Arts & Culture in Durango Colorado

Arts & Culture in Durango Colorado

Though set far from the bright lights of the big city, Durango is certainly not devoid of culture. Many residents selected La Plata County specifically for its diversity of activities, amenities, people and ideas, as well as the cohesiveness and caring spirit traditional of most rural communities.

The county is a tri-ethnic community, which embraces Native American, Hispanic,
and Anglo cultures.With the Southern Ute Indian Tribal lands stretching across a portion of La Plata County, residents and visitors have opportunity to participate in annual celebrations and festivals, as well as learn more about the history of these people at the Tribal Museum in Ignacio. With names like Rio de las Animas, Escalante Crossing, San Juan Mountains and Santa Rita Park, Durango’s Hispanic roots are well documented. Still a vibrant part of the community, the culture is celebrated at annual festivals such as Fiesta Days and Cinco de Mayo, and through the arts. Most recently, the Heritage Mural “reCollections”-which salutes Durango’s history and was created by noted Hispanic muralist Judith Baca-was installed adjacent to the Durango Arts Center on 2nd Avenue.

Fort Lewis College alone lends a spirit of progressiveness and youth to the fabric of the region.The acoustically perfect Community Concert Hall, modeled after New York’s Carnegie Hall, presents a spectrum of musical offerings, from traditional to cutting
edge.The college Art Center showcases local as well as national artists and artisans, and the prestigious faculty reaches out into the community through lectures, seminars and more.

Music abounds at annual festivals ranging from the internationally renown classical series Music in the Mountains, to the grassroots Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. Live jazz, blues, swing, Celtic, country and rock-it all can be relished in La Plata County.

And when the music isn’t live, an eclectic mix is savored on one of the country’s most revered Public Radio stations, now tuned in internationally through “streaming” on the worldwide web.

From locally roasted coffee beans and gourmet natural foods, to award-winning micro-brewed beer and authentic Mexican pastries, great food is a given in La Plata County. Not a guest leaves the area without citing the amazing plethora of exciting dining establishments, with cuisine ranging from the progressive to the more traditional at restaurants that embrace the area’s ranching tradition. Indeed, La Plata County’s agricultural heritage thrives today through local farmers’ markets and the special “Bounty of our County” a community dinner featuring locally-grown products.

Annually, the La Plata County Fair shines the spotlight on tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers through 4-H Club competitions. The annual Songwriters Expo and the Durango Film Festival celebrates up-andcoming international creative talent.Many
fine artists and photographers have naturally flocked to the region, and their works are featured in galleries scattered throughout the county and in the Durango Arts Center. Author Louis L’Amour called La Plata County home, and many of his classic Western novels were written from room 222 in Durango’s Historic Strater Hotel.

As mentioned, La Plata County’s festivals pay homage to the heritage, and celebrate today as well.From Durango’s Snowdown winter festivities, and the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, to Bayfield’s Sheep Festival and Labor Day Motorcycle Rally, indeed, life is an on-going celebration in La Plata County.