Now Showing: A <i>Westword</i> guide to the arts in Denver

The aspen aren't the only things that turn golden in the fall. The cultural scene also glitters, as arts groups large and small, high-brow and low-, celebrated and secret, start their new seasons.

To get straight to the art of the most exciting events in the months ahead, we went to the experts — the people who spend their days or nights, and often both, creating their own art or running their own arts organizations (and often both). But somehow, in their non-existent spare time, these people still manage to stay on top of the amazing contributions of other artists/arts organizations. And so we asked them to share their thoughts on who is making the most interesting contributions to the cultural scene right now.

We didn't stop there, either. We also asked them to suggest the single thing that could be done to improve the local art scene over the next year. And then, just for fun, we asked what they like to do when they're out on the town. Join them, won't you?

Erica Baum&rsquo;s &ldquo;Examined,&rdquo; part of Postscript, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
Erica Baum’s “Examined,” part of Postscript, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, now showing at Curious Theatre Company.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, now showing at Curious Theatre Company.
Becoming Van Gogh is coming to the Denver Art Museum this fall.
Becoming Van Gogh is coming to the Denver Art Museum this fall.
With the GuerillaGorilla, Jolt takes his art to the streets.
With the GuerillaGorilla, Jolt takes his art to the streets.

ADAM LERNER

Adam Lerner is the "director and chief animator" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which will open Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art on October 12.

Aside from your organization, who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I don't know if it counts as "interesting work" work, but Forest Room 5 is now, more than ever, part bar, part art installation, and entirely out there. When I noticed a typewriter in the water feature one day, it made me imagine how great it would be to have a world run by artists.

Otherwise, the band Zebroids is amazing, especially the guy who runs around with a zebra head. Again, interesting work? I don't know. Is comedy punk a category? Oh, there is also musician/artist Laura Goldhamer. She is a gem. No, that's too sweet. She's a dynamo — whatever that is. She's a little insane, so listening to her perform for an hour makes me feel good about the youth of America.

Wait — was I supposed to talk about institutions? I don't really love institutions. Though Buntport Theater is great. They're barely an institution.

When you go out on the town, what's your favorite cultural activity? Out on the town? Ha. I'm usually stuck at fundraising events. When I'm not, I like to have a drink at a bar, which is sort of a cultural activity, especially with bartenders like Jason Patz, at Williams & Graham. I enjoy listening to live music, though I am definitely too old for the scene. I had a great time at the "Down N Derby" roller disco this summer. Strangely, not too old for that. And I like to go to gallery openings, especially if I can ride my bicycle to get there. Otherwise, I like to watch American Dad! on TV.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen in the next year to improve the local arts scene? It would be great if local artist John McEnroe could have a major museum exhibition. Never mind, we're already doing that. How about a monorail? That would be fun.

MEREDITH STRATHMEYER

Meredith Strathmeyer is a company dancer and the communications manager for BNC | Ballet Nouveau Colorado, which will open A Dangerous Liaison November 3.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I can always count on the work pouring out of Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop to ignite my inner poet. They have classes to nurture any level or genre of writer, and the artists affiliated with their program produce some incredibly inspiring works. The students of BNC recently collaborated with their Young Writers Program with the intent to ambitiously meld movement and writing; the teens ended up yielding pieces of performance art that defied their ages. That's the kind of up-and-coming art that gets BNC excited!

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Denver's music scene has this totally unique folkie/alternative feel that inspires me to seek out the locals. I love that every bar and coffeehouse gives these bands a place to kill it.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I hope we can continue to be as adventurous and open-minded as our audiences have been this past season. There's a fiery spirit in Denver, and I think we feel it in our bones when we come across innovative new art. I hope as a community we will keep trying to find new ways to be moved.

DAN LANDES

Dan Landes is the owner of WaterCourse Foods, WaterCourse Bakery and City, O' City; he's landlord to the community event space Deer Pile and also active in the art nonprofit Art Plant. His first novel, Joonie and the Great Harbinger Stampede, will be released October 16, with a signing at the LoDo Tattered Cover the next day.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? Itchy-O: What a marching brass band is to New Orleans, Itchy-O is to Denver. An ambulatory mass of drum-centric, theremin noise madness that tames dragons and titillates the nubile.

