Arts and Culture

Denver Arts Week: Mile High Culture and Where to Find It

The best thing about Denver Arts Week? It amplifies what we have here all year along, and especially in mid-fall, when local culture is completely up and running for a bright new season. From November 4 through 12, it’s the best chance you’ll have this year to explore what’s happening culturally, downtown and all over the Denver metro area — call it a smorgasbord of the arts with bargain prices. It can be difficult to navigate through Denver Arts Week, though, with so much going on, so we’re here to help with this primer on how and where to get started. Happy arting!

Pick a Deal
Regional arts organizations across the cultural gamut will be bending over backward for you, just to nudge you into the groove of coming back for more during Denver Arts Week, because, yeah: Collecting art can be addictive once you’ve put your money down on one thing you love for the first time. To that end, some galleries will be offering $52.80 art deals and more, while local restaurants, hotels, museums, theaters and performance groups will entice with a barrage of discounts, BOGOs and $52.80s. You can’t go wrong. Go online for a listing of deals galore, from daily penny admission at MCA Denver to free admission with an audio tour at the American Museum of Western Art on November 7.

Know Your Arts First Friday
Friday, November 4, in seven metro Denver arts districts
The First Friday in November traditionally marks the kickoff of Denver Arts Week by showcasing what technically happens in art districts all over town on every First Friday of the year — but with added incentives. In RiNo, it’s an opportunity to hitch a ride with the RiNo VIP Studio Tour bus, an exclusive guided voyage to some of the district’s hottest art spots from 5 to 9 p.m. Your ticket to ride is $26.40 plus fees, and advance reservations are a must. And in the Art District on Santa Fe, the neighborhood will be celebrating its roots with Día de los Muertos celebrations at the Museo de las Americas and along the gallery strip. Other districts participating include the Golden Triangle, Navajo Street Art District, Tennyson Street Cultural District, and in Lakewood, Belmar’s Block 7 and the 40 West Arts District.
Free Night at the Museums
5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 5

Twelve Denver museums (as well as Four Mile Historic Park and a quartet of Golden arts venues) will open their gates to all for free on November 5, giving curious newcomers and longtime fans a chance to discover or rediscover some of the metro area’s most essential cultural cornerstones. Some highlights include live demos at the new Science Pyramid and a rare nighttime stroll through the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens, a performance of the one-act bilingual opera En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words at 6:30 p.m. at the History Colorado Center and a possible interaction with Titanic survivor Molly Brown herself at the Molly Brown House Museum, but that’s only the tip of a massive iceberg. Find a complete listing of participating venues online, and make your travels easy by taking the free shuttle service provided; get an online interactive map of all the routes at the Visit Denver website.
Try Something Different
Even the little guys get into the act during Denver Arts Week, and places you might not have known existed get a share of the spotlight, right along with the big SCFD heavy-hitters. And that includes fun events geared toward little guys of the human persuasion, too.

What’s out there? The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, now settled in its new home along the West Colfax corridor, pays homage to politics and presidents with the exhibit Patchwork Pundits Take on Politics, complemented by a display of portrait quilts from the Presidential Quilt Project, now through Christmas.

Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver’s premier writing school, will host a writing seminar on polishing dialogue with author Margot Livesey from 4 to 6 p.m. November 4, followed by a free public reception, reading and Q&A with the best-selling author at 6:30 p.m. Take advantage of a $52.80 special for the workshop by reserving at 303-297-1185, or just drop by later for the reading.

Arts Street youth artists, ages 14 to 20, from the Youth Employment Academy High School wax on the pleasure of the bicycle for The Curious Road: Life of a Bike. Find Arts Street’s show in the back-alley Wandering Art Gallery, 853 Inca Street, Suite 6, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. during First Friday, November 4.

The whole family will enjoy the Magic of Theatre, a free backstage primer on stagecraft, presented by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the Jones Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 7.  And what could more familial than a hands-on, edible pancake-art session, complete with gooey squeeze bottles full of batter, offered daily at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus? The museum has a lot more Denver Arts Week fun planned, including a lion dance performed by Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu at noon on November 12.

Go online to find more Denver Arts Week hidden gems and family-friendly events.
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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