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Durango celebrates, supports women in the arts

Kristin Skye-Hoffman

Next month is Women’s History Month, and the way our political climate is turning, it could not have come at a more opportune time.

When we take into consideration the massive results that the #MeToo movement is generating, it is hard to deny that old ways are dying hard and the future is most certainly female. This is excellent news, and what is especially exciting to me, a terribly new resident of Durango, is that this town is well ahead of the curve, especially in my field, the performing arts.

In Durango, most of the theatrical leadership positions are held by women. Mona Wood-Patterson is artistic director of Merely Players and directs all of their productions, a longtime hub of the performance art community in Durango. Miriam Morgan is the excellent director of Durango Dance, with a staff of amazing dance artists who are all women. Dr. Ginny Davis heads up the Fort Lewis College Theatre Department and staffs it with the likes of Felicia Meyer, Dr. Amy Gilley, Denise Leslie and on and on.

In fact, each and every production produced by the Durango Arts Center this season will be directed by a woman! “Next to Normal” will be lead by Theresa Carson; “Suessical” will be directed by Emily Simpson Grandt; and I have the great pleasure to be directing “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” which will open March 2.

This is an enormous accomplishment, Durango! In a time when women playwrights, directors and designers receive fewer than 20 percent of the professional production opportunities nationwide, we are cutting into the average in a wonderful way. Congratulations, Durango! You love, celebrate and support powerful women in the arts. Keep it up and come out to see the productions.

If you want to be extra-supportive as soon as possible, buy tickets to the March 7 performance of “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” at DAC. That night, all proceeds go to the Durango Women’s Resource Center. The $40 ticket includes a glass of champagne and some wedding cake. Come wearing your favorite bridesmaids dress for extra fun. (Both men and women are encouraged to attend.)

As a transplant from New York, a city that takes pride in the struggle it offers artists, I can’t tell you what a breath of fresh air it is to find a professional home in a town that sees women artists and boosts them up. Happy Women’s History Month, Durango.

Kristin Skye Hoffmann is artistic director for Durango Arts Center.