Art Attack: Galleries Gift Denver With a Fine First Friday

Kate Glass, "Tessa." On view this weekend at the Colorado Photographic Art Center.
Kate Glass, "Tessa." On view this weekend at the Colorado Photographic Art Center. © Kate Glass
The forecast for First Friday in December is superb! There are so many interesting exhibitions, holiday shows, group displays big and small, and oddball events, too, with the weather predicted to be cool but sunny.

Go get your art on at these shows and events, but save some energy for Saturday's exhibitions.
click to enlarge
Find Susan Lange's hand-dyed silk scarves with cyanotype prints and more at the Arvada Center Galleries.
Courtesy of the Arvada Center
Arvada Center Fine Art Market
Opening Reception: December 1, 5 to 9 p.m.
Art Market Silent Auction: Thursday, December 1, noon, through December 18, 7:30 p.m.
Arvada Center Holiday Pottery Sale
Thursday, December 1, through December 11

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Holiday shoppers will have two opportunities to buy handmade art and gifts when the Arvada Center’s Fine Art Market and Holiday Pottery Sale open simultaneously Thursday, December 1. Ninety Colorado artists bring jewelry, fine art, ceramics and ornaments to the art market, including special items donated for an auction that continues through the entire run of the show. Meanwhile, the pottery sale offers work both functional and purely creative by instructors and students of the center’s own ceramics studio program. After opening, the market continues Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m., through December 18. The pottery sale continues Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.
click to enlarge
Mikael Olson, "In the Flowers," 2022.
Courtesy of Mikael Olson
Mikael Olson, Timeless Impressionism
Eron Johnson Antiques, 377 South Lipan Street, Unit B
Thursday, December 1, through December 23
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 1, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Open House: Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mikael Olson’s contemporary take on impressionism will fit in perfectly with the surroundings at Eron Johnson Antiques, where the artist will display representational paintings, pastel and charcoal figure drawings among Johnson’s impeccable treasures, old and new and from around the world. It’s a different kind of gallery experience, where you’ll find the art framed between sconces and candlesticks.

Third Annual Holiday Market
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, December 1, through December 24, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Michael Warren Contemporary will turn into an art marketplace every day in December, through Christmas Eve, with an overview of work by gallery artists, priced under $1,000 and more commonly at $500 or less. If you’ve got money to spend and hard-core art lovers to gift, you can’t go wrong.

Small Works
Spark Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, December 1, through December 23
First Friday Reception: Friday, December 2, 5 to 9 p.m.
Artist Reception: Saturday, December 3, noon to 5 p.m.

Spark greets the holiday season with an all-member cash-and-carry small-works show of affordable art in a wide variety of styles and mediums. The exhibition is not only economical for holiday gift-giving, but it’s also a sign of big things to come: Another co-op member show, this one more representative of each artist’s oeuvre, follows in early January.

CAE Member Show: The Roots of the Place
Center for the Arts Evergreen, 31880 Rocky Village Drive, Evergreen
Friday, December 1, through January 7
Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony: Thursday, December 1, 4 to 7 p.m.

Artist-members are at the core of the Center for the Arts Evergreen’s hierarchy, enjoying weekly open-studio sessions, artist forums and exhibition opportunities, including participation in the annual CAE Member Show, which opens this week for its 2022 edition. Members are encouraged to choose their best, newer original artwork in any medium to place in the show. See what artists working in the foothills have been up to lately and lend support.
click to enlarge
Hajer Al-Eid, "Her Value Is in Her Motherhood."
©Hajer Al-Eid
Emerging Vision: Biennial Student Show
Colorado Photographic Art Center, 1070 Bannock Street
Through January 7
Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony: Friday, December 2, 6 to 9 p.m.

