Culture Abounds in Durango
The high desert mountain community of Durango, CO is rooted in southwestern culture and heritage.
With over 20 nonprofits dedicated to arts activities, a wide array of galleries, performance venues and museums, a million dollar public art collection and the bevy of artists and creative entrepreneurs who make Durango their home, culture not only permeates Durango, it defines it.
Whether you are looking to explore mainstream trends or something off the beaten path, Durango offers a unique mix of opportunities for all.
Artists, Galleries & Museums
Durango boasts notable artists who are drawn here with a passion for collaboration, creative dialogue and the ability to innovate. Exhibition venues include the community’s hub for visual and performing arts, the Durango Arts Center, to the dozens of galleries featuring contemporary works, photography, fine art craft jewelry and traditional Native American artisans. In addition to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, history lovers will enjoy exploring the informative exhibits of the Animas Museum, Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College and the Powerhouse Science Center.
Durango’s ever-growing public art collection contributes to the city’s visual character, history, and social and economic vitality, with over 30 thought-provoking artworks installed in our local parks, along main streets and inside civic buildings.
Interested in viewing the public art pieces? Using your smartphone, download the Tour Durango app to set you on a walking tour of the collection.
Performing Arts & Music
The Durango Arts Center, Merely Players, Henry Strater Theatre, Fort Lewis College and Durango High School each produce dynamic theatre seasons that enliven audiences with musicals, dramas and Broadway hits that have been known to propel local actors to national careers. For the more avant-garde tastes, 20Moons is a contemporary group that blends music, dance, theatre and visual art in engaging performances.
Durango has a robust music scene with local bands in western, jazz and rock genres, as well as the classical regional orchestra, San Juan Symphony, traditional a cappella in the form of the Durango Barbershoppers and the Durango Choral Society. The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College hosts national performers in music, dance, comedy and more. Stillwater Music and iAM Music provide opportunities for music education and ongoing professional development through training and performing bands.
For nearly every creative medium, Durango has developed a festival to showcase it. The Durango Independent Film Festival, Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, Music in the Mountains, Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Durango Arts Center’s Autumn Arts and 10-Minute Play Festivals all bring an immersive experience.
Beyond what is shared here, the best way to experience Durango’s unique and vibrant cultural offerings is to get out and explore the community. No matter what time of year you arrive, Durango is excited to greet you with a concert, performance, exhibit and so much more.
For information about year-round exhibits, theatre, arts education and more at the Durango Arts Center, visit www.durangoarts.org.
Cristie Scott is the executive director of the Durango Arts Center and chairwoman of the Durango Public Art Commission.