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Joel Swanson, “I Know What You Are But What Am I.”
Joel Swanson, “I Know What You Are But What Am I.”
Joel Swanson, courtesy of Arts Brookfield

Fifteen Things for Art Lovers to Do on First Friday Weekend

Spring is here, and so is art — it's popping up all over, with something for everyone over a First Friday weekend that promises sunshiny weather. Retrospectives, installations in alternative spaces, surprise pop-ups, a show-and-tell session and some spooky fun are all part of this week’s roundup of fifteen picks.

Fifteen Things for Art Lovers to Do on First Friday Weekend
Joel Swanson, courtesy of Arts Brookfield

Joel Swanson, In Other Words
Republic Plaza Building, 370 17th Street
Through June 12
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Joel Swanson’s interest in the shape and physical formation of words and how to subvert their meaning takes many forms: neon and blinking lights, puzzles and codes, punctuation, metal sculpture, dingbat objects, animation, digital prints and ampersands drawn in endless rows on a museum wall, to name a few. It’s a cool and cerebral view that he takes, and you’ll see a little bit of everything, new and old, in this Arts Brookfield-sponsored exhibition at Republic Plaza.

Mike Whiting,“Drift," automotive paint on 1987 BMW 325i hood.EXPAND
Mike Whiting,“Drift," automotive paint on 1987 BMW 325i hood.
Mike Whiting, Plus Gallery

Mike Whiting, Daily Driver
Plus Gallery at 808 Projects, 808 Santa Fe Drive
April 4 through May 12
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 4, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Can’t get enough of Mike Whiting’s pixilated metal creations after last year’s outdoor installation at the Denver Botanic Gardens? Plus Gallery, a venue without a brick-and-mortar home, will pop up in the 808 Projects space on Santa Fe Drive with less monumental but nonetheless engaging Whiting sculptures on an automotive theme for Daily Driver. The exhibition includes decorated car hoods, striped paintings on steel and the tour de force, Whiting’s unauthorized version of a BMW Art Car parked out front. If you can’t make the opening, take a spin on First Fridays in April and May.

Hayley Dixon dresses up the Storeroom's windows for spring.EXPAND
Hayley Dixon dresses up the Storeroom's windows for spring.
Hayley Dixon

Hayley Dixon, Spring Formal
The Storeroom, 1700 Vine Street
April 4 through May 30
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 4, 6 to 9 p.m.

April opens with a two-month installation at the Storeroom, a peek-in East 17th Avenue storefront gallery viewed from the street. Artist Hayley Dixon takes over this spring with Spring Formal, an illuminated vignette inspired by the season’s natural awakenings. Have a look and then drop in for a brew next door at Vine Street Pub.

A still from Todd Herman's short film “Cabinet.”
A still from Todd Herman's short film “Cabinet.”
Todd Herman'

Phantom Fun Times at VMG: Part One
Vicki Myhren Gallery, 2121 East Asbury Avenue
Thursday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

It’s only fitting that programming in conjunction with the Myhren Gallery’s photography show Ghostly Traces includes some spooky stuff — like Phantom Fun Times, a two-part participatory party evening of sophisticated scares on a ghostly theme. On April 4, the gallery is hosting a screening of photographer/filmmaker Todd Herman's short film “Cabinet,” followed by a hands-on Exquisite Corpse collage workshop. And snacks! The second Phantom Fun Times event follows on April 19.

Leah Diament helps close out Month of Photography at Cooper & Dash.EXPAND
Leah Diament helps close out Month of Photography at Cooper & Dash.
Leah Diament

Leah Diament, I Have Words
Cooper & Dash, 1441 Wazee Street, Unit 103
April 4 through 30
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 4, 6 to 8 p.m.

Street photographer and portraitist Leah Diament gets a solo showcase in this late-entry Month of Photography exhibition in the downtown gift shop Cooper & Dash. In addition to her documentary work and portraits, Diament also favors cyanotypes.

Melanie Walker, " Househead Chronicles."
Melanie Walker, " Househead Chronicles."
Melanie Walker,

Whichcraft
Next Stage Gallery, 1025 13th Street
April 4 through 27
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 4, 5 to 8 p.m.

The University of Colorado Denver’s Next Stage Gallery, hidden away in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, hosts another late MoP show, this one a phenomenal trio by Carol Golemboski, Melanie Walker and Mariana Vieira, curated by CU senior art student Sharifa Moore. All of the photographers stretch the limits of photographic alchemy: last, but not at all least.

Athena Project’s Artists’ Night Out
Next Gallery, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Unit B, Lakewood
Opening Reception:
Thursday, April 4, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Women artists and creatives rule at these free Artists’ Night Out show-and-tell events hosted by female-centric culture machine the Athena Project, where they are given the floor for quickie presentations of what they do. No, there is no hook — or judgment — involved, just appreciation from fellow artists who are there to share experiences. Open to all disciplines.

