Things to Do in Denver for Free This Week, August 17 to August 22 | Westword

Ten Things to Do for Free in Denver This Week

Our vote's in!
Roxborough State Park
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A century ago this week, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, guaranteeing and protecting a woman's right to vote — which Colorado had already recognized back in 1893, when it became the first state to officially approve women's suffrage.

That's just one reason to stand up and be counted this week; keep reading for nine more activities in and around Denver — all free, and all getting our vote.

Opera Colorado's Afternoon of American Song
Now available

The live performance of Afternoon of American Song had to be canceled in March because of the pandemic. However, Opera Colorado is now releasing one set from the program every Monday, sharing the talents of the 2019-20 Artists in Residence. Visit to see the third installment, released August 17, along with two other recent video performances. The program is free, but donations are welcome here.

Pink Progression: Collaborations
Daily, 9 to 6 p.m.
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard
On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing and protecting a woman's right to vote. Over 150 people, representing all gender identities and expressions, created Pink Progression: Collaborations, the largest collaborative art exhibition in Colorado's history to commemorate this milestone. It opened last month at the Arvada Center, where it will remain through November 8. Admission is free, but tickets are required; get them here. (Watch for a live poetry reading connected with the show on August 27, as well as a Zoom artist lecture series that starts September 17.)

click to enlarge
Pink Progressions: Collaboration includes an anniversary cake that weighs ninety pounds.
Installation photo by Wes Magyar
On the Fringe: COVID & Art
Wednesday, August 19, 3 p.m.

The Boulder Fringe Festival is under way in Boulder, and while many of the programs — both virtual and in-person — are paid, the fest is putting on a number of free programs, including this talk on presenting creative work in the time of COVID. Return at the same time on Thursday, August 20, for On the Fringe: Black Lives Matter, a panel discussion on the intersection of art, performance and African-American history. Find out more here.

Mixed Taste: Zeno's Paradox and Artivism
Wednesday, August 19, 7 p.m.

The final installment of Mixed Taste this summer combines discussions of Zeno’s Paradox by Elisabeth Stade, an artist and mathematician, and Artivism by Suzi Q. Smith, an award-winning artist, activist and educator who's the founding Slam Master of Slam Nuba and the co-chair of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. Also on the program: Denver actor and educator James Brunt. The program is free; sign up here.

Khadijah Queen
Wednesday, August 19, 7 to 9 p.m.
Author and poet Khadijah Queen commands a national presence from right here in Colorado, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado Boulder and in Regis University’s Mile-High MFA program. Her last book, I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, took on sexism and pop culture in the form of a literary scrapbook; her next, Anodyne, a straight poetry collection, comes out this week. In lieu of an in-store reading, BookBar will host a Zoom presentation of Queen in conversation with fellow author Hanif Abdurraqib. It’s free, but RSVP in advance to [email protected] for the Zoom link. To order a copy of the book, visit

Nari Ward and Sir David Adjaye OBE in Conversation
Thursday, August 20, noon

Join a virtual conversation between two world-renowned creators and innovators: Nari Ward, whose work is currently featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and Sir David Adjaye OBE, the architect who designed MCA Denver. The program is free; register here.

Emerging From Economic Catastrophe and Charting a Course Forward
Thursday, August 20, 6 p.m.
Join the Vail Symposium for a special, free Zoom webinar that will take on complicated economic issues presented by the pandemic, including the trade war with China, the magnitude of rescue packages and the new debt levels, and the impacts on interest rates and federal policy. Richard Bard will moderate; sign up here.

Late Night With Maude and Pippa
Thursday, August 20, Friday, August 21, and Saturday, August 22, 10:30 p.m.

Hostesses with the mostesses Maude and Pippa, a pair of faux-English matriarchs played by Melissa Schenter and Rachel Lederman, are hosting these live late shows, where they offer sneak peeks of Boulder Fringe Festival shows, interview performers and present tips, home quarantine advice, games and activities. The shows are free; find out more and register here.

Roxborough Revealed – Lyons Overlook/Fountain Valley Trail Hike
Saturday, August 22, 9 a.m.

Join naturalist Juli Brant for a hike up to Lyons Overlook on the Fountain Valley Trail, then view the amazing Red Rock formations while listening to the sounds of nature. Reservations for this free program are required; find out more here.

Saturday, August 22, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Belleview Station, 4910 South Newport Street
TheBigWonderful returns to the metro area, this time bringing fifty local craft vendors, as well as food trucks and live music to Belleview Station, at Belleview Avenue and Newport Street, just west of the Denver Tech Center. A limited number of free tickets are available, with two-hour entry windows; you'll be able to purchase food, beer and cocktails. Move fast to grab your free ticket here.

Know of a great free event around town? Send information to [email protected].
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