The Durango Arts Center enriches the community through innovative visual and performing art, and arts education. DAC advances appreciation and participation in the arts as a cultural leader in the region.
The Durango Arts Center strives to be a cultural destination and a creative catalyst, inspiring our community through engagement in the arts.
The need: DAC is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that owns and operates its own building, inclusive of mortgage payments, insurance, repairs and utilities. In the absence of consistent major public funding, DAC is grateful to receive support through the generosity of its community members, foundation grants, Colorado Creative Industries, corporate sponsorships and a strategic business plan of earned revenue activities (e.g., admissions, workshop fees, artwork sales). Membership donations, individual contributions and sponsorship/grant support assist in advancing the spirit of creativity that enriches our community.
DAC is housed in a 14,400 sq. ft.,1920's building, originally a car dealership, re-envisioned today with three galleries, a community theater, arts library, arts education studio, gift shop, and dance studio space. To optimize the communal facility use, DAC rents gallery, theater and office space to community organizations for a variety of uses, from fundraisers to film festivals, for a total of over 70 local and regional events each year. The building is free and open to the public over 300 days a year. As it is now 100 years old, it requires constant 'feeding and care' for upkeep and maintenance.
A brief history: Originating as the Durango Fine Arts Council in 1966, the Council and the Durango Artists Association merged to form the Durango Arts Center (DAC) in 1973. Today, the Durango Arts Center offers visual and performing arts programs rich in artistic merit, made intentionally accessible for the benefit of children youth and adults. The organization has grown strategically, providing a diverse slate of cultural offerings for all ages year-round. Each year, DAC welcomes art patrons and cultural tourists to over 80 public events, including gallery exhibits, workshops (for children, youth and adults), theatre performances, art lectures and festivals.
Durango as been noted in published materials as one of the 100 "Best Small towns in America," and DAC aspires toward excellence as the "best small town art center in America," featuring innovative, high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining visual and performing arts, enriching the cultural fabric of southwestern Colorado. For 53 years, DAC has built its reputation as a local arts industry leader, working diligently to ensure that the arts continue to thrive in the Four Corners region and beyond.
Economic impact of Arts & Culture in Durango:
DAC hosts the annual Durango Autumn Arts Festival. Now in its 25th year, it is the largest outdoor festival of its kind in the region. A recent economic impact statement showed that this festival generates over $500,000 in revenue to local hoteliers, retailers and restaurants in a mere two-day period.
In 2016-17, the Durango Arts Center gladly worked with the City of Durango, Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, and Durango Choral Society in leading the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, a national study capturing the economic impact of nonprofit and public arts and cultural organizations and their audiences. A total of 26 Durango nonprofits participated in the local study, and results revealed that organizations and their audiences generate a total of $18.1 million in economic activity and support 602 FTE jobs. Arts & culture nonprofits also return $1.45 million in state and local tax revenues. This is valuable economic activity that infuses vital income into area restaurants, hotels, retail stores and other local businesses. What's more, Durango tracks over 3 times higher than the median economic impact of similar study regions (populations less than 50,000). Unsurprisingly, the depth of cultural opportunities in our community, similar to our recreation offerings, is well above national average! The study provides definitive evidence that whether serving the local community or out-of-town visitors, a vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses and the City of Durango thrive.
DAC is a major contributor to the local creative economy, having paid over $100,000 in artwork sale commissions, artistMicroGrants and residencies, and as compensation to artists, faculty, performers and cultural presenters.
The arts are a valid contributor to our economy and quality of life alongside our community partners in health and human services. On a practical level, sustaining local arts & culture appeals to out-of-area visitors, raises sales tax revenues and enhances our vibrancy as a dynamic destination.
Sourced from DAC's 2016 Strategic Plan update:
"In the last year several of the exhibits have had a profound effect on people, me included. The gallery delivers more than any other area venue for contemporary arts…varied, unique, local representation with a global perspective."
"My children love every minute of after school visual art enrichment classes and summer camps. The programs are stellar!"
"DAC has been instrumental in creating an innovative and active theatre scene in Durango!"
"The theatre program for kids [DAC Applause] has had a profound influence on the youth of our community."
Sourced from GreatNonprofits.org:
"Check out the theater offerings (get the popcorn) and be sure to attend gallery openings (Durango mingling at its best). The annual 10-Minute Play Festival, in all its iterations, is always fun and entertaining talent in play writing and acting on stage in a variety of forms."
"I love the fact that even at my age. I am able to learn and grow as an actor/singer through my work on the DAC stage. I have loved seeing the young people evolve as they too progress through several different productions and performing arts training camps."
"DAC has a variety of volunteer roles (ex. assisting as a receptionist in the gallery, an usher in the theater, or joining a cadre of art education docents) each of which offers a wonderful opportunity to be engaged with people in the milieu of art. "
"I have had quite a few great experiences with the Durango Arts center in the past year. Each month there is a great new exhibit many including local and regional artists. There are classes for all age groups available on a very regular basis. The theatre productions included adorable "kid" plays and also the controversial "8-the reindeer monologues." The Winter Solstice Exhibit and Sale provided a wonderful collection of local art work available for the holiday giving season. I must add I am crazy excited about seeing my all time favorite bluegrass performer at DAC this year. I have seen him quite a few times in much larger venues, and I am tickled that he will be here in the cozy Durango Arts Center theatre!!! The Durango Arts Center is a real gift for this community!!!!!!"
"The Durango Arts Center is a vital non-profit with a beautiful gallery that offers local and national shows, an intimate theater for theatre and musical performances, and an amazing education program that serves kids, teens, and adults. Durango is very lucky to have this place!"
"Class organization, pace and length all met my expectations. The facilities and studio area are great assets - I vow to take more classes especially ones taught by this instructor."
"My daughter has learned and experienced an immeasurable amount about theater, communication, responsibility, ensemble work and self discipline in DAC Applause! This is something the kids don't get in school. DAC is a true shining star in the Durango landscape."