We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. John F. Kennedy.
Recently at the Durango Arts Center, a visitor and I engaged in a discussion about our current global turmoil, housing crisis, lack of jobs and wars being fought around the world. Her question to me was, Why does art really matter in our world?
For me this was an easy question to answer. I told her quite succinctly that art matters because when we view a painting, sculpture, piece of ceramics or any rendition from an artist it gives us an experience that few other things can do for us. It makes us feel good and perhaps piques our curiosity.
Art can soothe the soul, inspire us to think about beautiful things and take us to a new place to consider where we fit in this world. Furthermore, art can provoke healthy debate, as few people view an art object in the same manner.
In these times of world crisis, I firmly believe that art matters now more than ever. Sometimes it is hard to be inspired if we focus on what is happening all around us. Yet, if we look in our own backyard, we can find inspiration galore by all the artists that are represented in our community.
When I was a gallery director, I saw how art really made a difference for people as they strolled through the gallery. I also learned that one doesnt necessarily need to buy or own art to appreciate it, but I believe when a piece of art speaks to us, it really is an investment like no other to own a piece of art that we love.
Now that Ive been at the Durango Arts Center for a year and half, I have come to have a better understanding about art and the artists. Art is definitely a labor of love and a part of the artists soul is in each piece created. I now have a substantive art collection, all from artists I know personally, and this makes me enjoy the work all the more.
Durango is a strong and vibrant art community. We currently have ten outstanding art galleries that comprise the Gallery Association: &, Azul, Diane West Jewelry and Art, Durango Arts Center Gallery, Earthen Vessel Gallery, Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts, Open Shutter, Rain Dance Gallery, Sorrel Sky Gallery, and Toh-Atin Gallery. Beyond our local art galleries there are so many other venues featuring the work of artists.
I certainly do not know all of the businesses that feature art, but a few worth a mention include: A Shared Blanket, Antiques & Art on Main, Carver Brewing Company, Eno, Fort Lewis College Art Gallery, Image Counts, Marias Bookshop, Red Scarf Shots, Rochester Hotel, St. Marks Episcopal Church, Steaming Bean, Velvet Monkey, Wildflower, and The World According to Mark. There are also great art opportunities in Bayfield, Cortez, Mancos and Pagosa Springs.
If you are looking for something to do this summer, or when you have company and you want to engage them in knowing more about our area, I encourage you to visit these outstanding galleries and other venues offering art. I guarantee you will have a pleasurable experience and you will see artists who are truly at the top of their profession. Touring the galleries will allow you time to forget all the turmoil in the world and to be grateful for art in our lives.
Sheri Rochford Figgs is the executive director of the Durango Arts Center. Reach her at email@example.com.