Arts and Culture

Seven Free Arts Events at Doors Open Denver This Weekend

Since stepping in to take over the citywide Doors Open Denver in 2014, the Denver Architectural Foundation has taken great strides toward growing the event and making it more accessible to a diverse audience. This year, the programming will include architecture-inspired urban arts and cultural events bankrolled by the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Looking for an offbeat adventure that still refers to architecture, in keeping with the spirit of Doors Open Denver? Here's where to find it this weekend.
1. Toluwanimi Obiwole, Sarah Rockett and Ramón Bonilla
1 to 2 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24

Denver's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate Toluwanimi Obiwole represents for the city's up-and-coming slam poets at RedLine with Uncovering Home, a multimedia performance addressing one of our hottest civic topics: changing population and gentrification. In tandem with Obiwole, RedLine residents Sarah Rockett and Ramón Bonilla will get in on the act with complementary installations, including Rockett's participatory wall structure built from discarded materials, which invites visitors to carry on the conversation in their own words by writing on the wall, and Bonilla's site-specific black-tape mural-in-progress. Be a part of the creative process!
2. SoundDown Party Silent Disco
Youth on Record
6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 23 (silent disco at 7:30 p.m.)

The Flobots' music nonprofit and gathering place Youth on Record and SoundDown Party will join forces to throw a street party and noise-free silent disco to showcase YOR's state-of-the-art digs and recording studio in the Mariposa development near Auraria. Enjoy food truck fare, tours, chalk art and ice cream beginning at 6 p.m., and get ready to don headphones and dance the night away at 7:30 p.m. RSVP in advance to [email protected], and you'll also be entered in a drawing to win special YOR goodies.
3. Black Cube Pop-Up Art Exhibition: New Brutal 2
La Alma/Lincoln Park Amphitheater
3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23 (artist talk at 5 p.m.)
Denver artist Derrick Velasquez expands on the hot-button topics explored late last year by his New Brutal installation in the unfinished Stanley Marketplace with New Brutal 2, a 28-foot outdoor sculpture that comments on shoddy and ersatz architecture in new-urban developments. A living lesson in planned obsolescence, New Brutal 2 will stand – and perhaps fall down – in the amphitheater at Lincoln/La Alma Park; after the April 23 opening event and artist lecture, manned visiting hours continue at the park on Thursdays and Fridays through May 13, if you want to check up on the installation's de-evolution.
4. Moxie Mobile Art Studio
Argo Park, Globeville
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 23

These days, there's a truck for everything. The rolling Moxie Mobile brings the Art Students League of Denver's intensive style of art instruction to the people at Globeville's Argo Park for a pop-up clinic in collaboration with woodblock printing studio Drive By Press. Participants are invited to carve an easy linocut image to print on a free tote bag, or use pre-cut blocks depicting iconic buildings of Globeville and Denver. Look for the bright-red van and get creative.

Keep reading for more art activities this weekend.

5. Grannie Does Graffiti: Art Pop-Up
Clyfford Still Museum lawn
1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 23
Corky Gonzales Branch Library
1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 24

Another pop-up project tailored to the AARP generation will be making two stops over the weekend, inviting folks to muse on the architecture of the Clyfford Still Museum or the Corky Gonzales Library in spray-painted freehand. The nonprofit VSA Colorado/Access Gallery, which provides arts experiences for  the disabled, will offer instruction for shy first-timers, proving that graffiti art is for everyone.
6. Alex Heffron Quintet and Davis Contemporary Dance Company
Union Station
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23
Doors Open Denver rubs elbows with opening-weekend festivities for RTD's new Train to the Plane at Union Station, which also serves as DOD's information hub. The talented youth jazz musicians of the Alex Heffron Quintet will entertain on the plaza, accompanied by art deco-inspired moves from the Davis Contemporary Dance Company. In an act of killing three birds with one stone, the concert also celebrates National Jazz Appreciation Month, along with Denver's architecture and its transit system.
7. Write Denver hosts The Big Lift: Salvaging the Milheim House
Lighthouse Writers Workshop
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24

The beautiful Victorian-era Denver Square known as the Milheim House is now home to Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop. But not everyone knows the structure's wild history and how it was transported down Colfax Avenue by trailer from its original location on Pennsylvania Street to its current home at Colfax and Race Street in 1989. Lighthouse's Write Denver project will provide writing prompts for visitors to muse over as they tour the house and try to determine which architectural elements are original and which are new. Spend some time getting to know the old mansion while paying homage to Denver's architectural past and present.

While free, a few other Bonfils-Stanton events are ticketed, and you'll have to check ahead online and see if reservations are still open before heading over. Free tickets are sold out for a fashion exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, but anyone can still drop in and see it on Saturday and Sunday by paying the regular DBG gate admission. Find out what else is going on around the city – from tours to talks – this weekend at the Doors Open Denver website.
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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