It’s all fun and games for Friends of the Arts

Southwest Life

Ann Butler

Current Columnist


Phone Number: (970) 375-4584

It’s all fun and games for Friends of the Arts

From left, Jan Bowler, Sidney Morris, Dana Wilson and Geri Swingle seek high-point words for the Scrabble board at the Durango Friends of the Arts Progressive Game Day on Aug. 16 at the home of Cindy Cortese. Bowler claimed bragging rights as champion of the day in Scrabble.

Luck wasn’t always a lady for the competitors at the Progressive Game Day in Edgemont Ranch on Aug. 16, but laughter was a steady companion.

The event, which took place at several homes with tables set up for bridge, Scrabble and mah-jongg, brought 51 women together as a fundraiser for Durango Friends of the Arts. The friends’ raison d’être is to raise money to support local artists and arts organizations.

From the Durango Arts Center and Music in the Mountains Goes to School to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Suzy DiSanto’s Take the Lead ballroom dancing lessons, this group has helped bring the arts into our schools and into all our lives.

And when they’re not fundraising, they’re attending performances – often as a big group – to show another kind of support.

Progressive Game Day was so named because guests started at one house in the morning, came together at the home of Cindy Cortese for lunch and then went to yet another house for an afternoon of more high-spirited competition.

In addition to Cortese, the committee members and hostesses were Naomi Beans, Karren Little, Diane Rabeno, Susie Ammann, Kathie Bowers, Janice Martin, Jane Mercer and Patty Hain. DFA President Carol Bruno and Historian Caroline Todd served as the Hospitality Crew.

Lunch was a wealth of salads, pasta, quinoa, garlic chicken, shrimp ... I couldn’t begin to count them. Salad makers were Bruno, Todd, Mercer, Hain, Mary Orsini, Bowers, Ammann, Dottie Robinson and Martin.

Marilee White made a scrumptious mint lemonade with mint from her garden, and Martin provided a variety of snacks, including mini-cinnamon rolls, mini-muffins and chocolate-covered strawberries for snacks. It’s a good thing dessert at lunch was Skinny Cow truffle bars after all those goodies.

Sally Mitchell once was mentioned in Neighbors as the low scorer at a day of bridge, and she has never forgotten it. (Scores are so dependent on the quality of one’s cards that they’re never a measurement of the skill of the player. In Mitchell’s defense, her reputation for low cards is so famous – or infamous – her friends often say they got a “Sally Mitchell” hand.)

She went home with a prize for second highest bridge score for the morning at Cortese’s home, yours truly took second for the afternoon and our hostess had the highest scores a.m. and p.m., which of course gave her the high score for the day for her house.

Cissy Anderson also had an excellent day, winning both morning and afternoon at the homes where she played, outscoring Cortese to take Top Dog honors, and Beverly Sinclair took home third prize for overall score. Hostesses Bowers and Little also did some winning at their homes, and other bridge players winning prizes included Elaine Bennett, Mercer and Pat Borgers.

Jan Bowler was Top Dog in Scrabble, with Dana Wilson coming in second. Wilson, however, had one of the best words of the day with “quartz” on a double-word score. Nice.

J.M. Jones can brag at length about her mah-jongg skills for coming in first at this mysterious game from China.

For many of the game players, it was their second DFA fundraiser in as many days. On Aug. 15, Penny Haney and Buff Rogers hosted a “Knit-A-Scarf” Luncheon at Rogers’ home. Treat and Hain, with the somewhat questionable assistance of Cortese as “Vanna,” helped attendees knit a beautiful scarf in just a few hours.

Well, except for Mary Kay Steadman, who still had some stitches to go, and poor Ammann lost ¾ of her stitches off her needles. (That would have been me, Susie, if I were there!) Karen Meyers finished hers first, and Treat, Wilson and Mary Husemoller all went home with a new accessory, too.

No word on whether Mitchell, Jackie DiSanto, Sandra LeFevre, Ann Huttner, Sunny Pulliam and her daughter, Dalene, made a scarf, but there’s no question they had a blast.

The two events brought in $3,600 to the DFA Grants Fund. Since its founding in 1991, DFA had donated more than $380,000 to community arts projects.

You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the events, but you have a lot more fun if you are. The group has reached the record-breaking level of 189 members, with its first two partners being Mercy Regional Medical Center and First National Bank of Durango.

It would be fun to see the Durango Friends of the Arts reach the ever elusive mark of 200 members. If you want to join – individual memberships are $35 – contact Treat at

And if there’s a blotter item about a scarf stolen from Haney’s house – she knitted another one that night, and it is gorgeous – there’s no reason to come looking at my house. Really.


Enjoying the first of the Virgo birthdays (sorry, I got the calendar wrong, Wednesday’s birthdays were the last of the Leos) are Liz Cahill, Melissa Mosely, Bob Mueller, Bradyn Jory, Tom Mulligan, Clara Wolf, Shannon White, Amber Jackson, Tuula Bader, Jacob Pinkerton, Weston Baken, Millie Graff, Gabrielle Souder, Murray Pearthree, Emily Safran, Lanette Hartman and Kay Mayer.


In 1962, we hadn’t seen a man walk on the moon, lived through the Summer of Love nor imagined the Internet, personal computers and cell phones. (Our cell phones have more computing power than NASA had to land those men on the moon.)

We had, however, seen the class of 1962 graduate from Durango High School.

Their 50th reunion is fast approaching on Sept. 14 and 15, and the quest still is on to find some missing classmates. If you know them, are them or even have an idea where they might be, contact Karla (Goff) Clark at 259-5993.

The undiscovered to date are Clayton Alexander, Jo Anna Bayman, Rossie Bellino, Barbara Benson, Maxine Berry, Carolyn Black, Tommie Bostian, Sherren Boyer, Maria Gloria Archuleta, Janice Smith, Gary Briggs, JanetBurleigh, Susan Canterberry, Vicki Clark, Jim Clay, Mary Clay, Lorna Clovis, Roberta Cramer, Charles Davis, Martha Goff, Stanley Hatley, James Howard, Susan Jordan, Agnes Maez, Betty Martinez, Donald McGregor, Welonda Miller, Georgia Moreno, Alexander Padilla, Terry Sharp, Dennis Stonehocker, Tom Swartz, Gloria Valdez, Edward Williams and Virginia Wylie.

By the 50th, everyone has had their ups and downs, successes and failures, sadnesses and joys. It’s a good time to look back at who you were when you still were wet behind the ears and a good time to appreciate the person you have become.


Summer continues to slip away during the anniversaries of Gary and Ronda Conrad, Tom and Nancy Williams (45!), Sandy and Phyllis Max, Evan and NeilMcCleery, Bill and Pat Borgers, Tracey and Jackie Gillespie and Bob and Claudia Patterson.


Here’s how to reach me:; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory), include no more than three to five people, and I must know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo. Candid photos are better than posed, and photos should be submitted as .jpg or .tif attachments.

It’s all fun and games for Friends of the Arts

From left, Jan Bowler, Sidney Morris, Dana Wilson and Geri Swingle seek high-point words for the Scrabble board at the Durango Friends of the Arts Progressive Game Day on Aug. 16 at the home of Cindy Cortese. Bowler claimed bragging rights as champion of the day in Scrabble.
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