Saturday in the park with Friends of the Arts

Cindy Cortese, left, and Judy Fairchild, right, admire a piece of art created by Kristi Nelson Cohen, center, at the Durango Friends of the Arts’ Artists Market, which was held Saturday at Santa Rita Park. Cohen donated all her proceeds to DFA. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Caroline Todd

Cindy Cortese, left, and Judy Fairchild, right, admire a piece of art created by Kristi Nelson Cohen, center, at the Durango Friends of the Arts’ Artists Market, which was held Saturday at Santa Rita Park. Cohen donated all her proceeds to DFA.

The Durango Friends of the Arts did it again, creating a perfect summer day in the park.

On Saturday, the organization held its second annual Artists Market at Santa Rita Park, to the delight of artists and art lovers alike. About 500 people stopped by to browse and buy from 34 artists including Jane Mercer, Fran Mayfield, Jim Baumgardt, Marsha Franklin, Janet Greenwall and Mary Orsini.

All of the artists donated 25 percent of their proceeds to Durango Friends of the Arts.

The Durango Barbershoppers and musicians from the Stillwater Foundation provided live musical entertainment. The Stillwater Foundation is one of DFA’s grant recipients, so that was a perfect match.

Boars Head Meat, The Chip Peddler, Zuberfizz, DoubleTree Hotel, Bread, both south and north City Markets, Albertsons and Walmart donated food, beverages and cookies (of course!) to keep shoppers fueled. Leftovers went to Manna Soup Kitchen.

JoAnn Trimberger served as the chairwoman, with committee members Susie Ammann, Nancy Bennett, Nancy Macho, Debbie Rowe, Pat Dworkin, Joanie Thomas and Caroline Todd pitching in. And of course, on the day of the event, a lot of other members were on hand to keep the event going.

Special mention goes to the husbands, who don’t always get the credit they deserve. Tom Trimberger, Dan Ammann, Mike Todd and Mike Bennett carted stuff, set up tents for vendors and helped many of them break down and carry the unsold products back to their cars.

Once again, Susie Ammann with the able assistance of Cindy Cortese, kept the kids entertained with art projects so parents could shop at their leisure.

Durango Friends of the Arts is one of my favorite organizations. In a world where there are no de Medicis and royalty to serve as art patrons, DFA fills that role in our community. They hold events both large and small all year long to raise funds for artists and arts organizations, much of which goes to art education in the schools.

And they have a lot of fun doing it. Strong friendships are formed, much laughter is had, and it’s all in the name of helping our arts community thrive.

Bravo, DFA members!

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Wishing for ice cream cakes for their hot summer birthdays are Linda Moore, Neil Cheesewright, Laura Cartwright, Walter Dear, Derrill Macho, Jessica Shockley, Karen Anesi, Karen Leavitt, Barry Longwell, Louise White (bowler extraordinaire!), Tom McMillen, Barbara Cornelius, Beth Walker, Eric Sparks, Eva McCleery, Suzanne Cash, Doc Stanton, Cheryl Clay, Dana James, Geni Miller-Parker, Joanne McKnight, Morgan Fallace, James Lopez, Jaden Page, Lindsay Emery, Grace Clair, Sam Eggleston, Thomas Huber, Barry Stone, Roni Turner and Louise Vogel.

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All of our focus is on the West Fork Fire Complex right now, but it’s important not to forget our neighbors in Oklahoma who are struggling to rebuild an entire community.

The La Plata Quilters Guild has taken on Project Oklahoma to warm the hearts of the folks in Moore, Okla., the town that was hit with such devastation. Other groups had stepped up to donate quilts for children and pillowcases, but no one was yet addressing the needs of adults, both those affected by the disaster and the first responders.

Over the next several months, guild members will be making quilts to be shipped to a quilt store in Oklahoma, which has agreed to serve as the distribution point.

A guild member from Farmington, Christy Lewis, took the first seven handmade quilts down to the Stitchin’ Post in Oklahoma City in early June. She got out just ahead of the next round of tornadoes and headed on to Tulsa.

Holli Pfau is coordinating the effort, and the guild welcomes any donations of quilts, fabric and funding, particularly for shipping costs.

Contact Pfau at 385-5624 or gladdogs@durango.net to learn more.

There is nothing more touching than knowing that someone you have never met, from a community hundreds of miles away, cared enough to make a quilt to show they were thinking of you in your hard times.

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Apparently, the plaza at the Durango Discovery Museum is the place to see and be seen this summer. There are not one but two fundraisers on the schedule there this week.

From 5 to 8 p.m. today, the High Country Gardeners are hosting a Garden Birdhouse Gala, featuring a silent auction of birdhouses created by artists galore, including Maureen May, Amy Felker and Miki Harder. Admission is free, and appetizers, desserts, a special garden cocktail and live music will make it festive.

Proceeds will go to museum landscape and beautification.

Then, on Saturday, Alternative Horizons is holding its eighth annual Wine and Music Fest. This is always a relaxed evening of noshing, tasting some fine wines and enjoying live music while the Animas River flows by. And helping people create lives safe from domestic violence makes it all a guilt-free indulgence.

The event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $35.

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My colleague Ted Holteen already wrote a rave review of Merely Players’ production of “39 Steps,” which continues its run through this weekend. I went Saturday night, and all I can say is “Wow!”

I have had a lifelong love of theater and have seen a number of Broadway and off-Broadway shows. This performance was genius on all levels, from Mona Wood-Patterson’s direction to Charles Ford’s technical direction and design.

“W-P” as she’s called, brought in four former students from her years as the theater maven at Durango High School, all of whom are more polished after years of theater training at college and in the theater, and they had fun. Lots of fun, exhausting fun, as it was only 2½ weeks from the start of rehearsals to opening night.

Kudos to Misha Fristensky, whose parents, Frank and Victoria Fristensky, were in the audience the same night I was and couldn’t have been more proud; and Landon Newton, who played numerous characters and were astonishing. Elizabeth Gray and Austin Hohnke were both spot on, JoAnn Nevils continued with her costuming brilliance and everyone behind the scenes, who had endless cues, never missed a beat.

Thank you all for an evening of theater I will never forget.

The show sold out in four hours after Holteen’s review ran, but a few seats were available Saturday night because of cancellations. It might pay to show up and check before show time to see if you can squeeze in.

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Here’s wishing happy anniversary for some of the last of the June crop of anniversaries to Derrill and Nancy Macho, Mark and Merrillee Fleming, Larry and Beverly Brown, Cory and Gretchen Foster, Robert and Jayne Griffith, Phil and Stephanie Huss, John and Chris Serwe, Ernie and Mary Ann Gregg, Walter and Julia Jackson, Don and Lori Hammond, Richard and Debra Pene, Bryan and Janet McCoy and Jeff and Don Wince.

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neighbors@durangoherald.com