Durango Friends of the Arts spends all year raising money to supports artists and arts organizations, and it has kicked off its 2016 ventures in high style.
Kicking is almost literal in the sense that two Zumba outings led by Karyn Gabaldon and Susie Ammann were the first fundraisers of the year, followed closely by an “American Idol” viewing party at the home of Karren Little.
The latter was to cheer on Jeneve Rose Mitchell, who made the final 14 before being eliminated the night of the party, but that didn’t dampen spirits. Jeneve has become a favorite at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering after Little discovered her while doing the talent wrangling for the gathering.
Jeneve actually made her debut in Durango at the DFA summer membership luncheon at the home of Mary Husemoller. I remember getting an editorial “dispensation” to run small photos of her playing nine different instruments for Neighbors rather than one big photo, as is more the custom.
Anyway, getting back to the party for Jeneve, 26 people attended and enjoyed vegetable antelope and barley antelope soups courtesy of Carol Bruno; chili prepared by the hostess; peanut butter-chocolate-graham cracker bars baked by Sue Weirather; and appetizers brought by Carol House, Kristi Householder and several other guests.
Little had televisions going all over the house. She made the event colorful by pulling out all the leftover paper plates from previous events, four of this pattern, six of that.
“Nothing matched, and nobody cared,” she said.
Also attending were Jan Bowler, Niles Bruno, Dottie and Tom Robinson, Dan Ammann, Karen Gallagher, Guyneth Zimmerman, Nancy Macho, Tina Trump, Mary Kay Lambert, Caroline and Michael Todd, Patty Hain, Judy Fairchild, Pam Fuller, Gary Penington, Mike, Katy and Catalina Shirley, Mike Householder and LaVern Nelson.
The coolest part, Little said, was the $460 raised for DFA.
Coming up next for the organization is its general meeting Thursday at Toh-Atin Gallery. Social time starts at 10 a.m., and the program by gallery owner Jackson Clark will begin at 10:30 a.m. Guests are always welcome, and if you’ve ever thought about joining, this is a great introduction to the organization.
As I said, this is just the beginning of the fundraising for the organization. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 9 and 16, Suzi DiSanto will give ballroom dancing lessons. Whether you’re preparing for a special wedding dance or have just gotten tired of having two left feet, DiSanto will make you more comfortable on the dance floor. (As the instructor for Take the Lead, which teaches ballroom dancing to fifth graders, DiSanto has received numerous grants from Friends of the Arts.) Lessons are $25 per person for both days.
On May 21, Jeff Solon’s Swingin’ Big Band will present a Spring Fling concert at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4031, where those dancing lessons might come in handy. (Solon’s Live Music in the Schoolhouse is another longtime grant recipient.) Entrance is $25 per person.
To reserve space in either or both fundraisers, send your check to Carol House, 3189 E. Animas Village Drive, Durango, CO 81301. Contact House at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In 2016, the group raised and gave away $26,000, with funding going to a variety of programs including the Durango Arts Center Creativity Festivity, the holiday musical production and visual and performing arts education; Durango Bluegrass Meltdown; Dumpster Beautification Project; Durango Choral Society; the aforementioned poetry gathering; Merely Players “Shrek” and a to-be-determined production; Music in the Mountains Goes to School; San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra; Stillwater Foundation; the Be For the Recreational and Artistic Needs of Kids Foundation; and the iAM Music Institute.
Enjoying the mildest of Pisces birthdays are Cathy Roberts, Joan Sippy, Phil McClain, Anne Swanson, Haley Cotgageorge, Lillian Boe, Lauri Kloepfer, Randy Bondow, Gretchen Miller, Molly Murray, Bud Halldorsen, John Gerhart, Janice Martin, Ed McCoola, Duane Speh, Julie Ward, Jim Schoultz, Bethany Bieth, Robert Ludwig, Jane Pearson, Taylor Bray, Gisele Pansze, Judy Johnson, Andrew Webb, Christopher Blevins, Valerie Schwiderski, Guyneth Zimmerman, Lorri Shields, Brian Beal, Gus Kidd, David Brooks and Becca Schaldach.
I have lots of belateds this week because prepping for caucus coverage last week took my entire Tuesday afternoon – Susan Blue, Margaret Copeland, Sean Franklin, Diann Wylie, Katie Thompson, Albert Halverstadt, Nicole Ranasinghe, Larry Crawford, Callie Huckins, Whitney Huckins, Michael Pratt, Allison Cripe, Dennis Pierce, Steve Kiely, Hayden Siekman, John Siebert, Lilly Tichi, Geo Freitag, David Bishop, Warren Broman, Frank Tikalsky, Jeani Poe, Susie Miller, Marci Wait, Art Cahill, Lynda Morris, Brittany Jaramillo, Kirk Dignum, Dora Edgerton, Steve Schwartz, Catherine Jones, Kim Hobby, Keith Messier, Haley Fleming, Marty Schank, Teresa Jordan, Susan Marwin, Rebecca Bowers, Carey Vicati, Karen Overington, Neil McCleery, Soren Krischke, Mimi Hayduke and Nancy Macho.
Very special greetings go to Dee Stites, who became a newly minted nonagenarian Tuesday.
Instead of fundraising for the arts, this item is a case of an artist raising money for a good cause, in this case Volunteers of America. The second annual Wear the Love campaign, a custom-designed pendant by a local artist, is now underway to support women and children at the Durango Community Shelter and Southwest Safehouse.
Last year’s campaign, featuring a pendant designed by Karyn Gabaldon, sold out quickly, and I’ve noticed something interesting. Every time I see a woman wearing one, her smile is a little brighter and her eyes are sparkling a little more. Of course, that could be a coincidence and it’s just because something in their lives is going extra-well that day. But I prefer to believe it’s because wearing the pendants reminds them they’re supporting an important cause and knowing that makes them feel better about themselves and the world.
Anyway, this year’s piece was created by Pagosa Springs artist Anne Campbell. She worked in metal clay, with Wear the Love engraved on the back. It’s a limited edition of 300, and last year’s run had sold out by Mother’s Day, so this is a place where Durango’s love of procrastination will shut you out of having one of these beauties.
The cost is $65.
Last year, people were buying several, one for every woman in their family or every woman in their office. This is one piece of jewelry a woman can be proud to wear at the same time as every woman she knows.
Pre-orders are now being taken by Advisory Council members or by calling Lucas Knudsen, the VOA administrative assistant, at 259-1021.
The official kick-off of official sales will begin from 4 to 7 p.m. April 7 at Taylor-Raymond Galley during the First Thursday Art Walk. Campbell will be on hand to meet donors. Appetizers will be donated by Hot Tomatoes, and Star Liquors and owner Stan Crapo are stepping up to provide the potent potables, as “Jeopardy” is wont to describe them. I guess winning the Barbara Conrad Award from Leadership La Plata hasn’t slowed down his generosity one whit.
Chris Warren and Deborah Caswell have once again paired up to co-chair the event.
Will spring flowers start blooming for the anniversaries of Bill and Joyce Watt, David and Dora Chavez, Brandon and Sara Rolph, John and Vi Kessell, Jerry and Sara Davis and Randy and Janine Puskas?
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