This weekend, the hills will boast peak leaf-peeping opportunities for those willing to brave the traffic (and shell out for gas). But here in Denver, you'll find many golden (and free) opportunities to enjoy yourself: You can help the Black American West Museum win a big grant (and enjoy music by the Spirituals Project in the process), chase butterflies with the Big Read, and experience a true first on First Friday.
2019 NEA Big Read Events
Friday, October 4, 5 to 9 p.m.
Museo de Las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive
Butterfly Effect Opening Reception
Friday, October 4, 6 to 8 p.m.
Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race Street
Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver Arts & Venues and the Denver Public Library have organized a citywide celebration of In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, part of the NEA's Big Read program. From 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, the Museo de Las Americas will host "Sacred Spaces," a chance to create art and writings connected to the themes of the book. From 6 to 8 p.m., Lighthouse will host an opening reception for Butterfly Effect, an exhibition exploring the ways political resistance ripples through a family, a community and a nation.
Metamorphus Meditation Portal
Friday, October 4, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Denver Art Market, 766 Santa Fe Drive
Artist Matt Worldly has been painting the interior of a building for sale at 766 Santa Fe Drive, filling it with neon art that creates a portal into another dimension. Originally he just wanted a one-day show; now he's hoping to buy the place. But first, he's inviting everyone to experience Metamorphus, "a 7 Step Transformative Meditation portal designed to guide people in to open up in order to connect with their spirit." It's a First Friday first! Advises Worldly, "Come get your face painted and dance in the cosmos!" There's more, lots more, but you'll have to see Metamorphus to believe it, and recognize "an infinite universe of astonishing possibilities." Find out more about Metamorphus here.
Black American West Museum Open House
Saturday, October 5, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
3091 California Street
The Dr. Justina Ford House, home to the Black American West Museum, is in the running for a $150,000 Partners in Preservation grant. The first African-American woman to practice medicine in Denver, Ford wasn't allowed privileges at local hospitals. Instead, she welcomed patients to her circa 1890 home in Five Points; between 1911 and 1952, she delivered more than 7,000 babies. Now you can deliver for her by voting to support this Denver landmark at voteyourmainstreet.org/denver. To see what you're helping to save, stop by the museum Saturday for a free open house when you can tour the building, meet historical re-enactors depicting the true history of African-Americans in the West, and catch a special performance by the Spirituals Project choir at 2 p.m. Find out more about the museum here.
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Nigeria Day in Colorado: Showing Off Our Greatness
Saturday, October 5, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Lowry Park Shelter 1, 1001 Dayton Street, Aurora
This free celebration of Nigeria's independence (this is the 59th anniversary) is the first of its kind, planned as an annual event to highlight the culture of Nigeria. The organizers say they were "inspired by the deterioration of peace and prosperity among African countries, and the intense need for positive conversation." Join them and experience plenty of positivity on Saturday.
Family of Four: Free Family Concert With the Ivalas Quartet
Sunday, October 6, 2 p.m.
Denver School of the Arts, 7111 Montview Boulevard
The Friends of Chamber Music are presenting a family-friendly musical afternoon with the Ivalas Quartet, the University of Colorado Boulder's new Graduate String Quartet in Residence, with violinists Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violist Aimée McAnulty and cellist Pedro Sánchez. The program includes works by Joseph Haydn, Astor Piazzolla and George Walker; explore how this dynamic quartet — a family of another kind — works through various family dynamics to reach true musical harmony. There will be refreshments and hands-on activities following the interactive program. No tickets are required; for more information, visit friendsofchambermusic.com.
And a bonus that will cost you just a penny:
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Penny Saturday
Saturday, October 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1485 Delgany Street
Admission to MCA Denver is just a penny for Colorado residents this Saturday, when they can catch three new exhibits: Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler: Flora and Stacey Steers: Edge of Alchemy. These thought-provoking displays all offer poignant and humanizing portraits of artists both well-known and under-recognized. See them and then share your two cents' worth.