrumental in building Hear Here poetry and Word Wednesday. He started Colorado Black Voices Matter, 3 years ago and received the Pikes Peak Arts Council Award for Literary Art Leader and best re-occurring event. They are the Co-Director of Poetry719, a local group that uplifts the voices of marginalized communities and people of color through poetry. Chris has a jewelry and resin business, Blackmancraftman and creates custom unique jewelry, resin, and paint pours. He is committed to the strengthening of the bipoc community and healing for men of color.

Profile Story by Humanitou

Nico Wilkinson

Date Featured: October 21, 2020

Nico Wilkinson is a poet, printmaker, farmer and organizer based in Colorado Springs. They are the 2017 champion of the Capturing Fire International Queer Poetry Slam. They have authored and co-authored multiple books of poetry, most notably Inauguration with Idris Goodwin. They are the co-founder of Prickly Pear Printing and the founder of The Quaill Club, a living community for queer artists working toward cooperative sustainability.

The Lovely Rebel

Date Featured: October 20, 2020

The Lovely Rebel first appeared on YouTube in 2008, where she shared her earliest written works via video with a scanty but die-hard supportive audience. It didn’t take long for her follower-ship to grow on and offline. The eventuality of such led her to the heart of downtown Atlanta, at the iconic Apache Cafe’ where she nervously lost her “mic virginity” to a packed house. Today, the Lovely Rebel has made an official reentry into the Spoken Word circuit in Colorado Springs and Denver.

Joe Barrera

Date Featured: October 19, 2020

Joe Barrera, Ph.D., has lived in Colorado Springs since 1968. Joe graduated from The Colorado College with a degree in English, earned the MA in English at Claremont Graduate School in California, and his Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. He taught at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, at Pikes Peak Community College, and The Colorado College. He was the founder of the Sister Cities Mural Art Project and coordinated mural art projects with artists from our sister cities in Mexico and Australia. Joe is currently the publisher of The Almagre Review/La Revista Almagre, a literary journal with contributors from all over the U.S. and from other countries. The Almagre Review publishes essays and original fiction and poetry, as well as graphic art and photography. The next issue of The Almagre Review, named after the original Spanish name for Fountain Creek, el rio Almagre, will be the Chicano Collection, parts I and II. Joe is active in the arts scene in the Pikes Peak region and supports artists and their art through the efforts of the Black/Latino Coalition and other grassroots organizations.

Molly Wingate

Date Featured: October 18, 2020

Molly Wingate is the executive director of Poetry Heals, a nonprofit organization that brings therapeutic poetry writing to people living difficult lives. This organization is Wingate’s crowning creative achievement. After decades of writing and teaching writing, including 14 years as the Colorado College Writing Center Director, she learned about a program that takes poetry writing to teens in jail and in homeless shelters in Seattle. She sought out collaborators and adapted the program for the Pikes Peak region. Five years later, Poetry Heals has worked with hundreds of writers — some many times, some only once. Poetry writing transforms trauma and opens doors for writers to understand their experiences and seek support. It seems like magic.

Linda Broker

Date Featured: October 17, 2020

Linda’s passion for film started when she first volunteered for the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival 26 years ago. After serving in a variety of positions (Box Office Manager, Programming Chair and Operations Chair), she was hired on as the first Festival Director in 2000. Today Linda serves as the Executive Director of what is now Rocky Mountain Women’s Film, overseeing year round programming with three employees, an active Board of Directors and a highly dedicated corps of volunteers. In addition to the festival in November, RMWF hosts three annual events as well as a Filmmakers Retreat every June. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, making it the longest-running women’s film festival in North America. Linda currently serves on the Board of the Film Festival Alliance, the only professional organization for film festivals world-wide and the people who run them.

Profile Story by Humanitou

Hannah Rockey

Date Featured: October 16, 2020

Hannah Rockey is an actor, teacher, comic and storyteller for all ages. Her most rewarding job was playing rolls for the police crisis intervention team. She has fallen in love with devised work. She has just published her second book called “Magnificent: Growing Up with a Bipolar Parent.” Hannah has a BA in communications and an MA in Drama Therapy. So whether you need to laugh or cry, spend your time with Hannah.