CPAC ends 2022 with its biennial exhibition of photographic work by college students from across the nation, selected by jurors Yoav Friedlander and Dana Stirling of Float photo magazine. Coincidence or not, 22 students will have work in the show, and an opportunity to snag a feature in Float is awarded to one Best in Show winner. Two Honorable Mentions will receive $150 in custom printing from Digital Silver Imaging.
click to enlarge
Mila Garcia, “The deer sing to the elk," 2022,
 oil on canvas.
Courtesy of Bell Projects
Parallels: Women of Abstract Expressionism: 2022 Residency Exhibition
Bell Projects, 2822 East 17th Avenue
Friday, December 2, through December 18
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 6 to 10 p.m.

Ten Colorado women artists — Angela Craven, Kristina Davies, Mila Garcia, Ariana Hoch, Madeline Job, Precious Kofi, Gwen Marie, Christine Nguyen, Sara Noel and Emily Roan — were selected for a 2022 gallery residency from May to November by Bell Projects and artist/co-curator Roan. Given raw canvases and a free hand in how to use them, the artists were set loose to experiment and cross boundaries; now they are finished and ready for their close-up. As the residency and exhibition were launched in homage to the original Women of Abstract Expressionism — among them Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Elaine De Kooning, Betty Blayton and Joan Mitchell — you can bet these artists took the challenge seriously.
click to enlarge
Joshua Ware, "FMLY 4 NO1 3STRCTRS."
Joshua Ware
Joshua Ware, And You May Find Yourself Becoming Oblique in an Age of Mass Extinction
Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue
Friday, December 2, through January 14
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 7 to 11 p.m.

Sculptor Joshua Ware, known for his art reviews and the fractured geometric columns he builds, stewards his first solo exhibition at Leon Gallery with a message about the indirect impact of viewing art and parsing out the secrets it contains. Slashed with jagged cuts and patterned angles, Ware’s columns are never straightforward and always challenge the viewer to feel his or her way through the mysteries of each plane. Or, as he writes: “Become oblique.”
click to enlarge
Kaitlyn Tucek lends a flock of seagulls to Alto Gallery's Ends + Beginnings.
Kaitlyn Tucek
Ends + Beginnings
Alto Gallery, 1900 35th Street, Suite B
Friday, December 2, through January 28
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 6 to 10 p.m.

Alto Gallery faces the arrival of the new, untested year ahead with Ends + Beginnings, a group show of artists both new and old to the Alto mind space of experimentation and chance-taking.
click to enlarge
A still from Dreams Life and Times, a collaborative video album from Miolina Speaks.
Courtesy of Molina Speaks
Molina Speaks, Dreams Life and Times
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street
Friday, December 2, through December 31
Opening Celebration: Friday, December 2, 6 to 9:30 p.m. (toast at 9 p.m.)
Winter Solstice Artist Talk: Thursday, December 22, 7 to 9 p.m.

Just as Molina Speaks — a poet, performance artist, storyteller, musician and artist — is a cultural polymath, his immersive installation Dreams Life and Times at Understudy is a multimedia extravaganza, a collaborative video album that unfolds visually and aurally in a 45-minute program. Visitors enter shoeless, with a comfy lounge, tea bar, yoga area and maker space to relax with inside as the experience unfolds on opening night. the exhibition will then be open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, 1 to 7 p.m, through December 31 (closed on December 24-25).
click to enlarge
A work by Santeros curator Yvonne Zamora Vazquez at CHAC Gallery.
Yvonne Zamora Vazquez
CHAC Gallery, 1560 Teller Street, Lakewood
Friday, December 2, through December 23
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 5 to 8 p.m.

One of two santos-related events this weekend, CHAC’s Santeros (we would add “Santeras” to the title, as many women carvers and painters are included) honors the art of creating religious bultos and retablos commemorating the Virgen de Guadalupe and the saints. An art form that evolved in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico over centuries, santos art is part of our state’s cultural heritage. CHAC’s exhibition includes nearly 25 artists continuing the tradition in contemporary times, and as you’ll see, their works are beautiful to look at.
click to enlarge
A sampling of images from FoolProof Gallery's Menagerie.
Courtesy of FoolProof Gallery
FoolProof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
First Friday Reception: Friday, December 2, 6 to 9 p.m.
Formal Artist Reception: Friday, January 6, 6 to 9:30 p.m.

