Creative direction
Artposium mapping its way to Durango

“The Integral Artist,” by Steve Self, was created specifically for the Artposium presentation of teh same name, to be given by Self and Kulu Sadira .

by Jules Masterjohn

Over two months ago, when the Colorado Art Ranch caravan pulled through town, the driver of the nomadic procession made an appeal to a gathering of arts-interested locals. Grant Pound, co-director of the nonprofit organization based out of Arvada, came to the meeting seeking input and suggestions for the “Durango Artposium,” a Colorado Arts Ranch symposium to be hosted in Durango in September. In a meeting with 20-plus creative types, Pound encouraged, “While I can’t promise every idea will be used, it is important to have Durango shape this Artposium.”

Shape it we have. Our creative community has come forward to get behind the Colorado Art Ranch’s vision, mission and values. As the event coordinator, I am inspired by the intelligence, creativity and generosity that are present here. We have signed on eight local presenters to compliment the nationally recognized speakers, all addressing the topic: “Mapping in the Arts: Ways of Seeing.” Five presentations and eight workshops round out this unique gathering of minds.

The event’s featured speaker is award-winning fiction author Peter Turchi. His recent book, Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer is the basis for his entertaining “show and tell” about how maps, real and metaphorical, guide the work of writers. He will also lead a workshop on how to plan and execute a piece of writing by using a map to inspire the artistic process.

The National Geographic maps team of Bill Stoehr, also a painter, and Gavin Maurer, a musician, will share “Down the Rabbit Hole without a Map.” This is an adventure into seeing how maps change the way we view the world.

“Uncharted Territory: Subjective Mapping by Artists” is the presentation topic of New York City gallery director Julie Saul. She will give a curator’s insight into how maps have inspired artistic expression. Saul shows, through images of artists’ work, how maps have been a compelling theme for contemporary artists throughout the 20th century.

To bring a deeper understanding to what artists are up to and contending with, Durangoans Kulu Sadira and Steve Self will pilot participants on a journey into the artistic experience. Their “Integral Artist” presentation, drawn from the philosophy of Ken Wilber, offers a multimedia dialogue on art, artists and the “Integral Map.” They write, “Creativity and aesthetics develop together within our physiology and technology, our shared meaning and social systems, and our inner calling and consciousness.” Their goal is to illuminate the power and possibility of “becoming an optimized artistic agent of the Kosmos.”

“Following the Passage: Mapping a Friendship,” a collaborative performance created specifically for Colorado Art Ranch, is being developed by longtime friends Mary Ellen Long, a Durango-based visual artist, and Grace Cavalieri, an East Coast-based poet and playwright. Joining them is Fort Lewis College theater professor, Kathryn Moller, who is directing the performers. The performance charts Long and Cavalieri’s 43-year friendship through the written and spoken word, and sound and movement. It all takes place within a mixed-media installation created by Long.

One would think that it just doesn’t get any better, yet the brilliance continues. Naturopathic physician and teacher Louise Edwards will lead exercises on how to use creative visualization and life mapping to make positive steps towards one’s goals. This is a hands-on workshop where participants get to “play” with collage materials, cutting and pasting images that represent various aspects of their lives into an integrated, cohesive picture.

Other workshops are intended to get participants outdoors to experience the riches of Durango. Artist Shan Wells, the creator of Durango’s “Moments Project,” will lead a walking tour of the downtown sites while discussing his history-based work of public art. The multi-location installation brings to our attention the history of this place where we live and how it has changed. Wells intends that his work inspire each of us to take an active a role in shaping our town’s future.

Carol Martin, the current chair of Durango’s Public Art Commission, will lead a walking tour of the public sculptures and murals in downtown Durango. She may include some information about the city’s Art Master Plan, which proposes to install 10 permanent and temporary sculptural works along the Animas River trail.

Durango photographer Paul Boyer will lead the interactive workshop, “Photography of Place,” while his literary counterpart, Boulder-based poet Marj Hahne, guides symposium attendees in the “Poetry of Place.” These workshops involve using a map that directs people through downtown to specific locations and at each, participants capture its “sense of place” on film and in haiku form. The images and poetry will be shared with the Artposium participants during the final day.

Harmonizing humans with their environment is of interest to mathematician, writer and architectural theorist, Nikos Salingaros. His presentation, “Biophilic Mapping and Emotional Health,” illustrates that the patterns found in nature are the basis for livable homes and cities. He suggests that generating “life” in built structures can improve the way buildings and cities relate to people.

Several hundred steel conduit pipes hammered into the ground in a radial pattern will serve as the backdrop for Tex Jernigan’s audience participatory installation. Jernigan, a sculptor from Kansas City, will lead a discussion and tour of his nomadic sculpture, “One: Across America,” which is making its way from California to Oklahoma this summer. Check it out at

Intrigued? Be there. •

The Durango Artposium will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Durango Arts Center. To see the Artposium schedule, register to participate, or for more information about Colorado Art Ranch, visit or call Grant Pound at (303) 279.5198.


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