10th annual Main Avenue Arts
Festival takes off this weekend
|Community members peruse
some of the offerings at a past festival./Photo courtesy
the Durango Arts Center.
Marcel Proust wrote, “Thanks to art,
instead of seeing a single world, our own, we see it multiply
until we have before us as many worlds as there are original
artists.” This weekend is Durango’s opportunity
to view the worlds of many artists at the 10th annual
Main Avenue Arts Festival.
Nearly 100 artists from across the country will converge
upon Durango this Saturday and Sunday to showcase and
sell their works during the Durango Arts Center-sponsored
event. The festival will feature everything from tiles
and textiles, paintings and jewelry, to live music, a
food and beer garden, and a children’s activity
area called the “Creation Station.”
in perfect timing for the 10-year anniversary, the beer
and wine area will extend between Eighth and Ninth streets,
creating an entire block where festival goers can take
in live music while relaxing at tables.
Jules Masterjohn, festival coordinator, said the 10-year
anniversary is an important milestone for the festival.
“I think it indicates the festival has roots,”
she said. “It’s here to stay, and people can
look forward to it for another 10 years.”
Masterjohn said that, like other festivals in years past,
this one will feature art from Durango and the Four Corners
as well as around the country. The Main Avenue Arts Festival
is also a juried show, which means the artists are competing
for prizes. Awards will be given for best of show in both
arts and crafts, and local jewelry designer Julie Shaw
sponsors two awards for emerging artists and craftspeople.
The members of the jury are Shaw; Rita Cordalis, gallery
director at Fort Lewis College; and Amy Wendlind, adjunct
professor in design at FLC.
|Ceramic boxes by Durango artist
Pedolsky,above, and tiles by Dolores
artist Steve Baranowski, below, are
just a couple of the pieces that will be
offered at this year’s Main Avenue
Arts Festival./Photos courtesy the
Durango Arts Center.
These three women were also responsible for selecting
the artists for the festival. Of 153 applicants, about
95 were accepted, and 12 were selected as alternates,
Local artist Pat Smiley will be showcasing her handmade
leather bags at this year’s festival, her sixth
appearance. She said the level of artistry is one of the
strengths of the Main Avenue Arts Festival.
“I like this festival,” said Smiley, who
attends 18 to 20 other juried festivals around the country
each year. “This one has an integrity about it –
the priority is quality over the number of artists. I
don’t know if Jules knows this, but they’re
renowned for that among other artists.”
Smiley also said that the Main Avenue Festival stands
out for being well organized.
“It’s not easy to do a festival on a main
street,” she said.
Ceramics artist Lisa Pedolsky, who will be making her
second festival appearance this year, agreed with Smiley
about the festival’s caliber.
“It’s nice to find a show of this quality
to participate in, in Durango,” she said.
Tracey Belt, who makes jewelry, said she will participate
in the festival this year for the first time because the
community has been so supportive of her art.
“I want to get some feedback from folks in town
and also tourists,” Belt said.
Her necklaces, earrings and other jewelry are sold in
the gallery shop at the Durango Arts Center, which she
says is an asset to the local artistic community.
“They care about the art and give artists an opportunity
to show their work, whereas in a larger city it would
be a lot harder to do,” Belt said.
In turn, Masterjohn said the center’s festival
is well supported by the community, from sponsors and
donations to the 60 volunteers who will work throughout
the weekend. The festival also generates money for the
Arts Center through booth fees and merchandise sales.
And this year, a percentage of proceeds from beer sales
also will be contributed to the center.
The festival should generate about $11,000 for the center,
which is needed for the general fund, Masterjohn said.
“Grant money goes to a lot of things, but rarely
for your utilities,” she said.
But the primary goal of the Main Avenue Arts Festival
is to bring superior art to the community – and
have fun in the process, Masterjohn said.
“We want to have a fun and safe festival,”
Masterjohn said, adding that so far, the festival has
lived up to her expectations. “It’s pretty
fun for me to plan a big party for the community.”