Shine a Light

It goes without saying that planning Design After Dark, the annual art auction and benefit party for the Denver Art Museum's Department of Architecture, Design & Graphics, has its own special challenges: It has to be visual and cutting-edge in theme to meet the expectations of an equally stylish and forward-thinking demographic. That's what ADG curator Darrin Alfred faced when getting ready for this year's arty bash, for which local graphic designers and architectural firms create works of art for bidding. Given that challenge, Alfred looked to the “light.”

“As we looked into it more, we realized there are a lot of different ways that 'light' can be interpreted,” Alfred says. “Because there are a lot of different references for it, the word made an interesting choice. We wanted to prevent ending up with thirty objects that all lit up, so we ended up dividing it into three different themes inspired by the idea of 'light': illumination, weight and reflections. And that could mean a lot of things: radiance, brightness, lightweights, heavyweights, delicate things, spiritual things, enlightenment...”

He also notes that the choice of the Xylem Interactive building in Uptown as a venue gave party-planners a raw and unusual one-time space to transform. “We are working with lighting designers for some unique lighting, and there'll be a kind of loungy space where we'll serve handcrafted cocktails,” Alfred says. Also different this year is how the funds raised will be used: “In the past, the event primarily supported new acquisitions,” he adds. “Now we're focusing on new ways of presenting the collection, so the funds will be used to design future exhibitions.”

Design After Dark goes from 7 to 11 p.m. tonight at 1415 Park Avenue West; admission ranges from $35 to $75 in advance (prices increase by $10 at the door) and includes food, cocktails, a DJ and dancing, along with bidding on the art. Visit
Fri., Feb. 4, 7 p.m., 2011

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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