FoolProof turns over a new leaf in the galleries with Menagerie, a new group effort by member artists. Celebrate the opening at an informal reception on First Friday, or wait till the holiday hullabaloo is over and visit the official opening reception in January. Whenever you choose to show up, you’ll see a lot more art than one show normally holds.

En Masse: Annual Juried FRCC/BCC Student Show
Firehouse Art Center, 667 4th Avenue, Longmont
Thursday, December 1, through January 8
Public Opening Reception: Friday, December 9, 6 to 9 p.m.

Firehouse gives a leg up to students at Front Range Community College’s Boulder County Campus in Longmont with the juried show En Masse. The young artists are also in competition for various awards, including 2D design, 3D design, drawing, painting and graphic design, as well as a Juror’s Choice award and a VP Purchase award, which involves the purchase of a work by the school.
click to enlarge
thnhdnh, “Yellow Clouds & Green Skies V.1,” 2021, silkscreen, printed on jute fiber origami paper.
Courtesy of the Dairy Arts Center
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
Friday, December 2, through January 28
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 5 to 8 p.m.
Curator Drew Austin has created a lovely exhibition for the Dairy called Vessel, which digs deeply below the surface of the word itself, understanding that art is a vessel for ideas and exploration. Viewing art always contains a certain level of personal inference, just as a functional vessel might hold water, food or flowers; Austin is asking viewers to look beyond the picture before them. The large show is actually divided into a big group effort, as well as two solos by artists Hannah Leathers, whose works tell the story of her relationship with disability, and thnhdnh, who began creating hand-embellished silkscreen prints on paper during the COVID lockdown that contain bits and pieces of his immigrant experience and memories of his homeland.
click to enlarge
Buy ceramic flowers by April Cannon at DAVA's holiday show.
April Cannon
Rejoice: Annual Holiday Show and Sale
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), 1405 Florence Street, Aurora

Friday, December 2, through January 13
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 4 to 7 p.m.

DAVA’s annual Holiday Show is a gift-giver’s paradise, showing off handmade projects completed by young mentees and artist-entrepreneurs-in-training and giftable adult artwork by guest artists Leah Diament, Vanessa Martin, April Cannon and Johanna Mueller. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s free, year-round art programs for at-risk kids in northern Aurora. You’ll be amazed at how resourceful kids can be when a place like DAVA hands them the tools and training.

Cultural First Friday: Holiday Market
Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, December 2, 5 to 9 p.m.

The Museo hosts an ethnic Holiday Market on First Friday evening, with Latinx artists selling handmade jewelry, art and crafts, including geometric paintings from Spanish artist Cristina Del Hoyo, now working in Denver, and the Latina jewelry makers of Denver-based Manos Emprendedoras, aka “Entrepreneurial Hands.” Admission is free, and a food truck will be outside for eats; while you’re there, check out the current exhibition honoring modernist Mexican architect Luis Barragan.

Urban Mud Annual Holiday Show
Urban Mud, 530 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, December 2, through February
Holiday Reception: Friday, December 2, 5 to 8 p.m.

Mary Mackey’s member-driven pottery studio and gallery will show you their best stuff in a holiday show and sale, where you’ll find original ceramic art by artists at all stages in their exploration of clay. Mackey will throw in a display of her abstract paintings and collages.

Remerg, Echos From the Cell
People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
Friday, December 2, 5 to 7 p.m.
Art by the incarcerated can tell stories that you won’t find anywhere else. One of those stories is the one about making the choice to find good in yourself while in prison, rather than waste away or hone criminal practices. When inner talent wins, the result can be jaw-droppingly expressive, giving viewers the sense of the validated, whole person holding the paint brush. See what we mean at the People’s Building in Aurora, where incarcerated artists working with the organization Remerg, which helps prepare prisoners for re-entry into society, show their art to the public. As Remerg notes, “One day they will be our neighbors, colleagues, family and friends.” Get to know them as artists, too.

