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When it comes to James Turrell's Skyspace concept, a light-based phenomenon that has spread around the world at more than eighty sites, it's the location that counts. Colorado's, installed in the Red Butte Recreational Area East off Highway 24 last year by Green Box Arts, is not only the first in our state, but it's also the first in the world to be built on a mountaintop. Turrell says that the altitude on the butte in Colorado causes the sky to glow a deeper blue color that increases its intensity and effect, which is meaningful in Skyspace-speak. We are very lucky, indeed.

Joe Freedmon Photography via Art RiNo

The Art RiNo mural festival in September 2022 saw many impeccable creations, but one in particular stands out: the collaboration by street-art fixtures Jaime Molina, Jher and Jodie Herrera to honor the late artist and activist Alicia Cardenas, who was one of the first victims killed during the horrific series of shootings at tattoo shops and other locations around Denver on December 27, 2021. Herrera spearheaded the photorealist portrait of a beaming Cardenas, Molina created the abstract lettering spelling "matriarch," and Jher, a close friend of Cardenas's for decades, painted the marigolds and monarch butterflies, symbols of Cardenas's Chicano heritage and of the soul finding its way home. The painting stands next to a mural painted by Cardenas herself.

Intersection of Larimer and 27th streets
Markus Puskar

Twenty-eight-year-old muralist Markus Puskar was selected by the Denver Arts & Venues P.S. You Are Here grant program to paint a mural that engaged its surrounding community. The result, a collage of shapes and images that can be colored in by visitors with chalk found at the site was unveiled in August with an event that invited the neighborhood to begin filling in the black-and-white mural with color. A full-time social worker, Puskar wanted to build community with his artwork, too, and had seen success with a similar coloring-book event at another of his murals in Cherry Creek. More than half a year later, his mural at Sunken Gardens is often seen splashed with color.

Edica Pacha

After President Trump was elected, Motus Theater staged a series of monologues with UndocuAmerica about the immigrant experience. And in 2022, the theater company expanded on building that awareness with murals by artist Edica Pacha. Through a P.S. You Are Here grant, Pacha pasted portraits of immigrants around Denver, along with a QR code that directs viewers to corresponding monologues. The murals were unveiled in June to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the DACA program, although two of them, located at public libraries, had to be replaced after being vandalized. That hasn't deterred Pacha, who told us, "This is why I continue to do art about these educate the greater community and bring greater perspective around these challenging issues."

RiNo Art District

Take a walk around RiNo to see the street art that the Mile High City has become known for. You can always take the Denver Graffiti Tour (a two-hour paid, guided tour on weekends) to get to know the area, but a stroll down the alleys and streets works, too. From murals by national talents like Shepard Fairey to works by local legends such as Detour, Casey Kawaguchi, Anthony Garcia, Pat Milbery and more, the neighborhood is a rotating art museum in its own right. RiNo Art District has even mapped out the murals on its website so you can stay updated on what's happening in the neighborhood and plan your trip.

MCA Denver

We can't say enough good things about the Museum of Contemporary Art, which revived the Northside's historic Holiday Theater last year by signing a long-term lease to host productions there. And the museum has shown even more local love this year, celebrating RedLine Contemporary Art Center's fifteenth anniversary with a blockbuster exhibition showcasing works from its alumni resident artists. It isn't often you see an institution like this giving so much space and love to local artists, but the MCA is always quick to recognize Denver talent while also providing inspiration from international and national contemporary artists.

Whether you're going to a concert or just hiking around its majestic landscape, a visit to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is an absolute must for tourists visiting Denver. And while you're at it, here's another must: visiting the Colorado Music Hall of Fame museum, located inside the Red Rocks Trading Post. There you'll see ephemera from each Hall of Fame class since the organization's beginnings in 2011, as well as exhibitions on Colorado musical institutions, including the famed Caribou Ranch studio and musicians such as John Denver, Judy Collins, Dan Fogelberg, Dianne Reeves and more. Be sure to also check out the Red Rocks Performers Hall of Fame in the Visitor Center at the top of the amphitheater for another awe-inspiring glimpse into the venue's storied past.

17900 Trading Post Road, Morrison
Marco Briones

Denver is rich in Latino history and owes much of its cultural fabric to that community, so what better way to get to know your city than to visit a museum that celebrates Latin American art? Whether it's a First Friday in the Art District on Santa Fe or just a casual Saturday afternoon, the Museo is the place to see and learn about phenomenal Latin American art, from ancient to folk to contemporary. The nonprofit gallery mounts up to five exhibitions a year; its current display, Colombia: The Corn, the River and the Grave, open through August 19, explores how Colombian traditions are clashing with current conflicts around its natural resources.

Denver Art Museum

Most of the time you go to the Denver Art Museum to explore its widespread, awesome collection of art spanning centuries of creation. Other times, though, you could just be stopping in to purchase a present from the gift shop, because the DAM's store is perfect for perusing when you aren't sure what to get someone. There's something for everyone here, including puzzles, books, posters, jewelry, sculptures, pins, mugs, shape-shifting toys, clothing, housewares and more. Need to buy something for someone who seemingly has everything? This is your one-stop shop for kids and adults alike.

Ready for takeoff? Wings Over the Rockies is full of cool artifacts, both historic and futuristic, that celebrate space and provide an ideal escape for technocrats and other geeks. But those who like to stay more grounded will find plenty of amusement opportunities here, too, including a great gift shop and an introductory video by none other than Harrison Ford.

7711 East Academy Boulevard

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