Come see some old friends by Sharon Brown at Pattern Shop Gallery.
Come see some old friends by Sharon Brown at Pattern Shop Gallery.
Sharon Brown

Sharon Brown, Rarely and Barely Seen
Pattern Shop Studio, 3349 Blake Street
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Sharon Brown opens the doors at Pattern Shop, a gallery inside her fabulous RiNo home in a renovated century-old industrial building, for a retrospective-style exhibition of figurative paintings and portraits that she’s made over the years. A RiNo stalwart from the days when the district was mainly home to a grassroots artists colony, Brown brings back a taste of the past for First Friday. The show remains on view throughout the spring.

Wearable art by Sabin Aell.
Wearable art by Sabin Aell.
Sabin Aell

Sabin Aell & the Art of Adornment
Slo Curio, 3377 Blake Street, #102
April 5 through 30
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

A former denizen of the old RiNo before losing artist compound Hinterland to redevelopment, Sabin Aell shows another side of her art practice — an unusual line of contemporary jewelry — at the lifestyle shop Slo Curio. Strung into free-form dangles with found objects, beads and other unlikely materials, each piece of Aell’s jewelry does double duty as a complex art object.

You're Majesty
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
April 5 through 30
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Alto’s latest is a small-group mixed bag of colorful new work from illustrator Sofie Birkin, muralists Pol Corona and Victor Escobedo, and Tanner Wilson, who borrows from Russian Orthodox church imagery. This fresh exhibition unfolds in bright colors, rife with mythical and religious symbolism.

Artilicious
Foolproof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
April 5 through May 18
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Free, RSVP at eventbrite.com

Foolproof debuts a new round of work by more than thirty member artists, many of whom came up in Denver’s co-op culture, arranged in a melee of styles, mediums and subject matter. It’s always a party at Foolproof openings, and there’s an option to register for more sophisticated private pre-parties. E-mail curator@foolproofcontemporaryart.com for more information.

Find new altered books by Valerie Savarie at Balefire.EXPAND
Find new altered books by Valerie Savarie at Balefire.
Valerie Savarie

Valerie Savarie, Tell Me a Story
Balefire Goods, 7417 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
April 5 through 28
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 6 to 8 p.m
.
Altered-book artist Valerie Savarie begins with a book and ends up with a three-dimensional sculpture by cutting, pasting, sewing and carving the pages within, resulting in charming, layered book dioramas. Savarie takes a break from her Lakewood studio/gallery space Valkarie for a solo at Balefire in Olde Town Arvada.

Fifteen Things for Art Lovers to Do on First Friday WeekendEXPAND
Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt

Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt, Altered States of Beauty
ATC DEN, 3420 Larimer Street
Reception: Saturday, April 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
$10 to $15 donation, RSVP requested

Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt, a member of Denver’s artist community, has been documenting her heartbreaking personal experience with continuing metastasized breast cancer with candor and camera, and now is inviting other women to do the same. Vukadin-Hoitt’s visual diary is the heart of the one-night show Altered State of Beauty, but she hopes other women will also share photos for what could become an ongoing documentary project.

A video still from Drew Austin's Lull installation at Understudy.EXPAND
A video still from Drew Austin's Lull installation at Understudy.
Drew Austin

Drew Austin, Lull
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street
April 7 through 28
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 6, 7 to 10 p.m.
New Genres Collective performance: Saturday, April 13, 8 to 10 p.m.
Open installation hours: 7 to 10 p.m. nightly, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Artist Drew Austin thinks big — and very, very small — for his multimedia installation at Understudy, which begins with video footage focused on visual minutiae. Enhanced by reflective mylar, light effects and sound for a big finish, the experiential room puts the push-pull of urban impingements on nature in perspective. A performance by the New Genres Collective within the installation will ramp up the message on April 13.

Jack Ludlam's marine photo-imagery.EXPAND
Jack Ludlam's marine photo-imagery.
Jack Ludlam

Jack Ludlam: Imaginary Waters
Coleman Mummery: Everyone Is Evil and I’m Evil 2
Dateline, 3004 Larimer Street
April 6 through 30
Open Reception: Saturday, April 6, 6 to 11 p.m.

Dateline splits in two in April for a pair of separate shows: Jack Ludlum’s Imaginary Waters, a collection of illustrative black-and-white photo imagery with a marine theme in this landlocked state, and Coleman Mummery’s Everyone Is Evil and I’m Evil 2, an exhibition of trash-like imagery of resin and goo.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to editorial@westword.com. For more events this weekend, see our 21 Best Things to Do in Denver.

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