Dawdling in Durango
Durango Youth Coalition holds second art walk

Durango artist Keagan Felker drops off drawings to be shown during the DAWDLE on Monday afternoon. The spring arts walk is set for this Thursday and will give exposure to young artists, writers and performers./Photo by Stephen Eginoire

by Stew Mosberg

DAWDLE. Not just a cutesy moniker, the acronym in fact stands for “Durango Art Walk, Donating Local Enthusiasm.” The first DAWDLE was held by the DurangoYouth Coalition last year and included scores of young artists exhibiting a broad range of work. And when Riley Neugebauer, founder of DYC left town and moved to Vermont, a few young artists along with advocate Jess Martin were intent on seeing the event continue.

The one-day happening is set for this Thurs., May 13, and will be spread throughout town in coffee houses, restaurants, retail stores, and on the streets. Maps and schedules are available at all of the participating venues: the Lost Dog, Steaming Bean Coffee, Animas Trading Co., Papa Wheelies, Durango Arts Center, “&”, Your Flesh, Flower Power, Smiley Building, and Articulation. Each of the venues will be marked by a banner and green and black balloons.

In a serendipitous turn of events, the recently established collaborative “Articulation,” 1071 E. Second Ave., came up for sale around the same time Neugebauer migrated east. Martin’s son Noah Leggett and his colleagues, Zach Counter, Nick Jones and Elizabeth Nelson, took over the Articulation space and the DYC and are continuing the organization’s vision.

“Riley set up the coalition so it could eventually be turned over,” Jones explained.

Working as a team rather than as a structured board of directors, the four enthusiastic friends (they range in age from 20 to 25) are all artists. With more than 30 percent of Durango’s inhabitants ranging between the ages of 12 - 30, the DYC hopes to offer support for this younger generation to be heard and seen on both the cultural stage and in the political arena.

This year’s “DAWDLE” promises to be as much a street festival as art show, complete with juggling performances, tall bikes, musicians, hip hop and even skateboarding demos. However, the focus remains on exposure opportunities for young emerging artists, with a few “elders” thrown in, all of whom rarely get a chance to show their work locally. DAWDLE provides these talents with a chance to show their work in a nonjuried exhibition and without having to pay an entry fee or commission.

The art on display will include collage, painting, sculpture, computer-generated art, furniture, jewelry, and photography, all affordably priced. Animas High School graphic design teacher, Roxie McKnight, is also helping out and many AHS students will be exhibiting their work, as well.

Sitting around a large table in the front room at Articulation, the four colleagues along with event volunteers Meeg Conroy and Charlie Erickson discussed their art backgrounds and their role in this year’s happening. Conroy focused on the written word portion and helped organize the poetry and prose open-mic session, which is set for 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Steaming Bean. Nelson worked on organizing the performance facet; Erickson concentrated on networking and planning; and Leggett and Jones worked on the promotional aspect.

The excitement in the room was palpable as each of the friends took turns talking about DAWDLE and what the future holds for the DYC. A raffle with prizes donated by local merchants and a painting to be auctioned at the party following the DAWDLE will be the main source of revenue during the event. Donations, of course, will be greatly appreciated.

The after-party begins at 9:30 p.m. at the Lost Dog and will feature live performances, and food catered by “Food, Not Bombs.” All the funds raised through the sale of the raffle tickets and auction will go to helping sustain the DYC and procuring supplies for the new Youth Art and Exchange Center at Articulation.

Having the exchange location at Articulation will allow the group to continue the concept developed by the space’s original owner, Jessica Gennari – offering classes in art, cooking and language; hosting open mic nights; providing a studio for creative pursuits; and offering a hang out for like-minded youth.

When Riley Neugebauer established DYC in 2008, she defined it by saying, “We hope to empower young people through trainings; run advocacy campaigns to have more youth impact locally, based on youth-determined issues; to get young people on the boards of local organizations; form a youth city council; help clubs and organizations network with each other, so they can more efficiently get things done; and highlight local youth artists and musicians.”

The new DYC leaders are carrying on this tradition of youthful enthusiasm, and a successful DAWDLE is sure to propel the coalition on its way. •



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