Summer school is in session at Arts Center

In my job at the Durango Arts Center, I’m constantly pondering how to best describe who we are and what we do as an organization in a streamlined process and brand identity.

There always is so much going on that it can sometimes seem a little perplexing, as I have often realized when trying to explain to people interested in learning about DAC who wonder what we do.

So let’s do some demystifying ...

DAC, as a community-supported nonprofit, brings people together to explore and engage in arts and culture by fostering creative expression through in-house exhibitions, theater and performing arts and educational programs for all ages and abilities. This translates to our tagline: “Making art happen. Supporting creative dialogue. Enriching lives.”

The Barbara Conrad Gallery is the best-known branch of DAC, yet many remain unaware of the smaller Art Library gallery space upstairs. Not only is local and national artists’ work installed on a bimonthly schedule, but there also are several hundred periodicals and volumes of fine art reproductions for loan.

After a huge 2012 launch, DAC Theater is becoming better known for producing and hosting favorite acts and more edgy non-traditional performances. The 2013 season offers a jam-packed lineup for great community theater with our Neil Simon Summer and the famous 10-Minute Play Festival in September and “Cabaret” on the horizon in October.

Now to demystify one of the most important sides of DAC – education. The arts center offers performing and visual arts education for children, teens and adults. These are year-round programs, as well as artist lectures and art workshops for the Education Studio and local schools. In 2011, DAC’s education programs served 432 children, 175 youths and 250 adults. The 2012 summer program included 13 kids-oriented classes (for 2- to 12-year-olds) and five programs for teens and adults. This summer’s curriculum offers more than 10 different visual and performing arts camps for kids and young adults. There also is a wide range of adult workshops and classes in conjunction with rotating gallery exhibits.

The popular Girls Opportunities through Arts & Leadership program allows aspiring teenage girls to empower themselves and each other through an eight-day exploration of art and personal reflection. The same goes for Devised Theater, a DAC after-school performing arts class students are at the center of the creative process and serve as playwrights and actors, and stage their production in a final performance.

Artistic director and theater manager Theresa Carson and education coordinator Sandra Butler are beginning to concoct their 2013 fall and winter art class schedule, kicking off the season with a Children’s Circus Art class in September and the return of the Adult Theater Workshops – The Saturday Series.

I hope you leave this with more clarity on what DAC has to offer as well as inspiration to follow any creative instinct. It’s never too early or late to release your inner artist. More information on all offerings is available at Elsa Jagniecki is the marketing coordinator at Durango Arts Center.

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