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Gallery Sketches: Five New Shows for First Friday (and Saturday) in Denver

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June brings fun and games — and lots of color — to Denver galleries with a First Friday grab-bag of shows to satisfy every taste. The weather’s great for an art stroll or two or three; here are some spots to put on your itinerary.
The Nkisi Project
965 Gallery, Center for Visual Art/MSUD
June 3 through July 2
Opening reception:  6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 3

Denver artist Sarah Rockett is the engine behind the continuing Nkisi Project, along with co-curators Ashley Frazier and Peter Yumi, but the group installation is all about the power of community, and no single person takes top billing in the resulting display. A massive wooden framework studded with personal power figures from 67 collaborators from Denver and across the nation, the work is inspired by the idea that the act of working together can manifest change. That’s some serious juju, and it all begins at the June 3 reception with a "ceremonial activation performance" by Lisa Corine von Koch.
Martha Hughes: How Did I Get Here
Rule Gallery
June 3 through July 16
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 3

Rule Gallery starts the summer with a cultural exchange: While Denver artist Margaret Neumann’s work is on display at the gallery’s Marfa outpost in Texas, Marfa painter Martha Hughes will have a show at Rule Denver. See her large canvases, crisscrossed with swatches of pure color, at the June 3 reception and through the middle of July.

Creatures Return
Zip 37 Gallery
June 3 through 19
Opening reception: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 3

Zip 37 has fun with the large group exhibit Creatures Return, a show steeped in the animal world that’s becoming a tradition at the Navajo Street co-op. And there’s a lot to see in this menagerie, including Dede LaRue’s whimsical papier-mâché animals; assemblages from Deborah Jang, Claudia Roulier and Jerry Simpson; and a whole lot more.
Lowbrow Birthday Custom Toy Show
Lowbrow
June 3 through 29
Opening reception: 7p.m. Friday, June 3

Little Lowbrow in Baker celebrates its fourth birthday with an annual custom-toy blowout featuring variations on the blank vinyl “Stomper” figure from Rocket Design. More than thirty artists were invited to decorate the toys, and Lowbrow has also done some sprucing up for the occasion, with lots of glitter and a storefront facelift by muralist Thomas Scharfenberg. Extra perk: Photo Bus DNVR will be parked out front for photo-booth fun.
Lonnie Hanzon: From the Chest
The Wizard’s Chest
June 4 through July 6
Opening reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 4

Local art wizard Lonnie Hanzon’s art is seen in the strangest places, from the spectacular annual holiday light show at the Houston Zoo to swanky department-store displays, but he’s never shown work in a toy store — until now. The new Wizard’s Chest on Broadway pays homage to the man who helped turned the shop into a whimsical castle with an art exhibit all his own, full of small works and fanciful drawings straight from Hanzon’s studio drawers and sketchbook pages. Play!

Want more? See the Westword event listings for current gallery and art museum exhibitions and openings in the metro area.

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