Its not often that the Durango Arts Center gets picky about who can and cant put their artwork on display. Sure, jurors often decide what gets in, but theyre not supposed to consider whos submitting it.
Once a year, however, the Barbara Conrad Gallery is set aside for that special group of DAC members who not only support the arts, they create them, too. And the DAC will present its Member Artists to the public tonight with an opening reception and awards ceremony for the select group.
And select it is Exhibits Director Jeannie Berger said of more than 700 DAC members, only 72 are displaying their work in the current exhibit, 16 of them for the first time at the DAC.
Ironically, even though the participation is limited, the Member Artists exhibit is as diverse as any because there is no theme or requirements of a specific medium. Pastels, oils and watercolors hang beside photographs and mosaics, and the subject matter ranges from local landscapes to foreign places to the abstract. Thats what hanging on the walls, and amidst it all is an odd but fun collection of sculpture, jewelry, fabric and less definable three-dimensional works.
The overall effect created by Berger and her volunteer crew is a bright, cheery display that welcomes a prolonged visit. Its not the kind of show thats likely to evoke an emotional response or any heavy introspection; its generally lighthearted and is a good sample of the artists talents.
Tonights festivities include a slew of awards that will be handed out; those picking winning entries include DAC Board President Terry Swan and Executive Director Sheri Rochford-Figgs, board member Diane Panelli, the Womens Resource Center, Durango Friends of the Arts and The Durango Herald A&E award, chosen by yours truly.
And while participation in Member Artists was limited to members of the DAC, the exhibit, including tonights reception, is free and open to the public.