Opened in 1997, Cottonwood Center for the Arts has made a name for itself as an exclusive art school. The center, located in downtown Colorado Springs, has grown and evolved over the years to include every genre of art class imaginable. Housed in a 40,000-square-foot space, you will find more than 120 artists, classrooms, gallery spaces and a theatre. There is also a gift shop, where artists can sell their wares.
Most classes are four weeks long and cost $120, with a few exceptions. More than 300 students take classes every month and the classes offered are ever evolving. The center also holds summer kids’ camps as well as various events throughout the year.
Art with a Mission
Cottonwood Center’s mission is to leave a legacy of art for future generations. They achieve this by creating spaces for artists to teach and learn. The center also passionately advocates that all art has value. They don’t use volunteers because their philosophy is that everyone in art deserves to be paid for what they do.
“Art can be as viable a business proposition as anything. Art has value and offers cultural and financial currency,” says Jon Khoury, executive director, CEO and COA.
Revenue for Independence and Growth
Using multiple forms of revenue, the non-profit center has found creative and imaginative ways to generate income. A large portion of proceeds comes from art and retail sales, classes and studio rental spaces. They also offer up their spaces for events like weddings and parties. Perhaps their most original income source comes from their curation program. For a fee, the Cottonwood Center will beautify your home or business and rotate fresh artwork into your space every three months.
The income generated by the center goes back right back into Cottonwood. They recently added an outdoor space and are always making improvements to their programs and creative spaces.
“My proudest moment as director was when we purchased our building and paid off all of our debts,” Khoury says.
For those who are interested in learning more, they host a First Friday event every month, offering food, drinks and live music to enjoy as you tour the building and galleries.
Facebook + Instagram: @CottonwoodCenterfortheArts