For a long time, I was not a fan of the annual meeting. Who needs another meeting, after all?
But there are meetings, and then there are meetings. I’ve come to the conclusion they’re a key ingredient in bringing members together to remember what they’re supporting, why the organization matters and learn what has been accomplished in the year just past.
That was certainly the case at the Durango Arts Center’s annual Membership Picnic, which was held June 6 in the Secret Garden at the Rochester Hotel. It’s one of my favorite places to spend a summer evening.
Zia Taqueria provided a delicious meal, including yummy Mexican wedding cookies for dessert.
This was the last such picnic where Executive Director Peggy Zemach will have the reins. She has led the center through an art revolution and an extensive strategic planning effort, broadening the center’s reach considerably.
Zemach had a lot of good news to share on the highlights of the year.
A top priority for the last several years has been establishing economic stability for the DAC, so the first page I turned to in the annual report was the finances. Former Executive Directors Scott Hagler (who volunteered his time when it appeared the center would have to close its doors) and Sherri Rochford pulled it out of the hole and set it on a healthier direction, but we all know most nonprofits in this town operate with slim security. The financial efforts did not falter under Zemach’s umbrella.
From May 2013 to May 2014, the center spent more than $781,000 and brought in more than $837,000 as it worked to build a cash reserve. Beautiful. It’s clear the idea of theater season, inaugurated in 2013 and midway through its second year under Theresa Carson, is a strong addition. But perhaps the even more amazing fact about the theater is that it cost 25.1 percent of the expenses and brought in 31.9 percent of the income.
That’s due in large part to the income it generates when the space is rented out, an important community service. More than 17,000 people attended performances in the theater this year, with more than 19 different organizations utilizing the space.
Zemach shared some of her favorite highlights, including the exhibit “Down the Rabbit Hole, an interactive sculpture exhibit, curated by Joan Russell, Jeff Madeen and DAC education coordinator Sandra Butler (no relation as far as we know). She also particularly enjoyed ”Maple and Vine” an edgy play that confronted some of the big issues of our day, including racism, sexism and homophobia. Both of these events started drawing in a younger and more diverse crowd, an important demographic for the future of the center.
My highlights are difficult to choose. I’m loving the collaboration the DAC is showing with other organizations. The “Journey Stories” exhibit that coordinated with the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit at the Animas Museum and “The West Revisited” with the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, are two great examples.
But as a Latin American studies major, the exhibit curated by Mark Winter about the Spanish colonial influence that was a collaboration with the Center of Southwest Studies, resonated in strong ways. Winter put together pieces from throughout Latin America spanning several centuries that told an important story about our area. Santa Fe, eat your heart out.
And what can I say about the TOPS National Jewelry Exhibit going on now but wowser?
Carson has brought energy and vision to the DAC Theatre. “Cabaret” was memorable, and the collaboration (there’s that word again) with Merely Players on “The Wizard of Oz” brought back the magic of a beloved classic. But going behind the scenes to watch a rehearsal of the fundraiser “Love Letters” – just me, actors Meredith Mapel and Jack Llewellyn, along with Carson, made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sorry I cried through the whole second half, you guys.
DAC is a place where the community comes together in the most positive way. The center is steadily increasing its membership level, up to 899 members, but 1,000 is the magic number where its sustainability becomes more certain. Check out the schedule, stop by the center, get to know our arts center and consider supporting it in this fundamental way.
It’s clear great things are happening there.
No bonfires for the birthdays of these folks with the red flag warnings we’ve been having, and be careful with those candles, too – William Knight, Jack Harry, Janet Williams, Stewart Leach, Ann Duft, Jade Lucero, Sara Clair, Jessica Keitz, Lukas Minerich, Dana Strength, Sandy Studer, Amanda Blalock, Alexa Howell, Taylor Zick, Anna Folk, Art Gresh, Erin Hamlin, Dylan Baken, Diane Bock, Diane Curtis, Roger Cole, Kendra Moffett, Susan Hermesman, Janine Crossno, Dorothy Wilson, Pat LaRose, Sue Griffith, Carol Salomon, Sylvia Kehle, Kay Cooley, Nicholas Dudley, Ryan Ehrig, Lia Neergaard, David Jackson, Nancy Brown, Vicky Moreno, Katie Hotter, Paul Beauregard and Courtney Hightower.
Special belated greetings go to Lucy Porter, who turned 7 this week, and her dad, Kalon Porter, who celebrated his birthday the same day. I bet she was the best gift ever.
Nothing is sweeter than homemade baked goods. Fortunately for us, Durango Friends of the Arts are resurrecting that time-honored fundraiser, the bake sale, this summer.
After 14 years of attending their events, I can attest to their superb skills in the kitchen.
The first sale is today at the Durango Farmer’s Market with homemade pies. The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon, but I wouldn’t wait until the last minute to pick one up. When it comes to homemade pies, supplies are, by definition, limited.
As long as they’re baking their hearts out, they might as well have a second sale, right?
So mark Friday on your calendar as a good day to stop by First National Bank of Durango, 259 W. 9th St. This will be a full-scale bake sale with all kinds of yummies on offer.
DFA raises funds to support local artists and arts organization. Such a good cause removes all the calories, doesn’t it?
Happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there. Families have a couple of great activities on offer to celebrate their favorite guys.
“Who’s Your Daddy!”, the Powerhouse Science Center’s big fundraiser of the year, offers all kinds of activities, brews galore and great music. It runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in Buckley Park. Really, with the weather we’re having, who isn’t enticed by a slip ‘n’ slide?
After seeing “Dear Mother” at Durango Arts Center in May – I can’t get over William Faulkner signing his letters “Billy” – I can’t wait to see “Love, Dad,” a look at the advice and emotions famous fathers shared with their children.
There are two shows, at 3 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is free, but if your dad is impossible to buy for, a donation to Hospice of Mercy’s new residence in his honor, or memory, would be greatly appreciated.
The plethora of June anniversary wishes continues for Hamilton and Jane Wright, Darren and Tonja Wales, Kip and Nellie Boyd, the Rev. Tim and Eryn Orlowski, Cyril and Laura Bohachevsky, Ken and Sue Marshall, John and Katie Benner, Ed and Phyllis Tucker, David and Jeannie Bennett, Darrell and Diane Trembly, Bill and Cindy Donelan, Bill and Peggy Hoffman, Alan and Brenda TeBrink, John and Eliane Viner, Fred and Lois Anderegg, Dan and Kim Harms, Mike and Dianne Milner, Warren and Ruth Phillips, Jeff and Erica Max (30), Jim and Marjorie Appel and Mike and Meme Eberspacher.
You thought I was kidding, didn’t you?