Ravi Zupa: In an era of everything being so precious — bridle-leather backpacks, carved wooden iPhone cases, sage and coriander soap, hand-knit fingerless gloves, shoe-box banjos — Ravi Zupa continually drops art in our lap that we may be afraid to touch. He lacerates us with paint, brush, video and puppetry, leaving our precious guts to spill on the floor so we can all see what kind of shit we are really stuffed with.

Mario Zoots: Mario accesses the multimedia world as if he were Peter Pan sucked off the island of lost boys into the digitalized world of TRON. He has no regard for the sanctity of images found online, and unapologetically has his way with them. Truly an artist of our time, Mario realizes that everything is accessible and everything can and should be manipulated.

Yonnas Abraham: Yonnas is the MC/producer of the hip-hop outfit Pirate Signal and BLKHRTS. There are very, very few musicians who give 100 percent every time they perform. Sometimes they bring it; sometimes not so much. For them, it's a choice. When Yonnas is on stage, he has no choice. He becomes possessed by a demon. I have never seen a Pirate Signal show where Yonnas gave 100 percent. Yonnas always gives more.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Going out for culture is like going out for a good time. When you expect it, it's never there. Cultural activities that I have participated in and enjoyed recently are as follows: ComicCon; the showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Museum of Nature & Science; DeVotchKa and the CSO; Film on the Rocks; Arvada Center's performance of Twelfth Night; Carry On, with Paper Bird and Ballet Nouveau; the Untitled events at the Denver Art Museum. What's so great about all of the aforementioned events is that I attended them with my two sons, Charley (age fourteen) and Henry (age eleven).

Events that I wanted to go to but couldn't get it together: the parking-lot events next to Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout; Don't Look Down, the Sunday-evening events at the MCA; anything at Leon Gallery; and more events at L2.

The cultural event that I participate in the most is the eating and drinking scene in Denver. Certain Denver bars and restaurants are the salons of our times.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? The one thing I would love to see more is Denverites buying fucking art. C'mon!

ERIC MATELSKI

Eric Matelski, a Westword MasterMind, has a solo show titled Urban Sprawl coming up at Tennyson Street Coffee on October 5 and The Bogeyman Show at the MacSpa opening October 4, with a second reception before the Zombie Crawl on October 20.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I think the following people are really working hard to keep the scene alive: Jennifer Mosquera, Michael Reiger, Ken Hammel, James Baily, Lenny Chernilla, Broox Pulford, Jazimin Montano.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I really enjoy going to neighborhoods. We like to go out for dinner, window-shop and find entertainment — all with a nice walk between activities. Favorite areas include South Broadway, Platte River and Tennyson.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? Denver has a great art scene. I would like to see a unity between districts. In Phoenix, they have free public transit on First Fridays. This would really cut back on parking problems and allow all art districts to gain more business. I also feel like it could make the art scene more of a tourist destination.

CHIP WALTON

Chip Walton founded Curious Theatre Company in 1997 and has served as producing artistic director ever since; he's the director of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, which runs through October 13.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I really admire the creativity and artistry of Garrett Ammon at Ballet Nouveau — with regard to both their artistic work and their innovative cross-disciplinary collaborations. As an artist, I find their work very invigorating.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I just love Red Rocks — who doesn't? Summer shows there just seem to embody everything wonderful about living in Colorado! It's such an honor to live and work and create art here in this community, and Red Rocks always reminds me of that privilege.  

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I think that Denver as a community has always been very supportive of the largest cultural organizations in town, but I think what makes a truly vibrant cultural community is support for smaller and mid-sized organizations, as well. And by community, I mean audiences, funders and government alike. And we've certainly benefitted from that kind of support here at Curious over the past fifteen years, but I still think that a lot of times, the largest institutions benefit "by default." So what I'd like to see happen is for our community to take more chances culturally — for audiences to go try someplace that they've never been before, for funders to diversify the portfolio of their support to a broader spectrum of organizations, and for the city to support performing arts in the way that they support visual arts. That would go a long way toward making Denver a true cultural mecca.

