Visual Arts

First Friday: Shine a light

Small works, affordable art, crafty items, the unexpected: Tonight's First Friday Artwalk will no doubt feature plenty of them all, regardless of whichever urban quarter you land in. And that's a good thing: Not only do local artists have to eat like the rest of us, but everyone benefits from making/giving/owning a work of art. But it's also not all about buying and selling. It's also, as always, about seeing and schmoozing and appreciating art. Here's where to do it.

Art District on Santa Fe

In addition to a number of holiday shows up and down the drive, now lit up Southwestern-style with luminarias through January 7, the Art District's artwalk affords another bright opportunity to check out Art District Best of 2010, at eventgallery 910Arts, 910 Santa Fe Drive, through mid-January. Aerial Acrobats and the Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio perform during tonight's reception from 6 to 9 p.m.

Next door at Spark, shows by John Matlack and Annalee Schorr continue through December 12, and Sue Crosby Doyle, Meg Ingraham and Cal Duran hold forth at CORE New Art Space through December 19. Catch 'em while you can.

River North Art District

RiNo is bustling on this wintry eve: Of special note are openings at Pattern Shop Studio, 3349 Blake Street (Strange Attractors, new works from artists Roger Rapp and Jeff Richards); Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer Street (Heroic Paintings, works by Nick Musaelian, and Awakening Dreams, paintings by Xi Zhang, both through January 15); Plinth Gallery, 3520 Brighton Boulevard (Modern Moche, new ceramic work by Plinth resident artist Jonathan Kaplan, through January 29); and RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street (works by RedLine founders Laura Merage and Tom Guiton). Shopping opportunities also abound: To start off, Designhaus Denver, 3939 Williams Street, is hosting its annual Holiday Marketplatz: Shop, featuring unique handcrafted items by local artists, both tonight and next Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. The Chocolate Crisis Center, 3370 Walnut Street, a clever local enterprise that basically equates chocolate with medicine using med-bottle motifs and the like, will host a Holiday Open House with chocolate tasting and shopping deals from 4 to 8 p.m. And RiNo residents Viviane Le Courtois (the artist) and Christopher Perez (the photographer) are hosting a cozy art sale of their works, priced from $50 to $1,000, at 1316 29th Street. Stop by for tea and cookies from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight or 1 to 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Check the RiNo website for other worthwhile stops. There are many!

Tennyson Street

Stop by Sellars Project Space, 4383 Tennyson Street, for the gallery's annual departure from strict fine art exhibitions: Boutique in a Box, which features a salable mixture of handmade works and fine art by local, national and international artisans for the holidays, is on tonight from 6 to 9 p.m.

Or make your own gifts -- for others or yourself -- at the EvB Studios First Friday make-and-take mini-shop. This month's project, Ornamental, allows you to make a clay ornament and come back for it after it's been fired, all for only ten bucks. Stop by the work table between 6 and 9 p.m.; the studio is next to the Oriental Theatre at 4344 44th Avenue.

Golden Triangle/South Broadway

Local artists celebrate the city where they live and work at Illiterate's group show Mile High on the Map, which opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m.; a few days later, Illiterate will also host a comic talk and draw with Colorado comic artist Scorpio Steele from 7 to 10 p.m. December 5 (admission is $8). Illiterate is at 82 South Broadway.

Next door, graphic art hotbed INDYINK has Gift of Getting, a group show and sale of affordable indie artwork for the holidays, all of it priced under $100. Go crazy. Check out the works from 7 to 11 p.m.

Navajo Art District

New shows on Navajo Street include the fascinating Considering Joseph: Fathers After Feminism, a group show curated by Heather Doyle-Maier with works by twenty local artists reflecting on contemporary fatherhood at Edge, 3658 Navajo Street. It opens today and continues through December 19 . And Bug and Jennifer Miller are at Pirate: Contemporary Art, 3655 Navajo Street, also through the 19th.
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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