Art for Every Body

At Access Gallery, the most visible wing of VSA Colorado, one expects to see work created by people with disabilities: The nonprofit organization primarily offers services and programs for the developmentally disabled, with the idea of giving them better access to the world at large.

But Outside In, a new exhibit opening tonight, is a little different from the typical Access offering. The works in this show represent the outcome of a themed effort by VSA's fourteen-student Artworks program for teens, which teamed the kids with local artists -- Andy Brezeczek, Phil Bender, Jeff Wenzel, Marsue Todd, Derrick Velasquez, Niza Knoll and Ratha Sok -- to learn about and create works inspired by the spirit of unschooled, subconscious outsider art. That, says program director Cris Ciani, was a match made in heaven.

"Outsider artists seem to have a real need to create. A lot of our kids are like that, too," says Ciani. "They have a basic need to create." The results -- which come after an eight-week artist residency with field trips to see public art around the city and collect found objects -- go on display tonight during a First Friday reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Also on view will be an Easter Seals adult counterpart, Sculptures From the Edge, which was inspired in part by the work of deaf and Down's artist Judith Scott, who famously wrapped colored string into amazing sculptures (the VSA group wrapped a vacuum cleaner in tribute).

The shows continue at Access Gallery, 909 Santa Fe Drive, through May 4; attend a community art day from noon to 3 p.m. April 14, and a big celebration and meet-the-artist party on April 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Go to or call 303-777-0797.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: April 6. Continues through May 4, 2012

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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