Category Announcements

Join us for a drop-in style community meeting to learn about our current programs and tell us how we can help Manitou Springs creative community fourish!

Wednesday, February 28th
8:30 – 10:30 AM
Manitou Art Center (MAC)

Can’t make it?  You can help by completing our quick community survey.

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In September, 2022, Flaminio Antonio’s “Comforting Melody” sculpture, a guitar crafted entirely from scrap metal, was installed near the Armadillo Ranch and Kinfolks in downtown Manitou Springs on a one year contract. The piece won CRANE’s prestigious Art Excellence award, and has since become a beloved part of Manitou’s streetscape. It is time for the sculpture to move on – unless we can raise the discounted $6,000 purchase price and save the guitar for all who live and visit Manitou Springs! Please help us raise the money to keep this lovely sculpture on the Avenue for decades to come. We have 2 anonymous donors willing to match up to $1,500 in donations, so when you give, your gift will be doubled!

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Creative Alliance Manitou Springs (CRANE) is partnering with the City of Manitou Springs to license artwork from a local artist that invites residents and visitors to ride the free electric vehicle shuttle. Winning artwork will be printed on vinyl, which will be applied to the shuttle. The award for the winning artwork is $2,000.
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You may have noticed that some of our permanent public art sculptures have been showing wear and tear after many years of service to the community. “Peeps” and other works that have been installed as part of our Art on the Avenue program have been getting hugs from school kids and visitors in every kind of weather for years. We are also repairing “Man in Z Moon” and “Twisted Figure.” We’ve been tracking the repair status of those pieces and wrote a Manitou Arts, Culture and Heritage (MACH) grant to help fund a portion of the repairs. However, we have $2500 more in repairs still needed and we ask for your help.

Can you help us fund repairs and maintenance for some of ManitouSprings?

Public art is free to everyone to experience year-round! If you love public art on the streets of Manitou Springs, your support will go a long way toward keeping our installations looking great and ready for more years of service.

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The Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Manitou Springs Creative District, and City of Manitou Springs are not at all surprised that the town once again ranks in the Top 10 Best Small Town Arts Scenes in America.  

“When visitors come to Manitou Springs, they know they can expect extraordinary scenery and arts experiences because those two elements are a fundamental part of what it means to spend time in this community,” said Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce executive director Leslie Lewis.

This is the third consecutive year that the town of just under 5,000 residents has earned a nomination from USA Today 10Best editors and travel experts. Manitou Springs and nine other small towns across the county qualified based on an evaluation of their museums, art galleries, performing arts and busy event calendars. 

“The vitality of our small town arts scene is hard to beat,” said Creative Alliance Manitou Springs executive director Becca Sickbert. “On any given day, we have lively music performances, gorgeous art exhibitions, terrific galleries and classes, not to mention a town filled with creativity of every kind.”

Voting begins on Monday, May 15th at noon EDT and ends on Monday, June 12th at 11:59am EDT.  Manitou Springs supporters can sign up for daily text alerts through June by texting “best” to 844-421-0719.

”It’s an honor for Manitou Springs to be nominated as one of the United States’ best small town arts scenes for three years in a row,” said City of Manitou Springs councilwoman Natalie Johnson. “This demonstrates the community’s dedication towards investing in our culture of arts and history.”

The USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards highlight top-notch attractions and businesses, providing readers with trusted recommendations. 


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Download Presentation Deck Here

UPDATE: Manitou Arts Culture & Heritage Grant Application Info Session Resources

Becca Sickbert, executive director of Creative Alliance Manitou Springs (CRANE), facilitated  the sessions with hybrid access — in person at the CRANE office and online via Zoom.  To access the grant application, visit the MACH Board’s landing page here.

To access the presentation deck, tap the large button above or click here to download a PDF.

  • Part 1 presents a brief overview of MACH history, funds available, where to access Plan Manitou, and what successful applications should include.
  • Part 2 begins at 16:00 and addresses what’s new this year with key guidance on how to create an account (hint: email account required and check your spam or junk folder).
  • You’ll also find some budget creation and entry basics, plus helpful tips for saving and completing your application.

If you’re planning a MACH-funded public art project for 2023, please contact CRANE for assistance no later than December 15.

More useful links:

  1. MACH Board landing page on the City of Manitou Spring’s website
  2. MACH Application Rubric
  3. Plan Manitou (adopted 2017)
  4. Appendix A (Long-Term Actions including Arts & Culture)

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Register to help paint 10/17-10/19
11am – 1pm

Register here!

What’s the Goal? The purpose of this mural is to activate an otherwise empty, unfinished wall temporarily while the community determines what comes next for the building. We can’t tell the entire history of Manitou Springs in one mural, but we can we celebrate an aspect of this building’s story as a place of music and movement through dance.

How Long Will the Work Be on Display? This is hard to gauge because it depends on budgets and decisions outside of our role, but the working group estimates 1-3 years.

Why this project is happening: The Hiawatha Gardens Task Force approached us in the fall of 2021 with a request to work with the City of Manitou Springs in creating a temporary work of public art. We aim to install a mural on the western wall during October Arts Month. The inspiration for this project stems from the function of the historic building as a dancehall filled with music and movement. To volunteer, sign up here.

Mural Volunteer Sign Up

Arts Month Sponsors
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STREET CLOSURE DATES: 10/17 – 10/19 

If you remember last year, artists painted 52 turtles on the street to test two different epoxy sealants and neither one of them withstood the amount of traffic and weather that this congested area of town sees in the course of a few fall months. The pilot taught us that we need more permanent materials, so Smokebrush Foundation artists led by Manuel Pulido and Kat Tudor are partnering with the City of Manitou to create works of art in each El Paso Blvd. crosswalk from City Hall to Old Man’s Trail at Manitou Avenue. The advanced materials they’re using aren’t volunteer-friendly, but you’re welcome to come watch and cheer them on or sign up to volunteer with artists K8e Orr and Joel Newmiller to paint “The Dance of TAVA” at our transit hub here.


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The final rankings were determined by a popular vote, which placed Manitou Springs as the 5th Best Small Town Arts Scene, up from 9th place last year. “It is an honor to be recognized alongside these other creative communities. The City of Manitou Springs flourishes because we continue to prioritize the arts in all that we do. We work hard to make creativity inclusive and accessible to everyone. Art transcends barriers and is a catalyst for unity. Join us in building a better world.,” said Manitou Springs city councilor and Manitou Art Center executive director Natalie Johnson.
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