The year is fresh, which prompts the leaders in every industry to ask the Magic 8 Ball the million-dollar question: What’s going to happen? Nobody really knows, but some people make excellent guesses.
I attended the recent Southwest Economic Outlook event at Fort Lewis College and learned about supply chain issues, tourism, housing and resources. If we are going to be a welcoming place for industry where people find jobs, we need to offer housing that workers can afford, as well as accessible health care while keeping our eyes on the big picture with respect to being good stewards of the planet. At the end of the day, the quality of life is what attracts people to this place. It’s a tall order.
All of the data swirled in my mind and I settled into the notion that we need to be mindful of keeping smart, creative people in Durango. Of course, by this I am including the artists. The term “brain drain” gets tossed around a lot in college towns. Brain drain is what happens when you provide education locally but then the talent is recruited elsewhere because of more attractive prospects. I’ve known plenty of people at peak earning age who left Durango for better music gigs, higher paying jobs, more clientele and deeper hiring pools.
It’s possible that you walk by the artistic keystones of our community on a regular basis: The Durango Arts Center, the Powerhouse, the Smiley Building, Studio &, iAM MUSIC Institute, Stillwater, Jimmy’s Music, Animas City Theatre, the Art Supply House, Create Art & Tea, Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts, Sorrel Sky and others. Other touchstones are office-based but hold immense talent and inspiration for us: Music in the Mountains, San Juan Symphony, the Durango Choir. There are so many more. When you can, give a tip o’ the hat to them, as they’ve paid their utility bills, kept their staff in place, recruited volunteers, maintained their businesses and gave a thousand fold as much to the people in our community through their inspiring gifts and commitment to their craft. Every single one of these agencies has survived the past few tumultuous years, and it is not by accident. Creative people are survivors because they know how to regain perspective through a challenging situation and find a successful way through it. It’s easy to give up a dream to pay the bills. But these folks haven’t given up. They are making it happen and they deserve the love and support of our community.
The 2021 study by the ACPSA showed that, “the production of arts and cultural goods and services in the U.S. added 4.3% directly to the nation’s GDP, for a total approaching a trillion dollars ($919.7 billion). This amount remains greater than the value added by such industries as construction, transportation and warehousing, mining, and agriculture.” In Colorado alone, the NASAA data shows that we have over 97,000 jobs in the arts and culture sector.
Arts and culture drive our local economy. We need to keep up this good work. People who work in the arts are immensely important to the future of Durango. They teach our children, volunteer, inspire us and they perform – literally and economically – for us. They express the things that need to be said, artfully and in a way that often unifies us through song or through a shared vision. This is what we need, especially now. So what’s the forecast? There is good reason for optimism. We are looking at sunny days ... and a very good chance of lightning bolts of inspiration.
Coming up next at the Durango Arts Center:
- Friday Night Improv with Mary & Cindy: 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $10-$15.
- Kid’s Snowdown Follies Variety Show: 7 p.m. Jan. 20; 2 and 7 p.m. Jan. 21. Tickets $15/$10.
- Durango Snowdown Adult Follies Performances*: Jan. 27-Feb. 4, various show dates/times. (*DAC does not sell tickets for this event, check out snowdownfollies.org/tickets.)
- Theater Season Passes: $70-$285.
- Pots & Pints: 4:30-6 pm. every Friday. $30.
- Monday Middle/High School weekly after school art: 4-5:30 p.m. Ten classes, $225.
- Tuesday second-fifth grade weekly after school art: 3:30-5 p.m. Ten classes, $225.
- Wednesday second-fifth grade weekly after school art: 3:30-5 p.m. Ten classes, $225.
- Mud Day Madness, begins March 27: 6:30-8:30 p.m. $325.
- Figure Drawing with live model, begins March 28: 6-8 p.m. Ten classes, $225.
- Art of Painting, begins March 29: 10 a.m.-noon, $250.
- Magical Art & Happiness adult art classes begin, March 31: 6-8 p.m., six weeks, $200.
- The Artisan’s Market: open noon-6 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday.
Questions? Email email@example.com
Donate, become a member for discounts and to be a patron of the arts, register for classes, buy tickets, and keep in touch at DurangoArts.org.
Brenda Macon has been executive director of Durango Arts Center since 2018. Her background includes executive leadership training, business and art instruction. She celebrates the inspiration, joy and meaningful engagement that the arts bring to our town.