Art News

Five Psychedelic Art Galleries to Check Out in Denver

Spectra Art Space's immersive installation, Spookadelia.
Spectra Art Space's immersive installation, Spookadelia. Timothy Johnstone
Colorado's legalization of marijuana caused many visionary artists to move to Denver, where they hoped they'd find a scene free of the rigid mentality regarding what constitutes fine art, according to local muralist A.L. Grime. As a result, Denver has many galleries showcasing psychedelic paintings and digital art, dripping with fractals, that you won't find in more established arts cities such as New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

After a toke, there's almost no better activity than exploring galleries — especially ones filled with art that seems to be made for high people, by high people. And even if you don't get high, the works in these galleries can provide a similar effect. While Denver also has psychedelic immersive installations such as Meow Wolf's Convergence Station, it's always rewarding to show some love to smaller spots highlighting local creatives and curators.

Make it your 2023 resolution to visit some of Denver's psychedelic galleries. Here are five good places to start:
click to enlarge
An example of graffiti artist Peeta's dimensional artwork.
Peeta, courtesy of Ryan Joseph Gallery
Ryan Joseph Gallery
2647 West 38th Avenue
The curatorial team at Ryan Joseph Gallery really knows what it's doing, and you could find the next Salvador Dalí in the mind-bending works here. The gallery leans toward surrealist pieces imbued with mysterious meanings and intentions, created by both local and international artists. A solo exhibition by Peeta is on view until January 11, showcasing paintings rendered so meticulously that at first glance they appear to be 3D sculptures.
click to enlarge
A poster panel from a triptych by Android Jones.
Courtesy of Android Jones
Threyda
878 Santa Fe Drive
Not only does Threyda host a collective of visionary artists, but it also sells apparel, usually emblazoned with the artwork you'll find here. One of Threyda's recent exhibits focused on Android Jones, a pioneer of modern visionary art whose work has been projected on the Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building. Gallery hours are by appointment only, Monday through Friday, but pop in any time between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. And watch for the next First Friday, when the gallery comes alive with live painters and DJ sets.
click to enlarge
"Bloom" by Emily Kell.
Courtesy Emily Kell
The Medusa Collective
7140 Hooker Street, Westminster
Local artists/muralists Amanda Wolf and Gina Ilczyszyn launched their gallery, the Medusa Collective, at Westminster's rail-station development area in December 2021, and it's been full speed ahead since then. Starting Saturday, January 14, the artwork of visionary artist Emily Kell will be on view in her solo exhibit, Keeping the Thread
click to enlarge
Timothy Johnstone

Spectra Art Space
1836 South Broadway
Sadie Young created Spectra Art Space to embody the music festival spirit, and she's succeeded with annual psychedelic immersive installations like Spookadelia, which has extended its stay through February this year. The gallery also has a permanent immersive installation by Marina Fini called Spectra Spa, imbuing two rooms with a vapor-wave aesthetic that you'll find yourself returning to several times in just one trip to the gallery.
click to enlarge
A painting by Randal Roberts.
@randalrobertsart Instagram
Mirus Gallery and Art Bar
1144 Broadway
Want to start collecting art in 2023? Mirus is starting off the year with a group show of talented Denver artists whose work is sure to capture each and every viewer. The exhibition, Local Menagerie, opens on Friday, January 20, and will include pieces from such visionary artists as Randal Roberts, Morgan Mandala, Kirstie Connon and more.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Emily Ferguson is Westword's Culture Editor, covering Denver's flourishing arts and music scene. Before landing this position, she worked as an editor at local and national political publications and held some odd jobs suited to her odd personality, including selling grilled cheese sandwiches at music festivals and performing with fire. Emily also writes on the arts for the Wall Street Journal and is an oil painter in her free time.
Contact: Emily Ferguson

Latest Stories