Art Makers Denver will create an urban art retreat in town

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The first annual Art Makers Denver will present three days of interactive artist workshops at the McNichols Building September 14 through 16 -- and registration is already under way. "It's designed for anyone who has a desire to create," explains Helen Rice, who owns Willow - An Artisan's Market in Littleton, and started planning this event two and a half years ago, founding Art Makers Denver and using her connections in the art world to find instructors for more than 35 workshops.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Lonnie Hanzon

One of the first hurdles was locating a space large enough to hold all the workshops and accommodate the crowd of 250 attendees she expects. After the McNichols Building was renovated in 2012, Rice says she knew it would be the perfect spot.

Not only is the building a great space, she notes, but it's in ideal location, because of Denver's ever-changing art scene. "It's an urban experience now," Rice explains. "You aren't taking this to the mountains anymore; this is like an urban art retreat."

Rice recruited artists from other retreats, from her store and from word of mouth to teach workshops at Art Makers Denver. Although they'll be instructing attendees in the basics, "it's great for people who are already artists," Rice says, because they'll be getting a new perspective.

Registration goes through June 30, and forty people have already registered. So far, the most popular workshop is with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, who will be offering instruction in paper painting collages. Other instructors include Lonnie Hanzon, who will be teaching how to create a "reliquary, shrine, or keeping place out of a variety materials"; Tom Sarmo, who will be talking about 3-D drawings; Janet Nunn, who will be instructing how to paint with watercolors; and Sarah Fitzgerald, whose workshop is titled "Exploring Clayboard!"

When you register, you get to choose one workshop per day. During each workshop, attendees will work with the paid artist/instructor, discussing and creating art. When the workshops end at 4 p.m., everyone can mix and mingle and share thoughts about the experience.

To attend all three days, the cost is $595; single workshop days are $225. To register, go to artmakersdenver.com.

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