The history of 3rd Ave. Arts begins on two separate tracks.
Executive Director C. Scott Hagler returned to the Four Corners area in 2004 after 15 years in Denver. He began creating festivals and events at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Durango, where he serves as Minister of Music & Arts. All events were designed to be self-supporting, and, in fact, thrived, with only the support of ticket sales and private donations.
It became apparent after a few years that all of the events found the bulk of their support from outside the church. Ideas for growth and expansion would require greater resources – human and financial – than the church could offer.
Meanwhile, a non-profit bookstore founded in 1992 that rented space in the church, was experiencing flagging book sales, due at least in part to online booksellers like Amazon.com. The long-serving board was tired and planned to close down their shop after 18 years. Hagler and an energetic new board stepped in and created a new mission and vision for the non-profit, and 3rd Ave. Arts was born.
3rd Ave. Arts is an independent 501(c)(3). We rent performance facilities and shop space from St. Mark's.
Collaboration is an important part of what we do; in fact, none of our events or festivals would be possible without it. The Fort Lewis College Department of Music – current and retired faculty and students – are involved in 3rd Ave. Arts performances. We have provided opportunities for the college's piano studio and Music Educators National Conference chapter to perform. The Sacred Arts Festival featured a concurrent exhibit at the Durango Arts Center a couple years back, and conversations continue with the Center of Southwest Studies and Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum for collaboration. The Durango Salsa Festival is a multi-cultural event that raises funds for area non-profit organizations and has provided collaborative opportunities with the Durango Adult Education Center, Del Alma, Take the Lead, and the Southwest Colorado Community College. 3rd Ave. Arts frequently collaborates with the Durango Choral Society on both fundraising and performances; the DCS will be featured on the 2012 Durango Bach Festival.
Education is an important part of our mission; most of our programs have the possibility of important education components. We have a strong connection with Fort Lewis College and public-school arts educators from which to begin a dialogue. See the education page for details.
C. Scott Hagler
Board of Directors
Steve Kiely president
Dan White vice president
Ted Carr treasurer
Jen Brown administrator
Dr. Margaret Coxwell
Dr. Jonathan Latta
Dr. Rochelle Mann