Durango Arts and Culture Community

For more information contact:
Durango Area Tourism Office, 802 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301
970-247- 3500, www.durango.org

Durango’s Arts and Cultural Community

Durango, CO--A hidden jewel in the arts and cultural world, over a dozen galleries carry treasures from American Indians, Contemporary Western and Southwestern works of museum-quality art represented with sculptures, pottery, baskets, fine art photography and home furnishings. 

Art on Location

•    The Durango Arts Center – this non-profit is a showcase of our community’s commitment to the visual and performing arts and an artistic center of influence in the town, offering monthly fine arts gallery exhibits featuring local, national and international artists, art classes, juried-exhibits and live performances

•    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 

•    The Strater Hotel houses the world’s largest collection of American Victorian Antiques, many of which decorate the 93 rooms in the hotel.  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!”   

•    Fort Lewis College Theatre—for over 25 years the Department of Theatre at Fort Lewis College has performed a wide variety of plays providing highest quality theatre productions.  

•    The Dance Center – Durango’s center for dance offering ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, salsa, swing, tango and more for people of all ages through classes and performances.

•    Nightly live music -- from classical to acoustic, musicals to street ensembles, dinner theatre to western chuckwagons, saloon crooners to outdoor fiddlers and orchestra to 70’s rock, Durango offers a wide selection of live music in a variety of venues.  

•    Stillwater Foundation -- offers young and adult musicians the opportunity to learn and play original arrangements of global music on traditional and non-traditional instruments such as Caribbean steel drums, African percussion, guitar, bass, keyboard, woodwinds, marimba, vibraphone and many others.

•    San Juan Symphony -- The San Juan Symphony has brought over 40 years of listening enjoyment to thousands of residents and visitors to the Four Corners region. 

•    Durango Art Galleries—Durango is home to more than 14 commercial galleries, the 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. 
Area galleries offer:

  • 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 Corners area and around the world
  • 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, 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.  

Cultural Museums

Durango is home to national treasures for Native American studies, including the Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. 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 Powerhouse Science Center (fromerly Durango Discovery Museum) 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, the museum promises to spark curiosity, ignite imagination and power exploration. 

Economics of Arts in Durango:  Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Economic Impact Study
In 2010, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $9,053,126 in annual economic activity in the Durango area—supporting 309 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $645,000 in local and state government revenues, according to the 2010 Arts & Economic Prosperity IV national economic impact study. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not-for-profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County’s multitude of tourism attractions, events and services.  For more information, visit www.durango.org or call (970) 247-3500.