Even in the art world, December is not only a time for looking back and looking forward, but it's also a time of creative commerce, when artists put their work on the line for holiday shopping. So find your opportunity to find some new art you love:
Y/OUR Denver Doors Open Denver Photography Competition
Online, through March 1
The Denver Architecture Foundation’s annual Doors Open Denver celebration was strictly virtual in 2020, but the associated photo competition went on as usual. Now the show, juried and curated by the Colorado Photographic Art Center’s Samantha Johnston, is up online at the CPAC and DAF websites to remind us of Denver’s rich architectural bounty — at least until we can experience Doors Open Denver in person again.
Art Gym Virtual Holiday Fine Arts Festival
Online, through December 24
A hidden jewel in Denver’s creative community, the member-driven artist co-working space Art Gym provides access to the nuts and bolts of making: tools, equipment, a printmaking studio, a fully equipped commissary kitchen, metalsmithing benches, a performance studio, workshops and gallery space, to name a few. The annual Holiday Fine Arts Festival — which not only shows off affordable work members make at the Art Gym throughout the year, but puts a little money in artists’ pockets — lives online this year, where you can peruse the art at home, right up until Christmas Eve.
Angela Craven: Paintings and Hand-Painted Ornaments
Balefire Goods, 7513 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
Through January 2
While Balefire is primarily a retail showcase for creative metalsmiths and jewelry makers, owner Jamie Hollier makes room for visual artists, as well, with shows going up monthly. In December see Angela Craven’s beautifully composed abstract-expressionist paintings and hand-painted glass ornaments.
Matthew Doubek and Samuel Mobley, G N I V I L
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Belmar, Lakewood
December 9 through January 3
Artist Meet-and-Greet: Saturday, December 12, 5 to 7 p.m.
Friends and sometime studio mates Matt Doubek and Sam Mobley have been throwing exhibits together for years that show off their shared artistic vision of work born of common materials, collage effects and graphic-design know-how. Now they are back at Valkarie with an offering named GNIVIL, which is “living” backwards, and you can take it from there. Also on view at Valkarie: Featured artist Aria Fawn through January 31, and a resident artists’ show through December 27. All work can be viewed online, as well as in the gallery.
Coors Western Art Presents: Inside the Artist's Studio
Through December 28
There will be no National Western Stock Show this January due to COVID, but the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale component will still ride high in cyberspace, with online bidding from December 18 until January 5, and the remainder of the sale running January 9 through 24. Leading up to that rodeo, Coors Western Art is streaming a series of online studio visits and artist talks that conclude on December 28. Visit the website to register for upcoming events or to revisit past ones.
Simply Small 2
D’art Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
December 10 through January 10
Emerge Opening Reception: Friday, December 11, 5 to 7 p.m.
The D’art co-op in the Art District on Santa Fe mounts Emerge, a new show with a theme of new directions sparked by the events of 2020. Respected Denver art writer Mary Voelz Chandler juried in 48 artists from across the nation working in diverse media for the exhibition. D’art’s ongoing holiday small-art show remains on display in Gallery East right up to December 24, and reopens on January 2, in case you want to spend your holiday cash.
That said, take a moment to remember that Denver co-ops are great holiday shopping opportunities, whether you’re gifting a collector or want to start building a collection of your own. Along with D’art Gallery, you can still catch member and small-works shows at 40 West Gallery, Edge Gallery, Next Gallery, Kanon Collective and Spark Gallery. Your favorite isn’t listed here? Give them a call!
Deck the Halls and Off the Rails
ILA Gallery, 209 Kalamath Street
December 11 through January 11
Opening Reception: Friday, December 11, 6 to 10 p.m.
RSVP in advance for timed-entry slot
ILA rounds up a huge collection of urban and street artists for this pair of holiday shows — one with artist-decorated skate decks and the other featuring HO Scale model train cars emblazoned with miniature graffiti tags. That’s one-of-a-kind. The train, by the way, will be chugging its way around the gallery at the opening — hello, second childhood.
Annual Holiday Open Studio Sale
Kim Harrell Studio, 576 Hanover Way, Suite B, Aurora
Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
RSVP in advance for timed-entry shopping slot
Metalsmith Kim Harrell, who makes jewelry and functional items for the kitchen, opens her studio for a hospitable annual holiday sale that includes free gift-wrapping, COVID-safe refreshments, discounts and other amenities. Can’t decide what to buy? Harrell has gift certificates, too.
Madeleine Bialke, Mothers and Daughters
Jennifer Nehrbass, Pioneer Project
Visions West Contemporary, 2605 Walnut Street
December 11 through January 23
Visions West closes the year with reflective looks at the historical contributions by women in the Western expansion and the way elder trees bring young ones to life over time. Beautiful concepts — and even more beautiful paintings.
Senga Nengudi: Topologies
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
December 13 through April 11
Admission: Included in general timed-entry museum admission, free to $13
The Denver Art Museum slips in a year-ending tour de force from Colorado Springs-based, internationally known artist Senga Nengudi, who began her career in the 1970s Black American avant-garde and Black Arts Movement. The show follows Nengudi through her forty-year genre-hopping métier of mixing performance, found-object sculpture and photography. This is not-to-miss for contemporary-art fans and included in museum admission.
Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.