Midway through the shortest month of the year and on the downhill slide to spring, February is considered for most to be a quiet, contemplative moment of renewal in the New Year. The major celebrations of our annual winter festival, The Big Game and Valentine’s Day are behind us, and even the winter tidings of El Nino have taken a turn for higher temperatures to thaw out garden beds and turn trails into frosty mudpack.
While some may see this time as a static slice in the calendar, deep in these pockets of winter exist some of the most poignant opportunities for creativity to flourish, and to our benefit.
A substantial body of research in recent decades has related the importance of creative activities to brain health through the major personality trait of “openness,” which measures cognitive flexibility and the willingness to entertain new and novel ideas. Creativity has been linked to enhanced problem-solving skills and reduced stress. Creativity also fosters greater memory capability and even leads to a longer lifespan engaged in regularly.
The best part is, the creative process is accessible to everyone, regardless of whether you feel artistic yourself, or enjoy reading, conversing or simply viewing arts & culture on stage, screen, in a gallery or elsewhere. Creativity is not a practice of perfection, rather it thrives in opportunities of challenge, spontaneity and simplicity.
The Durango Arts Center and our greater community arts and& culture calendar have more than enough to entertain, enlighten and nourish our creativity from now until the Spring Equinox. Take it in and be inspired, starting tonight:
With support of Alpine Bank, DAC commences its 2016 theatre season with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” produced in collaboration with Merely Players. An aptly-described “hilarious, farcical comedy,” the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play is masterfully directed by Mona Wood-Patterson and stars immense local talent who bring the suite of family characters to life in rivalry, raucousness and regret. This adult drama will show at DAC for just two weekends, opening tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Also opening this evening across town at 5-9 p.m. at Studio & is the exhibit “So Far: Reconstructing 40 Years,” a sure-to-be spectacular presentation of five local artists celebrating, and reflecting on life as each begins life at 40 (www.anddurango.com).
End your weekend on Sunday at 3 p.m. with the San Juan Symphony’s third concert of the 2015-16 season, “Unforgettable Triumph,” featuring bucolic and powerful pieces. (www.SanJuanSymphony.org).
DAC will open two exhibits next Friday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m., each promising to be as unique as they will be captivating. “Obedience, Conformity, Apathy ... ‘It’s All Good!’” brings together father and son, Bud Madeen and Jeff Madeen, in the Barbara Conrad Gallery. Upstairs, DAC will present “Ink and Wax: Intimate Surface Directions,” the textured encaustic monotypes of Seattle artist Karen Riley in our contemplative Art Library space.
To brighten your midweek doldrums, join us for the final three installments of our engaging art history lecture series, “Art Genres,” prepared and presented thoughtfully by local art historian and journalist, Judith Reynolds. They run Thursdays through March 10 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the DAC theatre and are free.
Finally, Durango Independent Film Festival will kick off right when we need it most, March 2 to 6, bringing a nice dose of innovative filmmaking and serious talent from around the globe to our community (www.DurangoFilm.org).
Visit www.DurangoArts.org for a complete schedule of our events and programs available to nourish your final weeks of winter.
email@example.com. Cristie Scott is the executive director of the Durango Arts Center.