Five ways to kick off Denver Arts Week

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Think of Denver Arts Week as a celebration of all our city has to offer culturally, with the added incentive of sweet deals, from discounted memberships, restaurant meals and original artworks to a free Night at the Museums. But as a trip online to Denver Arts Week central reveals, there's a lot to choose from. To get you started, we've compiled five picks for this weekend; after that, you're on your own.

See also: Denver Arts Week

Know Your Arts First Friday 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, November 1 Various metro area locations Free

On November 1, it's First Friday under a magnifying glass, and all of Denver's arts districts -- from jam-packed Santa Fe Drive to the warehouse jungle of RiNo (and even a few spots outside the city limits, like Lakewood's 40 West) -- will be pulling out the stops to showcase what they do all year long. It's an art party of citywide magnitude that you won't want to miss.

Chance to Dance 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, November 2 McNichols Building Free, sign up in advance to perform on the open stage

Family-friendly and designed to get you moving, Chance to Dance is a showcase spotlighting the diversity of Denver's best dance companies and schools, where you can watch an African dance performance by Cleo Parker Robinson's troupe, learn the rudiments of belly dance at an on-the-spot class or even perform your own five-minute routine on the open stage (sign up for a time here).

Night at the Museums at the Kirkland Museum. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 2 Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art Free

Night at the Museums whisks you off on free shuttles to such popular destinations as the Denver Art Museum, History Colorado and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a gratis evening of exploration, but for something truly unique, we recommend taking advantage of the deal to wander the Kirkland, a temple to the work and life of Denver-based painter Vance Kirkland. The Kirkland will also be featuring membership deals starting at $25 and, just for fun, a social-media photo contest in honor of its tenth anniversary: Take ten photos of your favorite artworks and objets at the museum and post them on the Kirkland's Facebook page for a chance to win prizes.

PechaKucha Denver! Volume 20: Public Art 8 to10 p.m. Saturday, November 2 McNichols Building Free, register or make a donation in advance

Want to know what local artists are really all about? Denver's PechaKucha crew periodically presents sessions of quick-time slide presentations on a theme throughout the year. At PechaKucha Night Denver! Volume 20 at the McNichols Building, a group of notable painters, photographers, sculptors and arts movers and shakers will present their views and later mingle with the crowd over drinks and tunes by DJ Fast4ward. The event is free, but pre-registration is a must -- what are you waiting for?

Visionbox Open Rehearsal: American Classical Realism 6:30 p.m. Sunday, November 3 Skylite Station, 910 Arts Free

Denver Arts Week theater ticket deals abound at the hottest venues in town, but this is a chance to get a backstage view at Visionbox's open rehearsal, where student actors will share their process in a series of scenes-in-progress, focusing on works by such American playwrights as Lynn Nottage, Edward Albee, Lillian Hellman and Tennessee Williams. Noshes and a cash bar round out the evening.

To download a complete schedule or just explore Denver Arts Week deals and events, visit the Denver Arts Week interactive website.

To keep up with the Froyd's eye-view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

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