FALLENE WELLS

Fallene Wells is a hairstylist, fashion designer and fashion-show producer who was a 2010 MasterMind winner and cast-member on season nine of Project Runway.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I think the RiNo area is really doing great things to not only improve the area, but by being innovative with collaboration and the art medium.

 

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? We typically will go to First Fridays on Broadway to check out new artists, new bands, etc. I think if RiNo keeps improving, there will be a much better approach to art than on Santa Fe.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local arts scene? I'd like to see artists and designers work more together and improve their skill. I think more collaboration with all artistic mediums would be great.

STEPHEN SEIFERT

Stephen Seifert is the executive director of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? We are living through a period of great ferment in the performing arts. It's hard to settle on one person or organization "doing the most interesting work," because part of the very essence of what is happening is its increasing segmentation. At one time, a city's cultural identity was tied mostly to what the major producing organizations (symphonies, operas, ballet companies, theater companies) did, and mostly they performed the canonical works of Western Europe and North America. Such organizations will always have a place in our cultural identity, but that identity is becoming much more diverse and complex. I'm sure that my own knowledge of "the most interesting work" is incomplete and shallow at best, partly because I'm so enmeshed in what we try to add to the cultural fabric, and partly just because there's so much more out there than ever before.

There are important organizations whose own identities are tied largely to specific ethnicities, such as Su Teatro. Other organizations are dedicated to finely tailored aesthetic missions, such as Luminous Thread Productions, newly arrived in Denver and intent on producing steampunk operas. Eager and enterprising individuals are experimenting in all sorts of ways. For instance, Jim Bailey and Jeff Jenkins created Zuri Music, which is a jazz band that blurs the boundaries of jazz into classical, African, Latin and experimental music and incorporates dance, photography, poetry, painting and film into its performances. Some are using the arts for specific goals beyond just arts experiences. Marda Kirn at EcoArts Connections in Boulder connects performing artists to scientists. The resulting performing arts experiences help express the urgency, the challenges and possible solutions relating to global climate change. Others use the performing arts as educational tools, teaching self-reliance, teamwork, cross-cultural and other life skills. Just look at El Sistema Colorado, modeled after the fabled program from Venezuela, and Flobots.org, each of which works for social change through the power of music. At the same time, young indie-rock musicians are as numerous as baby bunnies. With the assistance of WESTAF and Arts & Venues Denver, however, some are trying to reach beyond the usual world of clubs and connect with non-profit presenting organizations and performing arts centers.

Leaders of those kinds of traditional institutions and venues are listening, because they are desperate to find out what will lure younger audiences to their old-style theaters. None of these cultural entrepreneurs has a very large audience. I suppose that apart from commercial, pop entertainment available through touring Broadway and stadium-rock shows, the current world of the performing arts looks a lot like the sliced-and-diced world of cable TV and the Internet. We tend to live in experiential silos we can easily curate for ourselves through technology based on our own idiosyncratic tastes.

Sorry if this is a cop-out, but "the most interesting work" going on is all of that.  It's the fact that it's all happening here, now, at the same time. It's the "I have this idea and a bunch of friends from unexpected places and disciplines to help me put it on" approach. It's bottom-up, populist, and doesn't fit into neat categories.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Having said all of that, my favorite cultural activities are sometimes a) to explore such new and unpredictable events, and at other times b) to warm myself in the comforting embrace of traditional and predictable events. Exploration and refuge.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I know, as Yogi Berra said, "Nostalgia ain't what it used to be," but once upon a time most people read daily newspapers, and those publications listed and recounted the activities that most people engaged with, and those connections of previews and reviews, lists and reports, helped knit together a sense of community. Life was still complex, and there were always sub-parts of communities, but it seems to me that most people felt a common sense of belonging to some kind of shared society.

I can't wish for that to return — assuming it ever really existed — but it would be nice for someone to use the wonders of technology to offer some vehicle for a broader sense of shared society and community, some kind of über-channel most people would tune to regularly. Were that possible, we'd all be more aware of the amazing creativity being expressed everywhere across our city, and we'd all be more likely to recognize our common humanity.  The arts express our humanity, and any improvement in the "arts scene" will improve our lives.

