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Annual festival’s artsy typeface can lead cats astray

At the Durango Arts Center, flourishes in the typeface for “Arts” can be interpreted as “Cats,” recalling a different typographic trick in which police cruisers appear to say “pouce.”

My husband saw the printed program in the paper and wondered aloud about the “Durango Autumn Cats Festival.” The word “Arts” was spelled with flourishing letters, making it look like “Cats.” What up with that? – Marilyn

The best part about the annual Durango Autumn “Cats” Festival? It proudly welcomes dogs.

Thus, no one can ever say this town isn’t inclusive. At least when it comes to pets.

Back to the question of typography, you can squint and see “cats” in the flourished font of “arts.”

However, consider that the festival has flourished for 24 years without anyone making catty remarks about the logo.

You’ll have to eliminate enthusiasm for felines.

In other words, scratch cat fervor.

(That one really put the “ow” in meow!)

Atypical typography has made its mark in the past. Think back to 2009, when the Durango Police Department rolled out a new look.

Several people saw a word other than POLICE on the sides of vehicles. They saw “POUCE.”

The L and I became a U thanks to all capitals, slanted type and tight kerning.

In any case, this shows how typeface embellishment can cause red-face embarrassment.

As for the Durango Autumn Arts/Cats Festival, it was the cat’s pajamas, according to organizers. The shindig is the Arts Center’s largest fundraiser.

Some 90 booths on East Second Avenue featured paintings, sculptures, ceramics, fabric and more. Two stages offered 20 hours of live performances, and more than 100 volunteers kept things going.

“So it kind of was a ‘cats’ festival,” admitted one staffer. “There was a lot of herding cats.”


Our modest neighborhood was not included in the fancy Parade of Homes. Oh well. Then we had an idea, inspired by a nearby house with a great Elvis gnome in the yard. Why not have the Parade of Gnomes? – Trolling for an Answer

Action Line generally eschews statues. But a large, rusted-steel T-Rex dinosaur for sale at the uptown Pagosa Springs strip mall was mighty tempting.

“Wouldn’t that look cool in the back yard?” To which Mrs. Action Line raised her eyebrows and offered The Look.

Mrs. Action Line can say a lot without uttering a word. And so the trip to Denver continued without further decorative folly.

Be that as it may, the Parade of Homes is organized by our top-notch Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado.

We asked Katie Middleton, executive officer, if the home builders would be interested in a Parade of Gnomes.

“It’s certainly an intriguing concept,” Katie said. “But our focus is supporting the local home-building industry, so this might be a better project for the gardening community.”

We then beseeched the Durango Botanical Society. Could the area’s most passionate gardeners organize a Parade of Gnomes?

“Some people enjoy having gnomes their gardens, but the society’s mission is to promote plants rather than concrete,” Cindy Smart, executive director, said with a chuckle. “We’re really more into loam than gnomes.”

Cindy pointed out that small trees can be “living statues” in the garden, and it just so happens that the botanical society is dedicating the Miniature Tree and Conifer Garden from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday at the Durango Public Library.

Enjoy coffee, treats, tours and drawings, with a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. For more information and to RSVP, visit DurangoBotanicalSociety.com.

And if you want a gnome tome, the library has 10 books featuring the diminutive subject.

They’re probably a short read.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you put an elf statue on the stove and start singing “Gnome, Gnome on the Range.”

This story has been updated to correct the day for the dedication of the Miniature Tree and Conifer Garden.

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