COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Whether she's hosting her children's show "Simple Gift Series" on PBS, or hosting dozens of children and their families for a free playgroup at the historic city auditorium in downtown Colorado Springs, Linda Weise is determined to make sure anyone who wants to learn about the arts and literacy has access to it.
"Why would I not do it if I know I can do it?" Weise said. "I was given gifts from God to bring music somewhere, somehow."
A gifted pianist and singer, Weise was trained at the highly competitive performing arts school, Julliard, in New York City.
"This was not in my crystal ball. I'm supposed to be singing opera," says Weise.
Instead, 30 years ago she created the Colorado Springs Conservatory to bring world-class performing arts education to the region. Now, she spends most of her time as the president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Community Cultural Collective. It's a non-profit dedicated to preserving and revitalizing the city auditorium. Her day starts at a time when many of us are sleeping.
"Technically my alarm is set for 4 a.m. but sometimes I get up before that because it's quiet," said Weise.
By midday, she's ready for a nap. She calls herself the queen of power naps.
"I just get in my chair and do this (crossing arms) and then the alarm goes off and I'm like 'Okay let's go people,'" says Weise.
By evening you'll see her at community events many nights during the week.
"I want to make sure I'm supporting the people who support me," says Weise.
Somehow she also squeezes in time to record episodes of her PBS program that focuses on early childhood music and literacy. A show created during COVID with the help of alumni of the Colorado Springs Conservatory.
"We talked about all the pieces that need to be there. Social/emotional, cognitive. Motor skills, chronological awareness, numeracy," said Weise.
And her work on the show, it's all done for free.
"People would say it's insane but I can't not do it and know that I can,"Weise said. "The world is falling apart and if you can do something to make it a little better why would you not do it?"
And that's why Linda Weise is the latest winner of the News5 Jefferson Award.
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