JOLT

Jolt is the owner of GuerillaGarden Studios, the creator of Colorado's largest public art mural (at 1099 Osage) and inventor of Colorado's most recognizable icon in the street realm: the GuerillaGorilla.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I really like Leon Art Gallery; every show that they put on is on point. They seem to be in touch with a wide variety of artists who are defining their own style and approach.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? First I grab my backpack with my sketch pad, GG Stickers and camera, get on my bike and cruise to Bud Med in Edgewater to grab an eighth of Durbain Poison and head downtown to eat, usually at Sushi Sasa, Pho or Euclid Hall. After dinner I like to check out what shows Beauty Bar is having, or I check for DJs like Musa, GypDaHip and Ginger Perry. Nights in the clubs usually lead to rooftop after-hours parties at the GuerillaGarden Art Studios.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? People taking more chances at doing new things — more breaking of the rules, warehouse events and venues that have been previously unused. More of a mesh of the things that Denver has to offer. Themed shows, less jocking whatever was in Juxtapoz magazine ten years ago, more celebrating what's happening here and now.

EDIE WINOGRADE

Edie Winograde is a nationally recognized artist/photographer represented by Robischon Gallery. Her work is featured in Continental Drift, which is moving from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver to the Aspen Art Museum on October 19.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? The new Colorado Photographic Arts Center has been keeping its finger on the pulse of contemporary photography, inviting guest curators who are bringing in emerging and established artists and really invigorating the photographic art scene in Denver with innovative lectures and events. The fall show Lost and Found features documentary work by Matt Eich and Matt Slaby, two very respected agency photographers. This is guest-curated by Kate Donaldson, who works at DU's Myhren Gallery. Also coming up are an exhibition of emerging artist Vivian Keulards and a multidisciplinary group exhibition about light curated by Denver artist/photographer Conor King. When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I enjoy going around to see art exhibitions of all kinds at various galleries, art spaces and museums. There is usually a nice mix of local, national and international work on view. The Denver Art Museum's photography exhibitions are always a destination for me.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? It would be great to see more non-profit organizations and businesses supporting the work of local artists in any way they can. Denver has a very robust art scene, and there is a fair amount of support out there, but artists always need affordable studio space, equipment rentals and service bureaus, as well as grants, commissions and exhibition opportunities to keep doing their work and enriching our cultural environment.

KRISTIN RUST

Kristin Rust, spokeswoman for Arts & Venues Denver, is a native who thought Denver was cool back in the Dynasty days. Now it actually is cool.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I am a huge fan of the Denver Art Museum. They consistently have something to offer that I didn't know would excite me.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? As a Denver native, I like to be introduced to parts of town, events, restaurants and people that I'm not familiar with. So if I notice something that's off the beaten path, I'm in. And I love the theater. Some incredible stuff comes through our town.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I really enjoy interactive anything. Anything that gets me personally involved with the art or happening is fun and memorable.

JIMMY SELLARS

MasterMind Jimmy Sellars is an artist, educator, gallerist and consultant who enjoys the creative process from theory to market.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? For the first time since 1990, the art scene is becoming part of a younger scene, which is awesome. These "kids" are creating the scene every day and really starting to make it their own without the intimidation that is typically felt.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? As much as I love what DOCA/Arts & Venues has done, I'd love for them to get their grubby hands off of our scene. They have been shaping it for far too long for their own gain — not really helping cultivate talent and creativity or really filtering any actual funds into the scene, just trying to meet quotas to keep their own jobs and look busy. Cultural tourism is huge, and Denver is now — finally — on that map. We need a more collected front to show the world and each other what we have instead of this compartmentalized approach. There needs to be more visual cues that there is as much art here as there is. I go to Vancouver, S.F., L.A., N.Y., etc., and you can see that there is art there...not just two or three sculptures here and there. I like what the Theatre District has been doing: a very cool, Times Square approach.

