We live in an arts community. I have heard Durango is second to San Francisco in the number of restaurants we have per capita (my favorite Durango statistic). And I think we could give any well-known creative community a “run for their money” when it comes to artists per capita as well – be they performing, visual or closet.
It seems everywhere I turn, somebody is making something and everyone is supporting one another in their efforts. All of this is very unique and a point of pride for our community.
Add a mention of the stunning landscapes and vast public lands we are surrounded by and you have most of the reasons many of us live here in a nutshell. And it is what brings people to visit our part of the world.
It is easy to see we are an arts community from places like the Smiley Building oozing with art, the wild Snowdown Parade, the inspiringly high-quality offerings of the commercial galleries downtown, to the Community Concert Hall and variety of theaters and cinemas we have to choose from, to the Durango Arts Center with offerings from many types of art making and performance, and even the city’s developing National Endowment for the Arts-funded community-engaged project to create a gateway to Durango.
With the exception of the natural beauty of the land, everything mentioned above came about thanks to people actively shaping our community by creating these opportunities, institutions or public offerings. Of course, even the land is available for all of our use because of foresight and active citizen engagement.
It’s through our actions and participation that we continue to have our gem of a city. All of us choosing to enjoy a local concert venue, purchase art from a neighbor or volunteer with one of the outstanding nonprofits in town.
Politics at large can be exhausting at times. Focusing our energy toward here, Durango and La Plata County, has instant gratification. We then get to see smiles. We get to hear stories. We get to help change stories for the better. We get to actively conserve what we have for future generations. We get to build equitable pathways for all of our community to enjoy these offering.
This is the thought process behind the theme of this year’s Annual Members’ Environmental Exhibit, Human/Nature.
A push to put all what many of us love about our part of the world into one event; local art about us and the environment, panel discussion with local nonprofits covering how we can take part in our public lands, and an inspiring set of performances by an internationally recognized artist.
With the Durango Arts Center’s recently revised mission, “The Durango Arts Center enriches the community through innovative visual and performing art, and arts education. DAC advances appreciation and participation in the arts as a cultural leader in the region,” and all the reasons listed above are why next year’s Annual Members’ Show theme will come from members of the DAC.
With so much creativity and passion afoot, we want to know what you would like to make artwork about.
Thank you all for everything you do to make Durango the place we want to live. I look forward to where we all take the arts and culture in the coming years.
Peter Hay is the exhibits director at the Durango Arts Center.