More giving than art itself is the community that art creates.
This is the most valuable lesson I learned from studying art at Dartmouth College. Since graduating, I have understood the necessity of a strong community of artists and their supporters and a venue where they can all come together.
When I first moved to Durango with my partner and family, I never would have thought to find such a rich and lush artistic scene. There is so much to participate in, from gallery openings to concerts, plays to burlesque circus shows. The Durango Arts Center in many ways is the hub of all of this activity, and anyone can become involved. In fact, the majority of our operating expenses are supported by membership donations.
Becoming a member at the DAC not only supports the current Durango culture but also cultivates budding artists. We have many programs for not only adults, but also kids and teens, ensuring that Durango is not a town where youths are exposed solely to pop culture and magazine tabloids. Participation in the arts improves academic performance in all areas. Above that, the opportunities that DAC provides foster an important skill needed in an ever-complex and increasingly unpredictable world: creativity.
A DAC membership also gives you a great number of benefits, including discounts to the variety of shows, classes, workshops and activities we provide. Becoming a member puts you in your arts community, giving you an opportunity to expand your social and creative network.
In addition, supporting the arts by becoming a member benefits Durango in a much broader way. Tourism in Durango has flourished for many reasons due in large part to the vibrant arts scene. Having a strong creative presence is key to our social and cultural identity, which greatly supports Durango’s local merchants and economy.
DAC invites the community to our open house on Thursday, where current and prospective members can see the inner workings of the center, meet cast members from our upcoming show, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” observe our summer programs in action and witness first-hand the impact we have on the community.
It is important to note that anyone can become involved. Art welcomes and needs to be socially, economically and ethnically diverse. The Western Slope has a unique demographic, stemming from the surrounding Native American reservations and Hispanic communities, to Fort Lewis College, which brings students from around the world. The exploration of these different perspectives can transform into a justly aware and progressive art scene in Durango. As Aristotle said, “We need art because we have not lived enough. Art allows us to acquire experiences that our own lives could never provide.”
With that in mind, we’ll see you at the DAC!
Doug Gonzalez oversees membership, volunteers and the box office at the Durango Arts Center. Learn more about DAC’s open house on June 23 at www.durangoarts.org.