Durango, Colorado--When it comes to entertainment and the arts, this Wild West town is no one-trick pony. Durango boasts a thriving and diverse collection of arts: from pottery to poetry, storytelling to sculpture, music to metalwork, theatre to live street performance, visual arts, galleries and much more.
Here’s a sampling of our art-centric events:
• Music in the Mountains, July 9-31, 2011
Deemed as one of the longest running classical music festivals in the southwest, Music in the Mountains is a three and one-half week celebration of music featuring orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music. The summer festival offers a host of concerts and events slated picturesque venues in the spectacular San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. www.musicinthemountains.com
• Durango Independent Film Festival, March2-6, 2011
A juried festival featuring independent feature films, documentaries, animated films, shorts, experimental and new media works. Each year, southwest Colorado's premier showcase for independent film, grows into a deeper, richer experience. It's our love of independent film that brings the festival back, bigger and better. The 2011 theme "This is OUR kind of film festival" is meant to focus on the independent nature of doing it our way, against the mainstream Hollywood mold. www.durangofilm.org
• Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, April 8-10, 2011
The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown is a weekend dedicated to bluegrass music as an American art form. The Meltdown features three unique, intimate main stages, a super jam, barn dance (Durango style), Saturday night Celtdown (for all you closet Celtoids!) and music flowing from bars, restaurants, coffee houses, and downtown streets and sidewalks--all within walking distance. www.durangomeltdown.com
• Showcase of the Arts, September 2011
Showcase of the Arts is Durango’s premier venue to feature the area’s variety of arts and entertainment. The festival was created to share our wealth of arts and cultivate a broader audience for all we have to offer in Durango. This performance, demonstration, workshop, display, showing or exhibit multi-day festival promises something for everyone. http://www.durangoshowcaseofthearts.org
• Durango Cowboy Gathering
A three-day celebration of cowboy culture honors the traditions of working ranch people in the American West with music, poetry, story telling and a motorless parade. The Gathering celebrates the life ways of rural people by creating the “campfire” around which anyone with an interest can come to share in the appreciation of the culture and traditions unique to the West. www.durangocowboygathering.org
Durango is home to a national treasures for Native American studies, Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College and the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum. The Animas Museum traces the birth and history of our mountain town while the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum brings the steam engine’s heritage to life.
The Durango Discovery Museum opening in 2011 is an interactive science + energy center in Durango’s historic Powerhouse with hands-on science + energy exhibits for all ages, historic interpretation exhibits, Sudden Science™ and Camp Discovery. Housed in the country’s oldest surviving coal-fired, steam-generated AC power plant it promises to spark curiosity, ignite imagination and power exploration. www.durangodiscovery.org.
Visitors to the new Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum can expect to gain firsthand experience with Ute culture and tradition opening in June 2011. More than 20 years in planning, the new 52,000-square-foot facility will celebrate the living history of Colorado’s longest continuous residents. Dynamic multi-sensory and interactive exhibitions along with rare artifact collections will be interwoven with texts, photographs, presentations and recorded oral histories – so that the story of the Southern Ute people will always be told and remembered. The museum is located in Ignacio, Colo., headquarters for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, 25 miles southeast of Durango. www.southernutemuseum.org or (970) 563-9583.
Art on Location:
• The Durango Arts Center – a 35-year-old nonprofit organization that is a showcase of our community’s commitment to the arts and an artistic center of influence in the town, offering monthly fine arts exhibits in its galleries featuring local and regional artists, art classes, juried-exhibits and live performances. DAC is the home of The Durango Performing Arts Company as its premier children’s resident theater group providing quality performing arts programming and an intensive summer camp. www.durangoarts.org
• The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College is a state-of-the-art concert hall featuring an amazing array of musical productions including individual performers, dance troupes, opera, musical groups, and Broadway musicals. www.durangoconcerts.com
• The world-renowned Henry Strater Theatre is one of the oldest and most prestigious continually running theatres in Colorado, tallying almost 50 years of quality performances. This intimate and prestigious venue operates year round as a community space and theatre, welcoming live bands from around the nation and professional off-Broadway shows. As featured in National Geographic's ‘Travelers Top Places to Stay 2009!’ www.HenryStraterTheatre.com
• Durango Art Galleries—Home to more than 14 commercial galleries, Center for Southwest Studies and Art Gallery at Fort Lewis College, and two Durango Art Center Galleries. The public participates in the artistic spirit of the town when the Gallery Association hosts their quarterly Gallery Walks as galleries set aside special nights to welcome the public after hours. Locals and visitors enjoy good food and conversation as they stroll the streets and visit the galleries. Artists open their studios for tours during Artist Open Studio.
? Contemporary fine art consisting of fused glass, sculpture, jewelry, watercolor, pastel, oil and mixed media paintings,
? A fascinating treasury of Indian arts, weavings and southwestern works of museum quality due to their authenticity,
? Contemporary western and American Indian artists are represented with sculptures, pottery, baskets and one-of-a-kind home furnishings,
? Fine art photography in both color and black and white with galleries presenting photographs from the local four-corner area and around the world and
? An allure of gold, silver, precious stones and bronze transformed into sculpture and custom jewelry.
• Public Art -- Downtown Durango is dotted with numerous displays of public art. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad stables “Whinny and Friends” a bronze trio of ponies sculpted by Joyce Parkerson. A walk down 2nd Avenue reveals the bronze sculpture work “Puck” by Elizabeth MacQueen and a 20-by-35 foot outdoor mural by Judy Baca--"La Memoria De Nuestra Tierra". Down the street, a visit to the public library reveals Allan Houser’s sculpture “My Children”; a short cruise down the hill to The Durango Herald and you will find “The Basket Dance” by Glenna Goodacre. Enjoy the Animas River as the backdrop for “Parade Formation” by former Fort Lewis College art professor Mick Reber--a 30–by-10 foot steel abstract depicting three horse riders in Santa Rita Park. To commemorate the city’s 125th anniversary, the city commissioned a public artwork by La Plata County artist Bryan Saren. The steel and copper sculpture is made of 125 parts, one for every year the city has been incorporated and is located at the entrance of the Durango City Hall.
Ask the locals or experience it as our guest--there is plenty of art to enjoy and encounter in Durango, Colorado. The claims are accurate and it’s no longer a secret: This Wild West Town is a thriving center for the arts and a “real” art town.
For more information visit www.Durango.org or call (800) 463-8726