Jennifer DeDominici

Date Featured: October 15, 2020

Jennifer DeDominici, mezzo soprano, has a performing career spanning several genres including musical theatre, opera, and concert work. She was seen most recently as Francesca in Bridges of Madison County at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, a performance for which she won a Henry Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She has performed throughout the world, but some of her favorite performances have been with organizations right here in Colorado Springs such as Opera Theatre of the Rockies, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and Theatreworks. She is the principal voice instructor at Colorado College and a Lecturer in Voice at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Jennifer has been a proud host of the First Friday Shuttle Bus and First Friday Live on the Street.

Profile Story by My Black Colorado

Cheerish Evans

Date Featured: October 14, 2020

Cheerish Evans is a vocalist, social activist, and actress in Colorado Springs, CO. She was last seen in the theatre playing the lead (Adria) in Puerto Rican Nocturne. Other recent productions include Spamalot (Lady of the Lake) at Funky Little Theatre Company, Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon) at THEATREWORKS, High Yellow (Just Right) at the Millibo Arts Theatre, Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Ermina Crumb) UNC, and Dearly Beloved (Honey Rae) First Company Theatre. When she is not onstage Cheerish is likely creating or hosting an event with Just Be Colorado a local 501c3 non-profit organization in which she is one of the founders. Cheerish also is the creator of this year’s “Praise in the Parking lot,” a Southern Baptist themed church service that celebrated and encouraged healing for Black and Brown queer Christians.

Jonathan Andujar

Date Featured: October 13, 2020

Jonathan works as a teacher, actor, poet, director, and producer in Colorado Springs. Most recently, Jonathan has devoted his writing talents to the CS Fine Arts Center in their Of Spacious Skies podcast. He has also produced and directed THEATREdART’s partnership with the Manitou Springs Heritage Center’s annual Ghost Stories of Old Manitou, and produces provocative local works as the President of THEATREdART. Currently Jonathan is a middle school Spanish and Theatre Arts teacher at the Colorado Springs School.

Chris Armbrister

Date Featured: October 12, 2020

Chris Armbrister was first attracted to the theater as a teenager and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the University of Alabama, following graduation he made his first trek to the Pikes Peak Region to perform melodrama in the Gold Bar Room Theater at The Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek. Over the last three decades, Chris has acted, directed and produced theater in Cripple Creek (as well as 40+ US States & Internationally) and currently promotes the arts in the Pikes Peak Region as Producer & Artistic Director for Thin Air Theatre Company, the resident company of The Butte Theater in Cripple Creek.

Sarah Sheppard Shaver

Date Featured: October 11, 2020

Sarah Sheppard Shaver has her MFA in Theatre Arts and is the chair of the Theatre Department at Pikes Peak Community College. She is a founding member of Springs Ensemble Theatre, an all-volunteer company now in its 11th season, where she produces, administrates, performs, directs, and designs. In 2013, the Colorado Thespians honored her for Distinguished Service within the Profession, and in 2018 she was awarded PPCC Faculty of the Year for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Profile Story by Humanitou

Vincent Coleman

Date Featured: October 10, 2020

Vincent Coleman is a Colorado native, public artist, photographer, videographer, producer, and musician. Growing up here has made him appreciate nature and draw inspiration from the beauty that surrounds us, transposing those experiences into art and music. He strongly believes art and music has the ability to heal as well as inspire so he tries to create experiences that do both, whether it be playing meditation music for yoga classes or drawing mandalas with sidewalk chalk around Manitou Springs. His mission as a creative is to inspire others to create, especially the ones who think they can’t.

PAES 164

Date Featured: October 9, 2020

Paes164 is a full time artist, muralist, tattooist, and family man. His father was military so he had the opportunity to live in different cities and counties while growing up. He can remember at a young age going with his dad to the tattoo shop in Hawaii to see him get tattooed and new it would be something he’d do. In his teenage years he ended up moving out at 15 and getting heavily into graffiti, only years later finally getting to peruse tattooing. Now after painting for nearly 30 years and tattooing for 23 and after all his travels and mural/tattoo opportunities, he wants to be able to share these things with our beautiful city. By doing many projects around the 719 and starting with the Knobhill Urban Arts District and holding events like #culturefest, the 420 art jamboree,  the box state expo tattoo convention, and others.

