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Mari Munet, ”Las Mañanitas" mural, detail.EXPAND
Mari Munet, ”Las Mañanitas" mural, detail.
Mari Munet, Westwood Creative District

Thirteen Things for Art Lovers to See and Do on First Friday Weekend

There is no such thing as the dead of winter on the First Friday in December, when things will be hopping, from the luminarias festival lighting up the Art District on Santa Fe to a last run of small-works and affordable-art shows before the holiday season is over. Which brings to mind the fact that art makes a wonderful gift (for yourself or a loved one), and if there was ever a perfect time to stop looking and start buying, this is it. Artists want to celebrate the season, too, so you can feel good about giving them a hand and a buck or two.

MPEK, "Buddha."
MPEK, "Buddha."
MPEK, Westwood Creative District

Celebrating Westwood Creatives!
Thursday, December 6
Mural Dedication, South Perry Street and Morrison Road, 4:30 p.m.
Art Exhibit and Reception, BuCu West, 4200 Morrison Road, Unit 3, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Westwood Creative District put a good deal of energy into mural projects with local artists along the Morrison Road drag in 2018, bringing color and culture to the spruced up west Denver artery. Two such undertakings, one a community-driven clay-tile installation led by Brazilian artist Liene Bosque in collaboration with the Art Students League of Denver, and the other an ambitious mural titled “Las Mañanitas,” inspired by a beloved traditional Mexican song, created by Denver artist Mari Munet. The evening begins at the mural site and then moves over to BuCu West for the Westwood Creatives art exhibit, a showcase for artists from the community.

Ted Laredo, “theory of everything,” 2018, acrylic, glass micro beads and MIOX on MDO and wood frame.
Ted Laredo, “theory of everything,” 2018, acrylic, glass micro beads and MIOX on MDO and wood frame.
Ted Laredo, Michael Warren Contemporary

Ted Laredo: 93 Million Miles From the Sun
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Through January 16
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 9 p.m.

Albuquerque-based artist Ted Laredo plays with strange, shimmering light in his paintings — if that’s what they are — using glass beads, phosphorescent finishes, micaceous iron oxide flakes and other unusual materials to fill in the spaces of his minimalist compositions. The result is otherworldly and pretty cool, taking viewers into a new and contemplative dimension. If you miss the opening, Laredo will be back in the gallery on Saturday, December 8, for an artist talk and coffee from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Roy Smith, "Made Fabulous," 2018, lead, glass, aluminum, watch, button, bead, coin, wood, earring, glue.
Roy Smith, "Made Fabulous," 2018, lead, glass, aluminum, watch, button, bead, coin, wood, earring, glue.
Image courtesy of the Range

Ramblin' Roy: An Exhibition and Book Release
Peralta Projects, 747 Elati Street
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 10
Open thereafter on Sundays, noon to 4 p.m., through December 30

Vagabond, assemblage artist, musician and range rover Roy Smith experienced the worst of the Jim Crow South firsthand as a child growing up black in Mississippi under the shadow of Klan lynchings and brutality. Now settled in Saguache, Colorado, Smith spent years of wandering, picking up skills and speaking out along the way, but never quite eluding the bluntest specter of racism. And when Smith lost his home in a bus to a fire earlier this year, there was talk of arson. Esteban Peralta of Peralta Projects is taking a leap by bringing Smith up to Denver for an exhibit of his found-object sculptures curated by Adrienne Garbini of the Range art space in Saguache, paired with a book release for Smith’s new book, Last Train for Freedom Leavin’ Town. Says Peralta: “This exhibition is as much about Roy as it is about his art. Under normal circumstances, that might be a bad thing, but Roy has nothing to prove. Despite his difficult history, he still finds the motivation to help others and give freely. It’s inspirational.” Here’s a chance to get up close and personal with a Colorado diamond-in-the-rough.

A sample of work by Kaitlyn Tucek for A Breath Before at Alto Gallery.
A sample of work by Kaitlyn Tucek for A Breath Before at Alto Gallery.
Kaitlyn Tucek

Lindsay Smith Gustave & Kaitlyn Tucek, A Breath Before
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
December 7 through January 12
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 10 p.m.

Gustave and Tucek team up for an exhibition inspired by the subtleties of motherhood and realized in two distinct visual styles. From the show statement: “This exhibition brings together each artist’s independent reaction to their experience as mothers — one equally stoic and dynamic, the other delicate and composed, but both vulnerable in their contemplation of the space that exists between the body and that from which it grows.”

Say farewell to the Lowbrow storefront on First Friday.
Say farewell to the Lowbrow storefront on First Friday.
Courtesy of Lowbrow

Smell Ya Later! Lowbrow's Final First Friday and Lowbrow Liquidation Event
Lowbrow Denver, 38 Broadway
Reception: Friday, December 7, 7 to 10 p.m.
Lowbrow Liquidation Event: December 8 through 22

Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch of Lowbrow are packing up their glitter and leaving the storefront behind at the end of December — but not before one last fabulous First Friday reception (their 72nd), showcasing work by one of their favorite artist concerns: The Ladies Fancywork Society. Leave your tears at the door, and look forward to Lowbrow pop-up events in the future. And after this last hurrah, Lowbrow’s liquidation sale begins the next day and runs through December 22, so be prepared to stock up on art supplies and vinyl toys for the holiday season.

