Dont cry because its over, smile because it happened. Dr. Seuss
The Seuss on the Loose! exhibit spent nearly six weeks in the Barbara Conrad Gallery at the Durango Arts Center, and the results were amazing.
Mary Ellen Long and Shan Wells curated the exhibit and a hardworking committee assisted them as they focused on the works of the late Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. In so many ways, this exhibit, which rarely travels from La Jolla, Calif., was a genuine coup for our community. Adults, teenagers and children visited the gallery, and once they walked through the door, they were hooked by the enchantment of Dr. Seuss.
A special thank you goes to the Durango Arts Centers docents, who provided educational tours of the exhibit to more than 700 schoolchildren from our region. Students also spent time upstairs in the Education Studio facilitated by our education coordinator, Sandra Butler, to learn more about Dr. Seuss and work on a Seuss-related art project. Continuing poignant scenes in the gallery were adults reading to children or children reading to adults in the cozy reading nook, nestled on colorful pillows listening intently as they vocalized the Seuss rhymes.
To keep the exhibit open to the community we had to rely on many extra volunteers. Kudos to volunteer coordinator Jeannie Berger, who brought new volunteers in to ensure we had enough coverage.
The Arts Center staff and board of directors have spent a lot of time discussing the benefits of the Dr. Seuss exhibit, and overall, while we realize it was expensive to bring it to Durango, all of us believe the benefits to the community were tremendous, especially to children. If one child who attended the Seuss exhibit develops a love of reading and a curiosity about our world, then we have succeeded. This love of learning and intellectual curiosity transcends money.
The exhibit was enhanced by the participation of Suzy DiSanto, an icon in Durangos dance world. Suzy was involved with the committee that assisted Mary Ellen and Shan, and she and the entire DiSanto clan ensured that the opening ceremonies for Seuss were imaginative, creative and fun-filled for children and adults. Suzy also helped us say good-bye to Seuss by involving her dance troupe. Hundreds of people showed up Friday to say farewell to Dr. Seuss.
Our resident theater group, Durango Performing Arts Company, had great success with Seussical the Musical, which was sold out on the last performances. The Arts Center provided DPAC with free rental and ticket sales so the theater and art gallery could work together for the greater good of the community.
Also Friday, the Durango Arts Center hosted the 2011-12 Leadership La Plata Arts and Culture Class. Class leaders Ted Holteen and Cindy Coleman put on a full day of events moderated by Connie Imig, owner of the Spaah Shop.
Connie also serves as a board member of the Arts Center and was recently elected to the Chamber of Commerces board of directors. Leadership La Plata always does a stellar job of highlighting the value of the arts to each new class, and Ted and Cindy presented a well-rounded program, and we were happy to provide the space.
Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Dr. Seuss
Sheri Rochford Figgs is the executive director of the Durango Arts Center. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.