The Best Art Openings and Events in Denver This Weekend, May 18 to 22 | Westword

Art Attack: Youth Mentors, Virgil Ortiz, CPAC's New Digs and More

The Colorado Photographic Arts Center reopens in its new home, while the nearby History Colorado Center has a can't-miss exhibit.
A pop-surreal vision by Mark Penner Howell.
A pop-surreal vision by Mark Penner Howell. Mark Penner Howell, courtesy of Walker Fine Art
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Put your hands together for art teachers and youth mentor programs, as well as History Colorado’s most modern exhibition and the grand opening of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center’s new home on Lincoln, where additional space will allow for more gallery and classroom capacity, a full darkroom and expanded archives and offices.

These are just a few occasions to applaud in Denver’s off-the-hook art world. Get all the details on these events and more below:
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Skip Kohloff, "Day of the Dead Mexico," late 1990s.
Courtesy of Lisbeth Neergaard Kohloff
Black, White, Rhythm and Blues: Grand Opening Celebration and Photographic Art Auction
Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC), 1200 Lincoln Street, Suite 111
Thursday, May 18, 6 to 9 p.m.
The Colorado Photographic Arts Center introduces its spacious new digs at 1200 Lincoln Street (right by the Westword office) with a big reveal party and photographic print auction. The grand-opening party — complete with wine, brews, catered hors d’oeuvres and live jazz and R&B performed by students from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music — will keep guests fortified and ready to bid on the fifty available prints…if they haven’t already. The auction items are available to preview and bid on online here until the party ends at 9 p.m. The new facility will officially open to the public for regular viewing hours on May 26; grand-opening tickets are $150 here.
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"Omtua the Glider," by Virgil Ortiz.
Virgil Ortiz
Virgil Ortiz, Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Thursday, May 18, opening sold out

Virgil Ortiz carries on the traditions of his forebears as a potter, using centuries-old Cochiti Pueblo techniques and materials. But Ortiz addresses the future in the installation Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders, opening this week at the History Colorado Center. This futuristic incarnation of Revolt, which now centers on two integral characters, Omtua and Catua, has gone multimedia, pairing ancient Puebloan and Cochiti pottery with video projections and augmented reality to enrich the story of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, when Indigenous forces banished their Spanish oppressors from what is now New Mexico. Although the opening event is sold out, the exhibition will remain on view for an undetermined length of time.
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Sam Grabowska, "Intake" (detail).
Sam Grabowska
Recharge Room
Understudy Denver, 890 C 14th Street
Welcome Reception: Thursday, May 18, 5 to 8 p.m.; RSVP here
General Admission Drop-ins: Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, noon to 6 p.m. daily; RSVP here to receive updates on activations and programming
Sam Grabowska’s Intake, an installation at the Understudy incubator, has been open since May 5, but this weekend, its full purpose will be revealed during the activation of the Recharge Room, a free collaborative community and self-care pop-up. Inspired by Grabowska’s multimedia visuals, which create mixed-reality environments attuned to individual needs, the Recharge Room will host a reception on May 18, followed by two afternoons of scheduled drop-in art activities designed to help participants find their bliss. Reservations for specific activities are required and can be made at Eventbrite, where related events are still being added.
Reid Portscheller, “Comprehensive Map of Strategic Pedagogy: from the Teacher's Guide to Instructional Fortitude (T.G.I.F)” (detail), 2023.
Reid Portscheller
I Do / We Do / You Do
Center for Visual Art, MSU Denver, 965 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, May 18, through August 5
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 18, 6 to 8 p.m.
CVA turns its attention to the value of community and interactivity in art education and art-making by showcasing I Do / We Do / You Do, a three-part study of how art educators maintain separate practices, come together with their peers to discuss teaching challenges, and consciously work together on an installation. Some event tie-ins are being added to the CVA’s event schedule, including Culture Club, a group printmaking class and print exchange on Wednesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. ($15 to $20 at Eventbrite). Follow the CVA event page for more additions.
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Sandy Marvin, “Still Life With Dogs.”
Sandy Marvin
Sandy Marvin and Helene Strebel, New Works
Sync Gallery, 931 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, May 18, through June 11
Opening Reception: Friday, May 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

Sync’s May-June member show pairs Sandy Marvin, who captures still life and landscape in impressionistic and soft textural colors rendered in pastel, watercolor and pencil on sanded paper, with Helene Strebel, whose bold abstract compositions echo Marvin’s free style in a bolder way, with brushstrokes that merge into solid shapes and powerful colors.

