Since it premiered on December 1, 1989, as an artists' response to World AIDS Day, A Day Without Art has gone through a lot of shape-shifting. Instead of closing galleries or draping artworks in black shrouds, artists now tend to speak out on AIDS in visual terms, by displaying -- not hiding -- works that make a difference. The Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, follows suit this year with an event that dovetails effortlessly with its politically themed BLOOD: Lines & Connections exhibit."Global Positions: Creative Acts that Matter" is a three-part artists' lecture series put on by the MCA in conjunction with the show; today's final installment features Jan Jordaan, a South African master printmaker and director of the Durban-based Art for Humanity who spearheaded a Break the Silence AIDS-awareness billboard campaign in his own country, where AIDS remains both pandemic and socially stigmatic. The project, for which 31 fine artists donated artwork to a portfolio for eventual use as highly visual billboards, first grew out of discussions in 1999 and is ongoing. The undertaking's purpose is simply, as Jordaan notes by e-mail, "to make that which is invisible, visible," in a way that only visual art, as opposed to commercial graphics, can. "Art," he explains, "tends to be universally recognized, speaking across cultural, gender, geographical, age and time barriers."
Jordaan will be joined tonight from 6 to 8:30 p.m. by Chinese performance artist Zhu Ming; open dialogue with the audience follows. Seating is limited, so call 303-298-7554 to reserve tickets ($18 to $25). -- Susan Froyd
Estrellitas showcases kids' art
Celebrating the twinkling lights of the holiday season, the glittering Estrellitas/ Little Stars opens today at the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts gallery, 1405 Florence Street in Aurora. The exhibit will feature works created in DAVA's youth and family art programs, including hand-printed calendars, ceramic pots, block prints, jewelry, ornaments and more.
"These kids really are the stars in our universe," says DAVA director Susan Jenson of the young artists behind the work. "They're so vibrant, creative and bright. And I think that really comes across in this show."
Also on display will be cityscape paintings and screen prints by DAVA visiting artist Jason Needham, who helped the kids create their projects. "He has a very unique style, and the kids totally related to him," says Jenson. "He really raised the bar for them."
Estrellitas/Little Stars, which opens with a reception from 3 to 8 p.m., will hang through January 22; proceeds from sales will benefit DAVA's scholarship and activities fund. For more information, call 303-367-5886. -- Julie Dunn