Word: Of About By Poetry
931 Gallery, 931 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, December 2, through January 15
Opening Reception and Open Mic Poetry: Friday, December 2, 5 to 9 p.m.; poetry, 5 to 7 p.m., sign-up at 5 p.m.

931 presents a group exhibition of work inspired by poetry, by eight veteran artists from the local scene. Come to the First Friday opening and be treated to (or participate in) a poetry open mic to enhance the experience. Word!
Topher Straus, "Boulder."
Courtesy of Topher Straus
Topher Straus: Boldest
R Gallery, 2027 Broadway, Boulder
Friday, December 2, through January 8
Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 6 to 8 p.m.

Modern landscape artist Topher Straus, known for his mountainscapes painted in ribbons of color with a hand from technology, will show new works at R Gallery in Boulder for the holiday season.
Urban artist Vandal heads the list of artists on display at Rising Gallery.
Vandal, courtesy of Rising Gallery
Rising Gallery, 4885 South Broadway, Englewood
Saturday, December 3, 6 to 10 p.m.

Rising Gallery holds a second reception for a show of works by the British muralist and urban artist Sam Maslanka, better known professionally as Vandal. Also on the walls, you’ll find work by Christ Boyle, splatter portraitist RS and Mr. Clever, and a private collection of urban art by Banksy, Jeff Gillette and many others. It’s an esoteric but thoughtful gifting opportunity.

Holiday Open Studios at Blue Silo
Blue Silo Studios, 4701 National Western Drive
Saturday, December 3, noon to 5 p.m.

The artists of the iconic Blue Silo Studios in RiNo — where you might run into painters and installationists Tracy Weil, Amy Metier, Michael Gadlin, Virginia Folkestad, Ron Zito and others — open the studio doors to the public every year. Here’s your chance to get inside and see what’s being made at Denver’s twin blue towers.
click to enlarge
Meesh Merlin, courtesy of Friend of a Friend Gallery
Friend of a Friend Gallery, 1115 Acoma Street, Suite 321
Saturday, December 3, through January 7
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 3, 7 to 10 p.m.

The intrigue of black light has been around at least since the ’60s, but it also extends far beyond Haight-Ashbury with a Colorado connection: Clark Richert, who created black-light posters back in the days of Drop City in southern Colorado. The folks at FoaF are scratching a longtime itch to bring it back to the forefront with Ultra, an exhibition that challenged artists Moe Gram, Lena Klett, Jessica Langley, Meesh Merlin and Diego Rodriguez-Warner to use the weirdly illuminating power of ultraviolet light in new works that forgo its psychedelic past. Oh, yeah: Stick around for the black-light dance party that follows.
click to enlarge
A sneak peak at images from an open studio night at the Evans School.
Courtesy of Julie Puma
Evan Rosato, Julie Puma, Kell Cox and Eric Mullis, Open Studio
Evans School, 1115 Acoma Street, Suite 322
Saturday, December 3, 5 to 9 p.m.
Before you hit FoaF, drop in next door to see the new studios of artists Evan Rosato, Julie Puma, Kell Cox and Eric Mullis, secured in the Evans School building, thanks to their hosts at RedLine Contemporary Art Center. It’s a one-night affair to see new art and WIPs, and chat with the artists.
click to enlarge
Sean Trujillo, “San Ramón Nonato.”
Sean Trujillo
Santos Market
O’Sullivan Gallery, Fine Arts Building, Regis University, 3333 Regis Boulevard
Saturday, December 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Regis’s annual santos show ends brightly, with a market where one can buy one of the sought-after folk-art masterpieces — or to simply ogle these beauties for one last time. The show, with its array of locally and nationally recognized artists, is a beautiful representation of a centuries-old tradition.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to [email protected].
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

Latest Stories