When my daughter was about 7 years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”
– Howard Ikemoto
Nurturing imagination and creativity are essential components in educating our children. Creativity is one of the innate traits we are all born with. As children, we love to explore the world with all of our senses. Arts education strives to keep that love of curiosity alive. By continuing that natural inquisitiveness, we are allowed to grow up in a world with magic, beauty, self-expression and meaning.
Every year, the Durango Arts Center celebrates children’s innovative endeavors during the annual Creativity Festivity. Durango’s celebration was created in 1992 and modelled after the Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration. This year’s celebration, “Designing the Future,” is a two-week festival of children’s imaginative works in art, theater, poetry and music with a special emphasis on the importance of arts education in our schools.
Students from School District 9-R, kindergarten through 12th grade, will show their artwork in a special exhibit in the Barbara Conrad Gallery. The art specialists in the schools have curated the show and will install a colorful and engaging exhibit. The opening reception is on April 7, where refreshments will be served and fourth-grade poets will recite their poems for the public.
The high school poetry slam is always an astounding event with both Durango High School and Animas High School students participating. Kevinanne Curmano from DHS is facilitating the event again this year, celebrating April as National Poetry Month. Judges are local writers and educators, and the top 10 student poets from the first round compete in the second round. The second round ends with two finalists who slam three more poems each. The event will be held in the DAC theater on April 13 with a special house band from Stillwater Music called Grand Central.
The Durango Arts Centers’ Applause! students will be performing “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” Once you see it, you’ll be singing those conjunction junction songs all over again. The play is a good illustration of how art helps us learn other subjects such as history, science, math and grammar. Performances are in the theater at 7 p.m. on April 8 and 9. Two special after-school performances will be held on April 12 and 14 offering discounted tickets. And remember, there is always popcorn at the DAC.
The U.S. Congressional Art Competition for high school students coincides with Creativity Festivity this year. The competition is open to all regional students and will be juried by local arts professionals. The first-place winner will have their art work hung in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. House of Representatives for an entire year! On April 4, the three top-place winners will be announced by Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton. The work will be shown along with other kindergarten through high school students in the Barbara Conrad Gallery.
All of Creativity Festivity events are family-friendly and open to the public. Please join us for each of the events featured during this special celebration.
When people think of art they think of paint and crayons. Art isn’t about paint; art is about how it makes you feel.
– Jaina, Durango fifth-grader
Sandra Butler is the education director at the Durango Arts Center. Contact her at email@example.com.