Third Thursday Art Walk
Downtown Boulder
Thursday, May 18, 5 p.m.

Take a walk on the wild side during Downtown Boulder’s Third Thursday Art Walk, when more than twenty galleries and businesses open their doors to the art crowd. The May walk boasts its largest group of participating galleries ever, with a wide cross-section of arts and crafts available for viewing. Check it out and end the evening at R Gallery, a crucial cheerleader for the overall event, where the new Fuqua Shaw Rabin Jazz Trio will take the stage.
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Julie K. Anderson, “Coevolution,” (detail), porcelain sculpture.
Julie K. Anderson, courtesy of Walker Fine Art
Coalescing Connections
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue #A
Friday, May 19, through July 8
Friday, May 19, 5 to 8 p.m.

Spring brings human heat-seekers closer to nature. We come out of our houses, go on hikes and plant gardens. Coalescing Connections at Walker Fine Art is spring’s perfect art companion, with visuals inspired by flora (Brian Comber, Cara Entele), the landscape (Sara Sanderson, Sharon Strasburg) and animals (Mark Penner Howell), no matter how surreal or out-of-the-ordinary they appear on canvas, sculpted wood (Norman Epps) or in porcelain (Julie Anderson). Enjoy the view.
Jeff Wenzel, “Untitled 1,” mixed media on paper.
Jeff Wenzel, courtesy of Space Gallery
Paper Construct: Jeff Wenzel, Susan M. Gibbons, Anthony Falcetta, Monroe Hodder
Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, May 19, through June 17
Opening Reception: Friday, May 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

As you might guess, this foursome at Space Gallery is all about experimenting on paper in different mediums, diverse styles and bold compositions.
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Ceramic work by Alberto Veronica Lopez.
Courtesy of DAVA
30th Anniversary Exhibition
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, 1419 Florence Street, Aurora
Friday, May 19, through August 18
Opening Celebration: Friday, May 19, 5 to 8 p.m.

DAVA’s work with children ages three through their teens hits a new milestone, marking thirty years of mentorship and exposing the innate creativity in underserved youth in Aurora. DAVA is celebrating with a special exhibition by current students and alumni over the years; the opening is an evening of live performances and student demos, with wine and global bites to make it a party. Join DAVA’s staff, students and families to look forward to the organization’s next thirty years.
Eighth-grade Bruce Randolph student Ja’Niya Clinton’s work honoring victims of gun violence.
Ja’Niya Clinton, courtesy of RedLine
Youth Art Exhibition
RedLine Contemporary Art Center, 2350 Arapahoe Street
Friday, May 19, through June 11
Opening Reception: Friday, May 19, 5 to 9 p.m.

RedLine celebrates its own EPIC Arts youth-mentoring art program with a show of work by students at Whittier ECE-8 and Bruce Randolph Middle School, who were encouraged to try new mediums and focus on social justice topics.
Lois Lupica, "Labyrinth IV," encaustic.
Lois Lupica
Apis Opus: An Encaustic Invitational
NKollectiv, 960 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, May 19, through June 11
Opening Reception: Friday, May 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

NKollectiv owner Nicole Korbe and members Kelly Austin-Rolo and Michele Messenger all work in the medium encaustic, which involves melting beeswax together with resin and pigment and applying several layers of the paint-like mixture. The result is thick and translucent, with a beauty all its own. The trio put out a call for like-minded outside artists to participate in the show Apis Opus (a reference to the honeybee), which opens Friday with works by a total of eleven artists.
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Chelsea James, “Mind Control.”
Chelsea James
Made in Colorado
Emmanuel Gallery, 1205 10th Street Plaza, Auraria Campus
CU Denver Experience Gallery, under the garage stairway, Denver Performing Arts Complex
Saturday, May 20, through July 21
Opening Receptions: Saturday, May 20, 5 to 8 p.m.

Made in Colorado, a biennial event celebrating artists from across the state and hosted by CU Denver’s Emmanuel and CU Denver Experience galleries, is back, with a massive turnout of Colorado’s best on the walls at both locations. Juried by Smithsonian emeritus curator Kerry Brougher and art historian, educator and curator Nora Halpern of the Americans for the Arts organization and co-founder of Street Scenes: Projects for DC, the shows will remain on view through July 21.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to [email protected].
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