GENE SOBCZAK

Gene Sobczak left the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities last fall to return to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, where he's now president and CEO.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? One of the many qualities of the region's arts and cultural community is the enthusiasm which we share in collaborating with one another. Most, if not all, of us are doing really interesting work in that regard at present.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? My appetite for cultural experiences is voracious. During the course of any week, I may attend the Larimer Lounge to see Slim Cessna or the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to see the latest productions of Opera Colorado or the Colorado Ballet. What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? Acknowledging the audiences that arts and cultural organizations respectively cultivate, I'd like to see us aggregate these individuals into a greater, yet structured, targeted consumer market for the arts.

SCOTT O'NEIL

Scott O'Neil is the resident conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I am particularly fond of the Colorado Ballet and artistic director Gill Boggs's work. They are unrelenting in their commitment to greatness. I also consider food as an art form. Among my favorite restaurants are Il Posto and Osteria Marco.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Since my full-time job includes music day and night, silence plays a big part in my experiences outside of work. The Clyfford Still Museum has become one of my new favorite places.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? Despite the generous support we already receive, a broader participation from all parts of the community would be beneficial for everyone.

COLLIN PARSON

Denver native Collin Parson is the exhibition manager and curator for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities and a member of the historic Pirate: Contemporary Art cooperative. His current curatorial projects are Women of Influence: Colorado Artists and Curators and Intimate Dialogue: 7 Women/7 Voices, at the Arvada Center through November 11; his own work will be featured in a solo exhibition at the newly renovated McNichols building at Civic Center Park, opening in November.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? The metro area has too many talented artists to single out individually. Instead, I'll focus on the organizations and venues that consistently produce some of the most interesting exhibitions, featuring noteworthy artists whose work fits the exhibition space appropriately. Kirkland Museum has always been a great place to see the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Colorado arts scene, while newer co-ops such as Ice Cube have pushed the definition of how a co-op can excel. RedLine's creative vision of mentors and Denver's next generation of artists sharing studio spaces side by side means that the conversations coming out of that arrangement are at the same time new and timeless. Pirate, Edge and Spark continue to feature some of the region's most cutting-edge artists, and one can't forget the consistency of Ironton and the "rawness" of Hinterland.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? On a typical Friday night, I try to hit some RiNo galleries, and then head off to the Navajo Arts District. Usually I'm on a bike, cruising with friends, so you have to plan ahead to make sure to see the openings that you need to see. Too little time, so many venues. Many nights it starts with the visual arts and ends with a concert — and a brewery stop or two never hurts.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I feel the local scene just keeps getting better. Galleries and art districts are working together, artists are getting more exposure, and that's great. The real conundrum is how to get local residents involved while helping them understand how approachable and vibrant our arts community really is. That is the ongoing challenge that we as gallery and museum managers face every day, and I don't know that there's a simple solution.

THERESA ANDERSON

Theresa Anderson is a painter/ installation artist with a full-time studio practice who's exhibited nationally and is in numerous private collections.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? There are quite a few really important arts organizations that support local artists with quality programming and opportunities to advance their work. My top three (besides my own gallery) are PlatteForum, Pirate: Contemporary Art and RedLine. 

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I attend a lot of exhibitions, from museums to art spaces and galleries. I look at and talk about art 24/7. The Denver FilmCenter and local restaurants are a great pairing for a night out as well!

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I hope over the next year, funding for arts education is strengthened at all levels. Art is a vital connector keeping kids focused in school as well as supplementing the strength of all academics. I'd love to see some big donors fund small grants for art criticism as well as artist projects. 

CHRIS WIGER

After many years at the Denver Center Theatre Company and Walt Disney World, Chris Wiger is the director of public relations at DU's Lamont School of Music, which presents nearly 300 concerts in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts — 250 of which are absolutely free!

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? Denver Center Theatre Company, Curious Theatre Company, Colorado Symphony.... I worked at the DCTC for many years, but their Colorado New Play Summit is giving them a national reputation you can't buy. Curious is doing groundbreaking, shocking and unforgettable theater. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is traveling around Denver to perform for a whole new audience and becoming Colorado's symphony orchestra — that's a huge and wonderful change.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity?

