Holiday shopping continues to intersect with art adventures, as do open houses, ambitious new exhibitions, pop-ups and even a contemporary monument. In addition to the lucky thirteen events on this list, there are more art-related activities and shows highlighted in this week’s 21 Best Events in Denver. Get out and boost your local artists!
Joel Swanson, Eight-and-a-Half-by-Eleven
Cody Hudson, I Came Home
David B. Smith Gallery, 1543 Wazee Street
December 13 through January 18
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
In his third solo at David B. Smith, Joel Swanson sidesteps his familiar use of characters and words to approach the power of language expressly through writing implements — from gridded Pink Pearl erasers to works rendered in highlighter fluid. Chicago-based artist Cody Hudson checks into the project space with a solo show of abstract color-block paintings that play with the landscape, hung against a background mural.
Firehouse Art Center, 667 Fourth Avenue, Longmont
Through January 5
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 6 to 9 p.m.
Las Vegas-based piñata artist Justin Favela, a favorite in Colorado, and his inspirational grandmother have been toiling at Firehouse since their arrival in late November to build a massive nativity scene from cut crepe paper, with help along the way from students and community members. See their progress and check in on the South Gallery — where artist-in-residence Chelsea Gilmore has been at work — during the art center’s Second Friday festivities, which also includes a Winter Market featuring Firehouse artist members upstairs in Studio C.
The Future Is Feminine
Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street
December 13 through January 17
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
RedLine director Louise Martorano juried this national show exploring themes of femininity in a variety of mediums. Along with the juried work, ASLD will fete artists in its Art Restart Program at the Gathering Place with a companion exhibit of their own.
"Shine Piece (After Yoko)"
The Temple, 2400 Curtis Street
Friday, December 13, 7 p.m.
In conjunction with the Hexus Collective’s Altar(er) Hex exhibition, now up through January 3 at the Temple, experience the performance work "Shine Piece (After Yoko)" on Friday the Thirteenth — inspired by Yoko Ono’s seminal 1965 performance "Cut," during which audience members were given scissors and instructed to cut away at Ono’s clothing, "Shine Piece" reverses the directive by inviting people to give healing offerings to the performer.
D’art Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
December 12 through 22
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 5 to 9 p.m.
D’art members celebrate their first holiday season as a co-op with a traditional small-works show of giftable, affordable art. Though it’s only up for a little more than a week, there will be a second reception on Third Friday, December 20, and in between, the gallery is open Thursday through Sunday. Give art!
Arturo Garcia Fine Art, 4040 Morrison Road
Friday, December 13, 5 to 8 p.m.
Impressionistic painter Arturo Garcia, whose vibrantly colorful paintings of animals, cultural portraits and scenery have garnered a following, will open his Westwood studio to visitors for art shmoozing, music and refreshments. An RSVP is appreciated for planning purposes: Email, or text to 720-495-1407.
Lisa Luree and Kim Anderson, Nature of the Beast
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street in Belmar, Lakewood
December 11 through January 5
Saturday, December 14, 5 to 9 p.m.
Two Valkarie favorites — Lisa Luree, known for her wild and surreal paintings of skeletons and forest creatures, and Kim Anderson, who makes wall-hung ceramic and mixed-media sculptures with spiritual and symbolic cultural themes — get a prime holiday spot in December to show off some prized and highly giftable artwork that will look great alongside a concurrent Mad Tatters guest exhibition. Theremin player Victoria Lundy will perform “beast-themed” music at the reception, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Gallery 1261, 1412 Wazee Street
December 14 through 28
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 14, 6 to 8 p.m.
One of 1261’s more popular shows, Contemporary Realism is a bonanza for representational-art collectors, offering imagery that ranges from hyper-real to surreal to conceptual. With more than twenty artists participating, the selection is all over the board. Happy hunting.
Art Hub Holiday Party
Core New Art Space, Edge Gallery, Flourish, Kanon Collective and Next Gallery, Pasternack’s Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Saturday, December 14, noon to 5 p.m.
The galleries of Pasternack’s, already stocked up with small works and holiday-friendly shows, are throwing a party just for the hell of it — to invite friends and newcomers to check out the spaces and shop for unique gifts, all while enjoying gratis bites and warm drinks.
Daniel Luna Art Show and Reception
Bonacquisti Wine Company, 640 Pecos Street
Saturday, December 14, noon to 5 p.m.
Colorado Chicano artist Daniel Luna references personal cultural themes and mythologies in his vivid story paintings and painted flowerpots. He’s also responsible for the artwork on Bonacquisti Wine Company’s labels, which in part explains why he’s exhibiting his work at the local winery. Luna’s sister Susan Luna will also be in the house with items from her Lunapparel athletic-wear line.
MissMe Artist Talk + Pop-Up
Charley Co., Source Hotel and Market Hall, 3350 Brighton Boulevard
Artist Talk: Saturday, December 14, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Pop-Up Shop: Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Artist talk is free, space limited, RSVP at evenbrite.com
Montreal’s masked outlaw wheat-paste graffitist MissMe returns to the Source for a Saturday artist talk and a two-day limited-edition merch pop-up, featuring T-shirts, stickers and a new line of raw, in-your-face jewelry from LITZI.
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Arts and Pottery Sale
Washington Heights Arts Center, 6375 West First Avenue, Lakewood
Saturday, December 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Washington Heights Arts Center, at home in what was once an early twentieth-century schoolhouse in Lakewood, now offers education of a different sort, through art classes for all ages in pottery, weaving, drawing, painting, papermaking, jewelry and metals, mosaics and more. See what the center’s artist-denizens have been up to at this sale of work by local artists.
Jaime Carrejo, If once we ever were
Colorado Convention Center Plaza
Through January 31
Opening Reception: Tuesday, December 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Sip | eat + drink, 891 14th Street
Black Cube’s half-year Monumental project of installations commenting on the role and meaning of public art specific to Denver comes to an end with a final puzzle piece: Jaime Carrejo’s “If once we ever were,” a triumphal arch built from chain-link fencing and evocative of the struggles of migrants in Colorado, with plans to eventually cover it with artificial flowers hand-sewn by immigrants as a symbol of hope. The installation is directly across the street from Sip | eat + drink, the location for the reception.