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Arts and Entertainment

Southwest Roundtable announces September’s free events

Susan Marie Frontczak will portray Marie Curie on Sept. 22. (Courtesy of S. Frontzcak)

History Live! Durango celebrates its fourth year of free September programs starting Sept. 3 at The Powerhouse Science Center. The Science Center will welcome HP Newquist, award-winning author, A.I. specialist and founder of The National Guitar Museum. He will compress the 4,000-year history of the guitar and explain why it is the most popular instrument in the world today. It’s a real coup for the Powerhouse to get the New Yorker to come to Durango, and Sept. 3 is the final day of the exhibit.

The Powerhouse event is one of 16 sponsored by what has come to be known as The Humanities Roundtable. Now in its fourth year, the Roundtable’s September project started as a “what-if” idea five years ago.

HP Newquist, director National Guitar Museum, will be at the The Powerhouse Science Center on Sept. 3. (Courtesy of National Guitar Museum)

“Credit goes to Foxie (Florence) Mason and Richard Ballantine,” Shelley Walchak said. Former director of the Pine River Library and Pine River Arts, Walchak was asked to develop a coalition of cultural institutions as a pilot project. “For years, Richard and Foxie both served on the Colorado Humanities Board. Their idea of a Southwest Colorado consortium to advance the humanities started with pooling resources. As a result, the Roundtable emerged and it persisted through the pandemic.”

In 2019, the first History Live! Durango launched in cooperation with Colorado Humanities. It continued for the next two years with online offerings. Now, the Roundtable has 15 partner organizations. The pilot project succeeded and the Roundtable is now an independent organization with a 501(c)(3) designation and a new website:

If you go

WHAT: History Live! Durango, a series of free September events celebrating the humanities in Southwest Colorado.

WHO: Sponsored by The Southwest Colorado Humanities Roundtable, a local consortium of cultural institutions.

WHERE: Various locations.

WHEN: Sept. 3-29.

TICKETS: All events are free.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://swcohumanities.org, call 884-2222, ext. 522, or email darcy@prilibrary.org.

https://swcohumanities.org. Designed by Lisa Marie Jacobs, Oh So Good Digital, the website has up-to-date information about the partners and programs, and it answers the question: Why are the humanities important?

Popular living-history, Chautauqua-style speakers continue to be the core of the program. Two presentations will be given Sept. 22 and 23 by living-history scholar Susan Marie Frontczak. She will appear first as Marie Curie and the next evening as American humorist Erma Bombeck as part of the Fort Lewis College Life-Long Learning lecture series.

Some events require proof of vaccination. Check the Roundtable website for details.


Sept. 3, 2:30-4 p.m.: History and Evolution of the Guitar with National Museum Director presentation. The Powerhouse Science Center.

Sept. 7, 6-7:30 p.m.: The KKK in 1920s Bayfield. Pine River Library, Bayfield.

Sept. 8, 3-8 p.m.: Gala Community Picnic at The Old Fort, Hesperus, with tours, talks. FLC Life-long Learning.

Sept. 9, 4-5 p.m.: History of the Hula. Durango Public Library.

Sept. 10, 1-2 p.m.: Coal – The Other Black Gold, online presentation. The Animas Museum.

Sept. 13, 5:30-7 p.m.: Exhibit tour: As Seeds We Grow, FLC Center of Southwest Studies.

Sept. 14, 7-9 p.m.: The Chaco Solstice Project. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society.

Sept. 15, 7-8:30 p.m.: Sunsets, Suburbs, or The Sublime. Which West is Yours? Judith Reynolds. FLC Life-Long-Learning.

Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-noon: Ancient Life Ways Workshop. Mary Weahkee. Southern Ute Cultural Center.

Sept. 17, 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.: Sen. Henry Teller’s Whistlestop Tour, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.

Sept. 18, 3-5 p.m.: A brief History of Ragtime and Jazz, Adam Swanson, Pine River Arts.

Sept. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.: Whole Histories: Missing Stories, a community panel at Maria’s Bookshop.

Sept. 22, 7-8:30 p.m.: Chautauqua portrayal of Marie Curie. FLC Life-Long Learning.

Sept. 23, 7-8:30 p.m.: Chautauqua portrayal of Erma Bombeck. FLC Life-Long Learning.

Sept. 28, 6-7:30 p.m.: Historic Use of Horses, Mules, and Burros by Liz Francisco, San Juan National Forest at Pine River Library.

Sept. 29, 7-8:30 p.m.: Bonanza! Music of the American West by Linda Mack Berven. FLC Life-Long Learning.