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Durango Arts Center kicks off celebration with parade, fundraiser

Kate Loague

Join the Pozole Parade from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today (Friday). Why a parade? A parade is a public procession meant to arouse excitement and to unite with friends in celebration of a special event or day. Parades are often planned to revere a collective pride in a cultural heritage.

The Pozole Parade is intended to be a prelude to and a fundraiser for the launch of a Festival de los Muertos.

Durango Arts Center has long been a destination for our community to share both process and product of visual and performing arts. As conceived by DAC’s Exhibition Director Peter Hay, the festival is an opportunity, as a community center, to welcome our Latino neighbors to DAC and for all our residents to embrace a vibrant heritage while discovering the authentic intricacies of the holiday.

On Nov. 1, the Barbara Conrad Gallery will be filled with “ofrendas,” or altars, built by families, Durango School District 9-R classes and other groups or individuals in memory of deceased relatives or other beloved personalities. Altars, designed from the heart, are elaborate works of art. Through the perspective and generous sharing of Wendolyne Omana, DAC’s altar makers discovered the legacy of the holiday and the practice of creating an altar.

This annual festival, in the making for nearly a year with sponsorship by TBK Bank, has been cultivated from a massive community spirit and a united effort. Born of community meetings, performance workshops and art-making opportunities throughout Durango – the process has introduced many Latinos to DAC. Partnerships have been formed and solidified as individuals and families alike have actively contributed to create a festival for all ages. The festival has been a process of local and international engagement; resulting in what promises to be long-term relationships.

DAC will present the contemporary dance troupe Sur Oeste Arte Escenico of Mexico City. The troupe also created a dance for Durango families to perform at the festival.

The international exchange was made possible by La Plata Family Center’s Coalition, which worked with Sur Oeste’s choreography to facilitate the DAC rehearsals. Ballet Folklorico de Durango will present traditional dances from varied states across Mexico. The band A Lifetime to Overcome will be the headliner. Cantera is the festival’s after-party destination.

DAC has created history in the development and launch of the inaugural festival, deserving of a parade. The Pozole Parade was also born of community effort: Throughout the spring and summer, members of the community created ceramic bowls in free workshops at DAC and Colorado Clay.

The people’s soup, pozole, is donated by the these restaurants: Cantera, CJ’s Diner, El Moro, Griego’s, Los Amigos, Macho’s, Nini’s Taqueria, Steamworks Brewery, Zia’s Taqueria.

Tickets will include a handcrafted ceramic bowl, time- and taste-tested pozole, craft beer by Steamworks and entertainment provided by Ballet Folklorico de Durango and the San Diego Latino band Jarabe Mexicano (in partnership with the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College).

DAC is tremendously appreciative to all who have contributed to the success of the parade and festival.

Kate Loague is director of development at Durango Arts Center.