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Arts and Entertainment

In defense of the dark arts: A unique upcoming exhibit

Brenda Macon

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” – Bansky

For some, sweater weather means hot cocoa, extra blankets and being cozy. For others, it means the spooky stuff is front and center and it’s time to let the shadows out. Mr. B (Ben Dukeminier) is the DAC’s Visual Art & Gallery assistant director, and he has a vision for an exhibit unlike anything Durango has ever seen. You’re invited. But it’s not an invitation to take lightly.

“Durango is the land of unbridled positivity. Outdoor activities, happy times. But in life, we experience both light and dark, good and bad. Where is the back end of all of this sunshine?” Mr. B is seeking art for the upcoming exhibit: The Night Gallery. What’s in it? Symbolism, surrealism, anything that makes people think.

Mr. B likes to poke fun at the fact that life is like a mandala that gets tossed in the river. Quoting Monty Python: “Life is a joke, and death is the punchline,” he chides that he is a lover of the depths of the human condition and art is for expressing all of it, not just the pretty parts.

“Our inspiration for this came from needing to celebrate the dark side of art,” he said. “All the things that go bump in the night, that move us to react.” He believes that art is therapy and an opportunity to express ourselves in nonverbal ways – and that we certainly need this now more than ever. “Dig a little deeper. Be critical with your lens. This is a community exhibit so nothing graphic or obscene. Instead, be clever.” This exhibit will provide a platform for “Twilight Zone”-esque interpretation and reflection of the big things we all share: fears, struggles and the appreciation of life, death and the meaning of it all.

“This art should be expressive, needs to tell a story and thoughtfully provoke the viewer to a response.” Artists are servants to the human psyche. This is an opportunity to make art with meaning. What’s stopping you? In the immortal last words of Timothy O’Leary, as he marched onward into the abyss: “Why not?”

Sculptures, small furniture, puppets, clothing, most media are acceptable. Must be professionally presented, ready to hang, and be for sale – artists set their own prices. A community exhibit for all ages to enjoy.

The submission deadline is Sept. 30th. The ere will be a gallery opening from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct 6, and the show will run through Nov. 4.

In the theater
  • “The Odd Couple: The Female Version,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22, 23, 29 and 30; 2 p.m. Sept. 23, 24, 30 and Oct. 1. Tickets $20/$10.
  • Adult Improv Showcase Class, four weekly sessions begin Sept. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; show date Oct. 20. $100/$60 for student, teacher and service discount.
  • 10 Minute PlayFestival, Oct. 13-15.
  • Silent Sundays with Swanson, 2 p.m. Oct. 22.
  • “Rocky Horror Show,” 7 p.m. Oct. 27-29, 31, Nov. 3-5; 10 p.m. Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.
Art classes and gallery events
  • Pots & Pints: Mad Hatter teacups, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 22. $35.
  • Special Arts Week Adult Classes: Intro to Wildlife Photography, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 23; Figure Drawing of Dynamic Dogs, 1 and 3 p.m. Sept. 23.
  • Call to Artists for submissions: “The Night Gallery, A Terrifyingly Creative Community Exhibit,” see website to submit work.
  • Shop the Artisan’s Market, noon-6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.
  • Adult and youth art and theater classes fall online registrations now open.

Email info@durangoarts.org Buy tickets, donate, become a member and register for classes at DurangoArts.org.

Brenda Macon has been executive director of Durango Arts Center since 2018.