Many Leadership La Plata classes can be pretty heavy subjects – criminal justice, health and human services, government. But the arts and culture day allows not only a chance to learn about the economic side of the arts, it’s an opportunity to have a little fun, too.
Moderator Ted Holteen, the former Arts and Entertainment editor at The Durango Herald and the trivia master at Ska Brewing Company’s Super Ted’s Super Trivia on Tuesday nights at the brewery, kicked the day off with trivia questions about Durango’s public art collection.
(How would you have done? Here are two examples: “What Durango city councilor wrote a new mystery novel?” and “Who created the sculpture in front of the Durango police station?” The answers await at the end of the column.)
The winning team got 13 out of 20 questions right. Whether that’s because Holteen asked extremely difficult questions – as he is wont to do – or because the class is representative of the general public in its knowledge about the collection – is anybody’s guess.
One thing is for sure, class members knew more about the collection by the time the day had ended.
Former Durango Arts Center Executive Director Sheri Rochford Figgs and Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College Director Charles Leslie talked about how arts organizations are surviving in days of tight funding. Merely Players founders Mona Wood Patterson and Charles Ford shared both their long and storied history at Durango High School and their concern that between limited funding and the rush to push kids through school, arts education is often pushed aside.
Returning to the topic of public art, Cristie Scott, the arts center’s executive director and chairwoman of the Public Art Commission, along with Sherri Dugdale, assistant to the city manager, discussed the funding and selecting of public art. (Hint: It’s not a popularity contest.) As their homework, class members had looked at art around the community and brought in pictures of public art that touched them. Sculptures, trash cans and wall art were all on the list, but the most popular piece was the cyclists on the Florida Road roundabout, which happens to be high on my list as well.
A spirited discussion about the famous (or infamous) Arc of History ensued, with Scott walking them through the selection process.
Of course, the big topic of discussion on the arts scene is the proposed science, theater, education, art and music compound, popularly called the STEAM Park. Leadership team members Carol Salomon and Terry Bacon talked about the benefits of the riverfront project, Mayor Pro Tem Dean Brookie and Durango Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Karola Hanks discussed the challenges, with one of the major issues about relocating the fire station. The good news is that all this discussion is very amiable, which is not always the case when our community faces challenges with differing priorities.
The class was about more than economics and challenges. Tim Zink and Durango DOT Comedy brought them all on stage to learn how to express themselves through body language, the spoken word and that magical word: spontaneity.
After a delicious lunch at El Moro Spirits and Tavern, which included an introduction to the steampunkish artistry of the restaurant by general manager Dave Woodruff, a tour of Studio & demonstrated the wide variety of media employed by area artists.
And of course, since leadership is in the name, it needs to be included in the curriculum. For this session, FLC President Emeritus Joel Jones led the class in the “Art of Leading in Times of Ambiguity.” Despite what politicians and some media would have us believe, all times have at least some ambiguity, no matter how much we would like decisions to be straightforward and easy.
Dick Imig and Petra Hinke, members of the Class of 2013-2014, organized the day.
Blowing out their birthday candles in between Snowdown events are Ian Phillips, Butch Keller, Will Albert, John Anderson, Dona Anderson, Carol Wallace, Bruce Geiss, Abigail Jackson, Kim Todd, Chris Howe, Scott Cheesewright, Tammy (Honold) Pratt, Aurora Rose, Marsha Franklin and Danna Black.
Durango’s restaurant scene has changed significantly over the years, with this current state of having as many restaurants, including many dedicated to fine dining, a relatively recent occurrence.
Memories of my growing up here include the Western Steak House, which was owned by the Wong family, made one or two Chinese dishes every day, so when you wanted Chinese, that’s what you ate. Or Velma’s Supper Club, where Dr. Art Warner taught me to twirl spaghetti on a spoon. Don’t get me started on the T-Bone Restaurant, which served terrific steaks and whose recipe for beans is still sought after.
And the Petroleum Club at the Strater Hotel, where The Office Spiritorium is now located, at one point had one of the rare color TVs in town. New Year’s Day brunch to watch the Rose Bowl Parade in color started the year off with a memorable highlight. My mother, Kathy Butler, made me dress up every summer to lunch on vichyssoise and other French dishes at Chez Louis.
Why am I so caught up in eateries of another time here? Because the Animas Museum is getting started on its annual History La Plata special newspaper section, and this year’s theme is “We AreWhat We Eat.” One feature will be Restaurant Reminiscing, and while I have been tapped to write about the Chief Diner – you’ll have to read the section when it comes out in May to learn more – they’re looking for other memories, fond, crazy or otherwise.
First drafts are due Feb. 21. A few sentences is all that’s necessary, and they should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at the museum, which is at the corner of 31st Street and West Second Avenue.
Will every single story be published? Maybe, maybe not.
“In any case, we’re gathering stories to go with our stuff,” said Carolyn Bowra, director of the museum. Stories will become part of the collection and may be used for anything from exhibits to newsletters.
So whether your memories are of the Silver Spur, Golden Horseshoe, the Town House, the lunch counters at Parson’s Drugstore or Woolworth’s, the New York Bakery or ... share them with the museum.
Postponing their romantic candlelit anniversary dinner until the craziness of Snowdown has passed are Greg and Marilyn Farley and LeRoy and Ellen Williamson.
The answers to the trivia questions are: Scott Graham wrote the mystery novel. I was stuck on current councilors, so Holteen got me on that one. Mancos artist Patsy Davis donated “Semper Fi,” a sculpture honoring the contributions of the search dogs Sept. 11 to the city’s public art collection in 2013.