Fall can’t stop festival season

Courtesy of Durango Arts Center

Items such as the fine woodworks of Kevin DesPlanques makes the Autumn Arts Festival more of an artisans’ showcase.

By Margaret Hedderman
Special to the Herald

As the weather cools and the summertime traffic slows, 80 artists from as far away as Montana will descend upon East Second Avenue, leaving no doubt that Durango truly is a destination for both artists and art lovers.

The 18th annual Durango Autumn Arts Festival will be a casual and laid-back opportunity to meet new artists and enjoy original works. As in previous years, the festival will feature everything from painting and sculpture to fashion and furniture.

“We have a lot of artists who come quite a distance and have (come) back year after year,” said Maureen May, a Durango Arts Center board member. The arts center sponsors the festival. Some of the returning artists include Lorna Meaden, Nancy Conrad and Esther Sullivan as well as last year’s award winners ceramicist Maggie Beyeler, buckle-maker Tracey Belt, bronze artist Kim Obrzut, metal kinetic artist Frederick Prescott and furniture-maker Kevin DesPlanques.

“It brings a lot of artists together,” said festival coordinator Deb Anderson. “It raises awareness of the arts to our patrons.”

This year’s jurors – Karyn Gabaldon, Joan Levine-Russell and Brian Maxwell – narrowed the potential vendors down from more than 145. Each artist was expected to present all handcrafted, original work – effectively banning mass-produced work from the festival. Though painters may have giclées available, they also must present original pieces.

The result will be a vibrant and eclectic – yet not overwhelming – display of fine arts and crafts.

“I like the intimacy of it,” May said. “It doesn’t take you hours to walk from one end to the next.”

The festival will span 2½ blocks with stages set up for live music each day. This year’s acts will include guitarist Pete Giuliani, singer-songwriter Jill Holly, Ashley Edwards and Jesse Ogle of Hello Dollface, and local jazz act PourquoiPas.

Finally, the Creation Station, organized by Education coordinator Sandra Butler, will provide artistic activities for children both days.


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