Visual Arts

First Friday: Denver Arts Week kicks out the art-walk jams all over town

Why is this First Friday different from all other First Fridays? In most ways, it isn't, and that's the real beauty of it. But it is Denver Arts Week's Know Your Arts First Friday Arts Walk, meaning the monthly evening art walk event in arts districts all over town will be reaching out tonight to newcomers and inviting the unannointed to find out what it's all about. And for all of you insiders who already teem in streets all the time on the First Friday, there will be special deals and happenings designed to keep you in the fold. In any case, if you show up, you'll see why Denver is a first-class art city, and you can puff up and be proud. Here are a few of the highlights:

Art District on Santa Fe

The town's most hoppin' art walk, First Friday on Santa Fe is a veritable conga line of experiences, and it's worth attending just for the scene. Come early and park at West High School for $3 and walk in or park free and hop on the free shuttle provided by the Rackhouse Pub, 208 South Kalamath Street. And then, there's a lot to do. First of all, tonight represents another fantastic opportunity to see such shows as Dorothy Tanner's Light Fantastic at Vertigo Art Space, the beautiful Soaring Voices: Recent Ceramics by Women from Japan at the Center for Visual Art/MSCD, Ania Gola Kumor and Andrew Speer at Sandra Phillips, From the Earth at the Museo de las Americas (which will also host a Dueling Murals artist team battle) and El Dia de los Muertos shows at both the Chicano Humanities and Arts Center and Studio 12. But it's not just not about looking at art hanging on walls, either, on Santa Fe: The David Castle Gallery is giving away fifty of Castle's Flapjack Mini-Paintings, Co-Art is hosting a Yart Sale, Carol Mier Fashion will offer complimentary fashion consultations, Arts-Street youth muralists will begin a new collaborative work at 3 p.m. and Glovinsky Gallery will giving folks a penny for their thoughts for participating in the gallery's November Notes interactive wall.

And for just plain art, in your face, stop at CORE for a members show (and a Mark Penner Howell studio sale in the back), SYNC Gallery for Daniel Bahn and Sascha Ripps, Play: Conversations @ Creativity at the EventGallery910Arts and Niza Knoll's juried show Gone to the Dogs.

River North Art District

Sculptor Mike Whiting's new RiNo Rhino at 24th and Larimer streets will be welcoming folks into River North on First Friday for the first time this month, and here's what you'll find once you've entered that portal, aside from Whiting's solo show at Plus Gallery. It's a great last chance to see photographer Michael Ensminger's self-referential Zottelbart Encore at Pattern Shop and another opportunity to view Cross Ties Across Time at RedLine. And new shows - Sharon Feder's The Art of Saming at Ironton, Donna Polseno's ceramic vessels at Plinth Gallery and Tracy Weil's Remodernism at Weilworks - open tonight, as well. As added incentive, Weil will be offering $52.80 deals on selected works in honor of Denver Arts Week, and, well shucks, it's sold out, but 28 lucky gallery-goers will be treated to a highfalutin' limo tour of the district. Even if you're not riding in style, it'll still be a treat to spot one of the two tony 1936 Rolls Royce touring sedans involved.

Tennyson Street

Tennyson Street's might just be the most folksy of the First Friday art walks; it rolls at a friendly pace that requires neither sharp elbows or riot gear to maneuver. But it's also just something about the street itself, which is urban yet neighborly and almost small-town in ambiance, much like the surrounding communities of Highland and Berkeley Park.

Be sure to stop in at Shackman Glass, a hub of activity on the southern end of the drag: Along with the usual glass-blowing demonstrations, which are amazing and help you get your pyromanic rocks off, too, Shackman will host a new poster show and book signing Lure of the Swamp, Swamp Rock Posters & Conspiracy Skateboards, featuring local graphic artist Lindsey Kuhn. And early on in the evening, Museum of Outdoor Arts Chief Wizard Lonnie Hanzon will preview Holly Berry, an automotive attraction wired for light and sound from the museum's soon-to-open Hudson Holiday lighting display at Hudson Gardens, out in front (Holly Berry is rumored to be moving on to Santa Fe Drive later in the evening). Several galleries along Tennyson - including Lapis Gallery, Tennyson Studios and Sellars Project Space - will offer $52.80 Denver Arts Week deals; be sure to catch new show, Territories, featuring work by Laurel McMechan, at the latter. And at 44th Avenue, in the shadow of thew Oriental Theatre, stop in at EVB Studio, where clay artist Marie Gibbons offers monthly make-and-take mini-shops for only ten bucks. This month's theme is a Day of the Dead-inspired "Baby Face Frida;" pop in and get your hands in some clay.

Golden Triangle/South Broadway

Golden Triangle hot spots include the Byers-Evans House Museum, where an exhibit of hyper-realist works by Dianne L. Massey Dunbar, Best of Show winner of last year's Denver Plein Air Art Festival opens in conjunction with the 2010 Denver Plein Air Exhibition and Sale, which opens November 10 in the Denver Central Library's Vida Ellison Gallery. Walker Fine Art has works by Miani Carnevale and John Ferguson, William Havu Gallery features James Cook and Steven Dinsmore, and Louis LaBrie on the mezzanine. Wrap it up at Purgatory Pegasus, a party with live music and drink specials hosted by biker blog xrocksthespot™ at the Bannock Street Garage, 1015 Bannock Street. In the nearby enclave of independent galleries and businesses on South Broadway, INDYINK has a fine show by up-and-comers Justin Renteria and Andres Guzman, illiterate features new works by Brittany Gould and Drew Englander and Fancy Tiger's Denver Made showcase has a trunk show from jewelry artist Sandra Fettingis. Navajo Art District

Not to miss on Navajo, one of the city's oldest intact art districts: Innards and Autards, illuminated sculptures by Mark Friday, built from repurposed wood and metal. Experience them in the dark at at Zip 37. Also, stop by Pirate to enjoy this year's Dia de los Muertos works, Edge for shows from Ken Petersen, Sandy Lane and Bonny Garcia and NEXT to view works by Christine O'Dea and David Lisman.