Aurora sometimes gets a ho-hum rap from the urbanistas to the west, but the sprawling gateway to the plains certainly has its hidden treasures. Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which provides a creative haven for at-risk youth of all ages, is one of them, offering year-round art-making programs led by a round robin of local artists. And this is one of the best times of the year to explore what DAVA has to offer: The nonprofit's annual holiday show and sale, titled Wonderland serves not only as a showcase for talented kids, but also as a way to shine a light on works by some of the organization's guest artist/mentors, all with a focus on the functional and affordable.
DAVA youth have created a cornucopia of gift items made from recyclable materials, including baskets woven from plastic bags and magazine pages, hand-built birdhouses, jewelry cut from aluminum cans and more; established-artist works vary from sparse and lovely winter landscape prints by Joe Higgins and incredible wood assemblages by Chris de Knikker to ceramic pieces by Christine Boyd and DAVA staff member Alberto Veronica. The show continues through January 6, but now's the time for holiday shopping in earnest.
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See the show at DAVA, 1405 Florence Street in Aurora; admission is free. Go to www.davarts.org or call 303-367-5886.
Mondays-Fridays. Starts: Dec. 9. Continues through Jan. 6, 2011