The Biennial of the Americas is putting Denver on the map this week

Though its name would suggest otherwise, the Biennial of the Americas is back in Denver three years after its inaugural edition in 2010. Although the lineup of that event was impressive, it barely made a blip on the local radar.

But this time around, Denver's mayor, Colorado's governor and the people behind the Biennial promise that it will be amazing.

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The last Biennial was focused on the art and culture that it imported to the city; this time around, organizers want to make sure Denver gets on the map. "Denver is no longer a well-kept secret," Mayor Michael Hancock said this morning at a kick-off for the event. "The Biennial is helping Denver become a powerhouse city, and it puts it back on the world stage."

With the new non-stop international flights coming to DIA, he added, people will be more likely to recognize Denver as a "social hub." And it's definitely at the center of plenty of action this week, as great minds from across the hemisphere -- Mexico, Canada and Latin America -- participating in panelists and other events. Big names plan to make an appearance. The Daily Beast's Tina Brown hosts tonight's inaugural discussion that starts at 5:30 p.m. at the McNichols Building; Arianna Huffington and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, will also be speaking.

But the Biennial isn't all just talk. There will be 66 art installations around the city, including large-scale, "impossible to miss" architecture pieces. And 23 Colorado artists will also be displaying their work.

Of course, there will also be parties every night from tonight's kickoff at McNichols through the Denver Night party in Civic Center Park. Those festivities alone should be enough to insure that this city makes its mark.

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