Annual festival is about the sacred, not religious

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

“Angels Sleeping”, a watercolor painting by Lee Ann Costello is part of The Sacred Arts Festival show ICON.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

For an event that’s held in a church, the Sacred Arts Festival is refreshingly nonreligious.

“It’s for flinging the doors open for everybody,” said C. Scott Hagler, who dreamed up the festival seven years ago as the musical director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The Sacred Arts Festival is an offshoot of the nonprofit 3rd Ave. Arts, which Hagler also founded.

Nonreligious doesn’t mean nonspiritual. The visual and performing artists of the festival are expected to draw their inspiration from whatever denomination, creed or belief system they choose.

“The arts are a place where people of different heritage, languages and beliefs can find common ground and a place for appreciation and dialog. Isn’t that what the whole world needs right now?” Hagler said.

The Sacred Arts Festival will begin tonight with the one event that lasts all month. ICON is an art exhibit at St. Mark’s with works by 40 local and regional artists.

Also this weekend will be “Poetry for the Spirit” reading Saturday. The opening weekend will conclude Sunday with “Music for Sacred Spaces,” featuring the work of eight songwriters, composers and arrangers who write sacred music for any faith.

Events, some free and others not, will continue for the next two weekends.

Highlights will include a trunk showing of the works of Santa Fe santero Charles Carrillo, who also will offer an “Introduction to Retablo Painting workshop,” a beginning adult drum circle by Fort Lewis College professor Jonathan Latta and a talk and hands-on workshop on Navajo jewelry by Venaya Yazzie. Preregistration is required for the workshops.

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