CHAC pays homage to the Corn Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tonantzin.EXPAND
CHAC pays homage to the Corn Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tonantzin.
Chicano Humanities and Arts Council

Our Great Mother/Holiday Mercado
CHAC Gallery, 222 Santa Fe Drive
Open all day, Friday, December 7, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
First Friday Reception: Friday, December 7, 5 to 9 p.m.

The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council will get a head start on First Friday festivities on Santa Fe Drive, opening at 10 a.m. to show off its annual Holiday Mercado of gift items and art from the Chicano and Mexican cultures. Then, CHAC switches gears in the evening with a reception for Our Great Mother, a group show paying homage to the female folkloric figures of the Corn Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tonantzin, and a book signing with author Christina Montoya (The Sacred Roots of Ofelia Rosas) at 8 p.m.

Find variety at the Kanon Collective's Bibelot Show .
Find variety at the Kanon Collective's Bibelot Show .
Kanon Collective

The Bibelot Show
Kanon Collective, 766 Santa Fe Drive
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 5 to 10 p.m.
Third Friday Reception: Friday, December 21, 5 to 9 p.m.

Yet another farewell crosses borders with a holiday tradition on First Friday at Kanon Collective, where the last annual Bibelot Show at the gallery’s current location fires up one last time. The trademark juried small-works show turns up just in time for last-chance holiday shopping, and right out in front, the annual Luminarias Festival on Santa Fe will be aglow, lighting the way for Santa and Mr. Claus, who will be dropping by all the galleries in the Art District on Santa Fe. Be ready to stroll.

Access Gallery's ArtWorks Artists reimagine classic album covers for a new exhibit.
Access Gallery's ArtWorks Artists reimagine classic album covers for a new exhibit.
Access Gallery

Cover Me: Covered Classics
Access Gallery, 909 Santa Fe Drive
Artist Reception: Friday, December 7, 5 to 9 p.m.
Holiday Party: December 21, 5 to 9 p.m.

Also on luminaria-lined Santa Fe Drive, Access Gallery will be having fun with a show of classic album covers, as rendered by Access’s ArtWorks Artists living with disabilities. Get ready for a load of old visual chestnuts you thought you’d forgotten!

If it's clay you seek, you'll find it at Tenn Street Coffee & Books.EXPAND
If it's clay you seek, you'll find it at Tenn Street Coffee & Books.
EvB Studios

EvBStudios, Sharing Stories
Tenn Street Coffee & Books, 4418 Tennyson Street
Through the end of January
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 9 p.m.

Participants in Marie Gibbons’s EvB Studios Mudclub open-studio workshop meet weekly in ten-week blocks throughout the year to make stuff out of clay together. But the close-knit group shares more than dirty hands: Every winter, they pool their creations for a group show at Tenn Street, just in time for holiday shoppers looking for gifts with personality. Along with Gibbons, Sylvie Abecassis, Cora Bracho, Katy Irvin, Brenda Jones, Melinda Block Laz, Lindy Muniz, Heather McBogg, Cristina Hofmann Hartman and Erica Wernsmann will be sharing the gallery walls.

Tsogo Mijid, Sensors
Leah Swenson, Meander Lines
Pirate: Contemporary Art, 7130 West 16th Avenue, Lakewood
December 7 through 23
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 6 to 10 p.m.

Local Mongolian community leader and painter Tsogo Mijid and artist Leah Swenson take over the walls at Pirate for the home stretch of 2018, juxtaposing Mijid’s colorful works blending centuries-old traditional imagery with modern abstraction and Swenson’s subdued, layered collages.

Thirteen Things for Art Lovers to See and Do on First Friday Weekend
Foolproof Contemporary Art

Coldplay
Foolproof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
Through January 26
Opening Reception: Friday December 7, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Coldplay is a sprawling affair showcasing thirty artists both local and from around the world for a visual jolt of wintry cheer. There’s no overarching theme to consider, just a varied lot of work by artists with cred, some of them familiar to locals and others new to your view.

Find the perfect gift at Sally Centigrade's blowout print sale and holiday celebration.EXPAND
Find the perfect gift at Sally Centigrade's blowout print sale and holiday celebration.
Sally Centigrade

Arna Miller & Julio Alejandro + Print Sale
Sally Centigrade, 445 S Saulsbury St, Lakewood
First Friday Reception: Friday, December 7, 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Celebrate the season at Sally Centigrade with a second look at engaging wall-ready work by Arna Miller and Julio Alejandro (free gift wrap offered with all Arna Miller purchases), as well as mystery print tubes and a cut-rate print sale of affordable lowbrow works by Tara McPherson, Lora Zombie, Luke Chueh and Camilla d’Errico. And heck, it’s party time: The evening also includes LED Hula Hoop performances by the Kinetic Spinners, and glowing cocktails have been mentioned.

40 West celebrates a black, gray and white Christmas with work by Marianna Crespin and others.
40 West celebrates a black, gray and white Christmas with work by Marianna Crespin and others.
Marianna Crespin, 40 West Gallery

Black, White & Metal II
40 West Studios and Gallery, 1560 Teller Street, Lakewood
December 7 through 29
Opening Reception: Friday, December 7, 5 to 8 p.m.

40 West sees out the season with Black, White & Metal II, an exhibition with a limited palette and highly giftable possibilities. The 40 West art district is always hopping on First Fridays — go forth and find all the happenings.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to editorial@westword.com. For more art events this weekend, see our 21 Best Things to Do in Denver.

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