The Galaktic Gang, founded by Cory Ponz, Kyle Morton, Jason Turnquist, Travis Delly and Chris Dyer, is riding the promising wave of NFTs. If you were at the ETHDenver cryptocurrency conference, you might have seen Dyer live-painting, or perhaps you attended the art collective's party held in tandem with that event. Galaktic Gang plans to hold more parties, including virtual ones, which have already encouraged thousands of visitors to enter the Galaktic metaverse and virtually experience live painting and even contribute to the collective's art. Inventive and ahead of the curve, the Gang employs NFTs to fund its collective, whose goal is to use cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse to embolden those who buy in to embark on a path of spiritual awakening. Psychedelic!

galakticgang.com
Best Art Collective Social Media Account
Evan Semón

The nonprofit Denver Art Society, located in the Art District on Santa Fe, has one of the most active Instagram accounts of any art space in the city. While it posts almost daily, each First Friday the account comes alive with story videos showcasing the crowded gallery, as well as the concerts and theater events it hosts there. The self-described "art community co-op built by artists" provides a look at Denver art through the eyes of local artists, so anyone who follows knows what's coming next.

Erie-based fine-art intaglio photogravure printer Jon Lybrook isn't so famous, but because of the quality of his work and his safer and more sustainable techniques, he sometimes assists people who are in creating high-quality photo portfolios. Most recently, Tony Levin — the in-demand session bassist and on-and-off member of King Crimson since 1981, who is also a photographer — sought help from Lybrook to turn some of his favorite King Crimson tour shots into a limited-edition fine-art print portfolio. The completed prints, available as a boxed collection or individually, were released in March. Rock on.

A blending of worlds occurs inside Mirus: the engaging world of the white-wall gallery — clean, open and intentionally sparse — and the entrancing world of the nightclub, with color-changing lights, a live DJ and, of course, a full bar. Mirus Gallery & Art Bar is a concept originally executed in San Francisco by curator and art dealer Paul Hemming; Denver is its second location. Here, rotating exhibitions of both solo and group shows include contemporary artists from all over the world. Grab a cocktail while you check out current exhibition SUPER FUTURE, which explores the intersection of art and technology via NFTs, virtual reality and interactive digital art.

Art Students League of Denver

The Art Students League of Denver is an art school for people who don't have the time, or the need, to go to art school. Instead, ASLD caters to anyone with an art jones, from hobbyists and talented youngsters to fine artists looking to brush up on or learn new techniques. The league employs up to 100 local artists as instructors in the beautiful, nineteenth-century brick-and-sandstone Sherman School building, using its spacious classrooms as studios equipped with specialized tools of the trade. ASLD also houses a gallery, throws a legendary Summer Art Market and supports a community filled by artists and the public alike.

Entrepreneur Skye Barker Maa has been activating culture-expanding spaces in Stanley Marketplace since 2018, including Neighborhood Music, a kids' music school that's grown to serve a huge student body, and the newly opened Sky Bar. But it's Factory Five Five, an intergenerational school teaching theater, film and photography at a nearby converted warehouse, and Factory Fashion, which teaches sewing, fashion and design at the Stanley, that have become impressive creative incubators that not only teach those who want to learn, but shares the students' efforts through plays, fashion shows and other realizations.

Michael Rieger takes multi-tasking to a whole new level as an artist, photographer, teacher, community arts activist and art director of the Denver Chalk Art Festival. Lapis Gallery, a staple in the Tennyson Street First Friday Art Walks, is home to Rieger's many artistic mediums, including fine-art photography, etchings, drawings, pastels, prints, sculpture and beautifully handmade ceramic dishes and mugs. In addition to the gallery space, Lapis offers full interior design-and-build services, custom furniture and event photography services.

Art historian Lauren Hartog and artist Derrick Velasquez (who's done this sort of thing before in his own basement) teamed up a year ago to start and curate their well-named Friend of a Friend Gallery, an art space hiding away in a room at the impressive 1904 Evans School building. Exhibitions can be hard to find and are only open by appointment following their receptions, but it's well worth the effort to find work by these artists, who fly both under the radar and through the clouds above it.

foafgallery.com
Best New Gallery
Evan Semón

Bell Projects has actually been around for a while, languishing inside Walnut Workshop, an artist studio community in RiNo. But in January, gallery founder and curator Lindsey Bell relocated to the former home of ARTAOS Gallery on East 17th Avenue, across from City Park, and it's a whole new ball game. As at Walnut Workshop, the building is shared by artist studios and other businesses, but the address also comes with street appeal, thanks to the 1907 red-brick building's big picture windows and arched roofline. Bell Projects has come out into the light, bringing along challenging shows by young artists. See it shine.

bell-projects.com
Best New Art Space
RiNo Art District

Denver boasts plenty of public parks to be proud of, some with recreation centers, pools and pickleball courts, a few even with sculptures. But while its river access provides recreational assets, the new RiNo ArtPark stands alone in its emphasis on arts and culture. It truly took a village to turn the ArtPark into a public haven and creative hotbed with artist studios, a gallery, a food incubator for immigrant women and a public library unique to Denver, with flexible maker space for DIY productions. Explore them all — or just sit by the river and watch the water flow by.

rinoartpark.com

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