The Golden Triangle is looking at a glittering future, with the new Vance Kirkland museum soon to join such monumental achievements as the Clyfford Still Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Byers-Evans House Museum, the History Colorado Center, the Denver Central Library and the revitalized Civic Center. But many of the welcome developments in this neighborhood are on a smaller scale, with new galleries and arts-oriented businesses making a home here. Golden Triangle Museum District founders Robin Riddel Lima (of the Native American Trading Company) and Christine Serr (of Gallery 1261 and Abend Gallery) have worked hard to get the district off the ground, and the results are solid gold.

Griffith Snyder of Inner Oceans spent a few years as a member of the Americana-inflected pop band Dovekins. The popular band appeared headed for a national audience before dissolving suddenly, leaving Snyder with a lot of time to contemplate his next move. He wrote expressive music that came from his imagination, and formed Inner Oceans in order to share those songs. The band rapidly gained an audience, appealing both to fans of well-crafted pop and those with a taste for the experimental. Snyder didn't actually spend a winter at an abandoned seaside resort, reflecting on his life and writing this music, but it sure sounds like he did. Listening to Inner Oceans, you can practically see the fog rolling in.

Despite the surge in online learning, the Auraria campus has undergone a full-blown bricks-and-mortar boom in recent years. The latest building, which is still under construction, is the University of Colorado Denver Academic Building, by Anderson Mason Dale. Its mass is very complex and its materials rich and varied. And although Auraria's standard red brick is carried out in the tower block, the more dazzling white stone that covers much of the lower floors is more eye-catching. Prominently situated at the northwest edge of the campus, it provides a gateway that links Auraria to the rest of downtown.

ViewHouse Ballpark

Lotus Clubs founder Francois Safieddine, who owns Chloe and Suite Two Hundred, clearly knows a thing or two about dance clubs. He took a slightly different approach with ViewHouse, which opened just before the start of the 2013 baseball season, in the former home of Mori Japanese Restaurant. Safieddine pulled out all the stops to honor the ViewHouse name, transforming the venue into a 20,000-square-foot party palace topped by a deck with a breathtaking view of the mountains and Coors Field.

The ArtStir open-air art market debuted last Memorial Day weekend at the Denver Pavilions, and we can't wait to see what it will stir up this year. Featuring a vendor list made up exclusively of Colorado artists, ArtStir went out of its way to create a mix that doesn't look like that of every other outdoor fest, keeping an open mind and digging deep to find new artists. With the insights and seasoned eye of this year's new event curator, I Heart Denver's Samuel Schimek, ArtStir looks to be avoiding sophomore slump and keeping its fresh, youthful, trendy appeal.

Slam poetry is a growth industry in this city, with local spoken-word performers regularly winning national honors, even making their case before Denver City Council, as University of Denver student Jose Guerrero did to mark the release of Imagine 2020. The report came complete with a new poem by Guerrero, which included a classic line about another arts icon in this town: the Big Blue Bear.

As an educator

I often find myself arguing for the

Importance of art in our classrooms

I go on and on about its potential to empower

Our youth and its

Ability to turn traumatic life experiences

Into beautiful pieces of art

For those who remain skeptical

I challenge you to take it up with the

Big Blue Bear and as

You stand there staring right into the

Big Blue Bear's Butt

You will smile, and realize

That small moment of joy

Could be the most important lesson we could

Teach our youth...

Best Book Club

Words Beyond Bars Project

This book club has everything: great titles, a dynamic facilitator, interesting company all deeply engaged in relating works of literature to their life experiences. The only hitch is you have to be in prison to join. Ex-librarian Karen Lausa's largely volunteer effort to bring serious books into the Colorado Department of Corrections, which began with a group of lifers at Limon in 2012, has expanded to several other facilities, demonstrating that incarcerated men and women, adults and juveniles are all hungry for a good story — and a chance to reflect on what it can teach them about their own wrong turns and possible paths to redemption.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Aaron Thackeray

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is growing like a weed, most recently with an elegant if enormous klipp architects-designed addition. With it came the lyrical "Iridescent Cloud," by Seattle's Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan. The piece, constructed by Demiurge Design, is a canopy of sorts, supported by three canted pillars that hold a woven mesh of stainless-steel cable that's been adorned with transparent tetrahedral prisms made of acrylic. As the sun passes over — or when artificial light hits them at night — the prisms sparkle with iridescent reflections.

The impressive "I Know You Know That I Know" is a public commission granted to Denver artist Sandra Fettingis, who was asked by the Colorado Convention Center to cover an astounding 160 feet of wall space with murals. What she came up with is a highly sophisticated and complex set of triangular patterns that look something like trellises. These patterns — painted or in the form of cut acrylic panels — are essentially the same save for size and color (though all of them are black, white or red). The piece is meant to demonstrate how things change over time yet remain the same in some way — and it enlivens a corridor that had an unwelcome gloominess to it before.

Sidewinder

When Kyle Ramirez and her husband opened the Sidewinder Tavern, they imagined a place that would host live music, serve quality food and be open to everyone. The venue is co-managed by Ramirez's son, Fernando Guzman, best known for his multi-faceted drumming skills in bands like Fissure Mystic, Fingers of the Sun and Tjutjuna. Not only has the Sidewinder become one of Globeville's most welcoming stops for local bands and underground touring acts, but it's also a comfortable hangout for drinking and non-drinking patrons alike.

When the initial designs for the Daniel Libeskind addition to the Denver Art Museum were unveiled, there were the jagged Hamilton Building, the canted Museum Residences, the blocky parking structure, and a hotel in the form of a vertical shaft at the southeast corner of the site. This tower was meant to serve as a bookend of sorts, linking the whole thing back to the Gio Ponti tower on the Civic Center, thus creating a harmonious whole. But financial times being what they were, the hotel was never built, and the Broadway face of the complex was marred by a plot of gravel, above which sat the blank wall of the garage. But ground has finally been broken for the building, which will be going up soon. Designed by Guadalupe Cantu, a former partner at Studio Daniel Libeskind and now at the Davis Partnership, the new building, the Museum Center + Art Hotel, will house offices on the lower floors and luxury hotel rooms on the upper levels.

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