David Cook

Date Featured: October 8, 2020

A 20-year restaurant chef, David Cook discovered the intriguing nature of local cuisine when he tasted his first bite of kimchi. That was 30 years ago when his parents took him to a local Korean restaurant in Seoul. Since then, David has explored local cuisines and cooking methods throughout the Caribbean and U.S., with particular interest in learning how different regions use herbs and spices to create exciting takes on traditional favorites. Having studied at the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, David’s formal and Classical training underpins his practical experience and creative flair for creating dishes that make the most of locally-sourced ingredients combined with herbs and spices one may not expect. Now David brings his talent and sense for the exciting to Gather Food Studio.

Profile Story by Humanitou

Jasmine Dillavou

Date Featured: October 7, 2020

Jasmine Dillavou is a Boricua mixed-media artist from Colorado Springs. Dillavou received her BA in Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and has since shown in numerous exhibitions across the Front Range. Her work often explores themes of visibility within Caribbean diaspora identities. From intimate performance pieces to immersive installations, Dillavou investigates liberation, decolonization and femininity through a personal lens.

Jantzen Peake

Date Featured: October 6, 2020

Jantzen Lennon Peake seeks to inspire communities through his vision in the arts. Jantzen tries to raise awareness and funding to help young aspiring artists receive the benefits of essential art programs. And, with the new world we find ourselves in he has turned to virtual art teaching to attain these goals. Jantzen is an art curator at the Perk Downtown in Colorado Springs to help local artists strengthen their craft and voice. His passion for painting murals both traditionally and through aerosol art are starting to catch on in the town of White Walls/ Buffed Walls.

Profile Story from Humanitou

Mark Wong

Date Featured: October 5, 2020

After graduating from Pomona College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1990, Mark Wong returned home to the foot of Pikes Peak where he has been making his one of a kind ceramics ever since. He specializes in all things round as his concentration has been focused on wheel thrown vessels. The decoration of said vessels has led to experimentation with a variety of treatments and temperature ranges.

Melanie Audet

Date Featured: October 4, 2020

Melanie was born and grew up in the Detroit area and received her BA in visual art from Albion college and went on to receive her BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft majoring in Textiles. After graduating in 1999, she impulsively moved to Colorado and now lives in the Pikes Peak region and shares her life with her printmaker husband Nikos, and their children, Onora and Ivy. She continued her education by learning the art of natural dyes from various instructors such as Donna Brown, Catherine Ellis, and Yoshiko Wada. She is the owner and proprietor of Melanie Audet Limited Editions and Twig and Berry Dyes. Her love for textiles is more of a compulsion and she loves to share this passion with others.

Profile Story From My Black Colorado

Tamara Nisbeth

Date Featured: October 3, 2020

Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Tamara Nisbeth has been cooking delicious Jamaican cuisine since she was a child. Now, Ms. Nisbeth is the proud owner of Reggae Pot Express, located at the cross-section of South Circle and Chelton Road, in Colorado Springs. Her charming and nostalgic eatery first opened its doors in May 2015 to a very enthusiastic response. Opening day ushered in Jamaican food enthusiasts from all over the city and is a popular enjoyment for passing out-of-towners.

Profile Story from Humanitou

Steve Wood

Date Featured: October 2, 2020

Steve Wood is the executive director of Concrete Couch, where he gets to work with kids and community groups on a vast array of zany and creative projects. Come design, create, and construct with The Couch!

Emily Wegert

Date Featured: October 1, 2020

Emily Wegert is an aerial performer and coach from southern Colorado and the co-founder of the aerial group, Aerial Aura. Beginning with aerial straps shortly after college graduation, then moving on to silks, hoop, and trapeze, Emily discovered and cultivated her passion for performing high above the ground. She has trained in Montreal and performs regionally throughout the year, developing solo and duo routines on silks, hoop, trapeze, and straps. Emily is an instructor at The Dragonfly Aerial Company in Colorado Springs, and has taught workshops internationally as well.

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