Community Conversations

Let's Start a Dialogue

Arts Month 2020 hosted a new series of eight virtual Community Conversations (two during each of the four theme weeks in October) on a wide variety of topics, curated by local artists and arts leaders. Watch all eight below!

Note: Any opinions or ideas expressed during the conversations are not necessarily those of Arts Month 2020.

WEEK 1: Visual & Culinary Arts

Creativity Rush: How Forced Innovation is Keeping the Restaurant Industry Alive

Date: October 5, 2020

Time: 2:00 pm

From grocery store conversions to virtual cooking classes, restaurants and the people who run them have had to think on their feet the last several months. We’ll hear from a few local restaurants in downtown Colorado Springs who have not only managed to stay afloat in these unprecedented times, but in some cases, uncover new ways to diversify and grow their business.



Samantha Wood

Owner and Chief Tasting Officer

Samantha Wood is an entrepreneur, professional marketer, public speaker, writer, and event planner. Wood has worked professionally in a variety of industries including real estate, non-profit, higher education, and tourism. Her business, Rocky Mountain Food Tours, which she launched in 2010, has held the #1 position on TripAdvisor for Food and Drink in Colorado Springs for several years running.


Visual Arts as Activism

Date: October 8, 2020

Time: 3:30 pm

Artists, galleries and museums can play significant roles as arbiters of change and growth in a community. The myth of the lone artist and aloof gallery/museum setting is just that – community-building is where it’s at. This panel will explore ways artists and arts professionals in our region have played a vital part in our community and how they can continue to make positive shifts, together.



Daisy McGowan


Daisy McGowan is director and chief curator for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Galleries of Contemporary Art, or GOCA, a position she has served in since July 2010. McGowan has independently and collaboratively curated and produced over 85 exhibitions for GOCA, Colorado College IDEA Space and Coburn Gallery, as well as regional and national contemporary sites such as Durden and Ray in Los Angeles and RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver.


WEEK 2: Theater & Film

Independent Theater and Film: Crisis Management and Survival Tactics During a Pandemic

Date: October 14, 2020

Time: 7:00 pm

What are the difficult options faced and hard choices a production company must make to survive a nationwide shut down? We’ll speak with a theater company, a film festival, and a film production company to find out how they are managing to stay financially sound and remain a creative force in the community. In this open discussion we will find out how members of our arts community are managing to survive during some very difficult times.



Ralph Giordano

Executive Director

Ralph has been involved with film and video production in Colorado Springs for over 30 years. He writes, produces, and directs video productions ranging from commercials, training and marketing videos, to short independent films/videos. He currently is the Executive Director of the Peak Film Forum, a non-profit public networking group for local writers, producers, directors, and actors to promote film/video production in Colorado Springs.


“Yes, and…” The Current Creativity and Dreams of the Springs’ Theatrical Community

Date: October 16, 2020

Time: 6:00 pm

A discussion with some of our region’s leading theatrical talent, exploring where we’ve been, where we are, and where we will go.



Scott Levy

Producing Artistic Director, Fine Arts Center Theatre Company

Scott RC Levy is an award-winning and acclaimed artistic director, producer, director, actor and educator of theater. He is starting his 10th season as the Producing Artistic Director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company at Colorado College.


WEEK 3: Poetry, Prose & Comedy

Writing Strategies During Times of Crisis

Date: October 21, 2020

Time: 7:00 pm

This conversation will examine the way writers have used the pandemic and social unrest in 2020 to transform their storytelling, the formats and media they have had to learn, and the way the pandemic has caused them to step outside of the box in their approach to writing and fostering a literary community.



Jenny Maloney

Writer & Playwright

Jenny Maloney writes dark fiction that her mother hates. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from CSU-Pueblo. Her work has been published internationally and has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Pantheon, Shimmer, Across the Margin, Black Denim Lit and others. Her short plays have been performed across Colorado Springs. When she’s not writing fiction, plays, poetry, or essays, she’s creating theater as an ensemble member at Springs Ensemble Theatre in Colorado Springs.


The Role of Intersectionality Within the Arts Community

Date: October 22, 2020

Time: 3:00 pm

Intersectionality allows artists to express the multi-dimensional aspects of their identities. How do we ensure intersectional artists are being centered in art spaces? Additionally, how does art play a role in the expression and storytelling of one’s identities? Join us for a conversation and exploration of art and identity work.



Ashley Cornelius


Ashley Cornelius is a nationally recognized spoken word poet in Colorado and the Co-Director of Poetry 719, a black-run poetry group in Colorado Springs that amplified the voices of marginalized communities and people of color through art and creative self-expression. Ashley has a background in poetry education and was the Program Director of an arts nonprofit in Denver focused on poetry workshops and curriculum.


WEEK 4: Music & Dance

Dance, Soft Skills, and Saving the World

Date: October 26, 2020

Time: 9:00 am

Our bodies possess a profound quiet knowledge – if we listen. Cultivating this listening is a potent antidote to many of societies’ ills. Inwardly, towards ourselves, and outwardly, with our community, dance can be a mechanism for radical kindness and with this conversation, we hope to explore the impact of physical expression as a catalyst for change in the modern world.



Jordan McHenry

Executive Director

McHenry is the host of Dance on Air: the Podcast, a top contributor to DIYdancer magazine, and a Leverhume Choreographic Scholar from Laban Conservatoire of Dance in London, England. Born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO under the direction of Zetta Alderman, Jordan has trained internationally at programs including River North Chicago, Jacob’s Pillow, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet as well as Springboard Danse Montreal and Deltebre Danse, in Spain.


What Makes a Healthy Music Scene?

Date: October 27, 2020

Time: 2:00 pm

A panel discussion looking at the attributes of healthy and thriving music communities. The panel will discuss the current state of music in Colorado Springs – the good, the bad, and the ugly. What do we need and what do we have?



David Siegel


Violinist David Siegel is chief executive officer of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation and a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. Locally, he is a member of the bands Mango fan Django, Grass it Up, The Jeremy Facknitz Band and the Black Rose Band. David also serves on the Colorado Springs Philharmonic board of directors, as vice chair of the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services board, and as music director for the Green Box Arts Festival, where he has commissioned several new chamber, choral, and symphonic works.



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