Broadway shows and outdoor concerts. I don't get to Broadway often, but I saw A Chorus Line in Chicago while traveling many years ago, and seeing that groundbreaking musical changed my life. Nothing better than sitting in an amphitheater listening to a major symphony do a pops concert under the stars with cheese, a bottle of wine and friends.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local arts scene? Saving the Colorado Symphony, because no arts city can be first-tier unless it has a vibrant and healthy symphony orchestra. You can have first-class theater, ballet, opera and museums, but if you don't also have a first-class symphony, you will never join New York, Chicago, L.A. or Seattle at the top.

BRANDI SHIGLEY

A member of the initial class of Westword MasterMinds, Brandi Shigley is a designer/dreamer/doer who founded B.23 Productions and Fashion Denver. Her motto: "Do what you love. Love what you do."

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? MegaFauna and the Flobots pop out at me. I've been pretty much in my own foxhole lately, but am always seeing exciting stuff from these two.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I love going to Untitled at the DAM, and I also love the afternoon weekend concerts and other activities that Fresh City Life puts on at the Denver Public Library.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the arts scene? A central place to find out what is going on — a directory of sorts. I guess this is like the Westword calendar. I really enjoyed This Week In Denver.

DEB HENRIKSEN

Deb Henriksen is the CEO of Equillibrium — sustainable lifestyle branded apparel, handbags and accessories — which she founded in 2000.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I am not sure how to answer at the moment, because there is so much going on and changing with Denver at the moment. However, I can say that the Historic Baker Neighborhood, sandwiched between Santa Fe and South Broadway, is getting some love from the city — new curbs and street surfacing long overdue — showing that Denver's Art District on Santa Fe and new developments on South Broadway are making a wave of improvements in surrounding areas. I've also noticed artists taking back the neighborhood with sick murals and defacing gang tags that always prevailed prior. It is making a big difference.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I think the mainstream Denver community is creating a viable arts scene to do what you love as a creative. We never had a shortage of talent; however, there still is a shortage of sales. I hope there is more commerce supporting our talent in future years.

PAULINE HERRERA SERIANNI/BRIAN CORRIGAN

Pauline Herrera Serriani and Brian Corrigan are local independent consultants with an emphasis on arts and culture organizations.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver? Design After Dark for advocacy and outreach, Develop Denver for accessibility and innovation, David B. Smith Gallery for aesthetic/curation, and Dikeou Collection for the experience and collection.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Exploring cities/neighborhoods (also design/tech culture and visual arts).

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? A fresh, innovative approach to creative placemaking that simultaneously achieves community building, cross-sector collaboration, knowledge-sharing and a broad exploration of Denver's cultural assets.

GLORIA SHANSTROM

After working as house manager for the Auditorium and Buell theaters for close to a decade, Gloria Shanstrom went to work for Denver Center Attractions. Today she is the general manager of the Colorado Theatre Guild and operates Full Court Press, a company specifically designed to assist small non-profit arts organizations.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? For theater, it is not just one organization. Several of the smaller, non-Equity theater companies are stepping up and doing risky shows and acquiring rights to regional premieres, beating some of our larger theaters to the punch. I recommend that people who may think they can only see great theater if it is a national tour or at one of our larger Equity houses give the smaller (and please note I do not use the term "community theater") theater companies a try.

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? I love to go to art museums and local history museums. Chicago's History Museum is a prime example. When I was in Chicago and dropped in, they had a Civil War camp set up on the lawn, complete with cannons, a surgery unit, costumed children playing the games of the day, and Civil War re-enactors. Those finds are gems. Theater is always on the list. I love seeing the venues as well as the shows.

What's the one thing you'd like to see to improve the local scene? Expanded coverage of our smaller culturals. We have an abundance of cultural riches here in Colorado, and...I understand the importance of coverage of our large institutions, but at times feel a bit resentful because they also have large marketing budgets. In my fantasy world, the media says, "You know, The Book of Mormon has been sold out for months. They don't really need us to write about them, so we're going to cover something that needs a good bump." Sigh.

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popeye12345
popeye12345 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Don't show artwork at Forest Room 5. I had pieces in there years ago for a special show and they lost half of them. There staff didn't seem to care either. Avoid St. Mark's Coffeehouse as well to hang art. Their baristas are rude basically throw your art in the trash.

 
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