This First Friday weekend, you can have art your way: outdoors, indoors, with poetry, with robots, from your car window, with an art-walk hoopla and a dizzying array of styles, techniques and mediums. Enjoy it while you can (and bring your masks along), because no one knows what might be around the corner. Here are twenty ways to get your art on in metro Denver:
Steven Frost, Liberace in Purgatory
The Storeroom, 1700 Vine Street
Through October 10
Boulder fiber artist Steven Frost participated last fall in the collaborative immersive Halloween experience No Place to Go, which expressed the fearful path the nonbinary must travel in the everyday world, with a metaphorical, queer view of what’s scary. Frost’s inspired performance installation, Liberace in Purgatory, included a forest of candelabras overseen by the glittery showman’s ectoplasmic figure at a grand piano. For his turn at the Storeroom window gallery, Frost resurrected elements from No Place to Go for a second look that’s sure to make a splash for drive-by art viewers. As Liberace once said, “I don’t give concerts. I put on a show.”
Meghan Wilbar, Changing Light
Meghan’s Book Project
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Through August 28
Opening Reception: Thursday August 5, 5 to 8 p.m.
Artist Meghan Wilbar takes over Michael Warren in August with a solo exhibition of paintings and mixed-media renderings that begin as plein-air landscapes, sensitive to changes in the light. In the project space, Wilbar presents a collaborative art-book project that involved participation by mail, with a group of eight artists who directly shared drawings with her on the pages of handmade books. In addition to the completed books, works by the eight — Malado Baldwin, Heather Frankland, Dan Levinson, Gloria Naccarato, Margaret Noel, Susan Siegel, Lafiya Watson Ramirez and Megan Williamson — will be included in the show.
Deborah Jang, From Where I Sit
Thursday, August 5, 6 to 9 p.m.; poetry hour, 7 p.m.
Open mic sign-up
Friday, August 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
No Vacancy, 3722 Chestnut Place
The RiNo artist residency No Vacancy continues to show new work by the current wave of artists occupying the warehouse space, including From Where I Sit, a complete exhibition by assemblage artist Deborah Jang, who’s come up with several clever and lovely chair sculptures built from found objects. Since Jang, the author of Float True, is also a poet, the Thursday-night opening includes a poetry hour with an open mic with Suzi Q. Smith and host Franklin Cruz. The tie-in? Poets are invited to sit in one of Jang’s fanciful chairs to read. No Vacancy is also hosting a First Friday open house, so you can see new projects by Jang’s studio mates and enjoy brews from Ratio Beerworks. RSVP online at Eventbrite.
Emmett Culligan, Bantam Rubrics
Chris Cassimatis: Paintings
William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street
August 6 through September 18
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 5 to 8 p.m.
Havu Gallery pays tribute to the late Indigenous artist Jeff Kahm — an abstract painter and member of the Cree nation who passed away just prior to his first solo at Havu — with a ten-year survey of his straight-edge acrylic works. Also on view through mid-September: small-scale sculptures by Emmett Culligan and paintings by Chris Cassimatis on the mezzanine.
Hardly Soft: False Deadlines II
Dateline Gallery, 3004 Larimer Street
August 6 through August 31
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 6 to 11 p.m.
Amber Cobb and Mario Zoots, the married artist couple who sometimes work together as Hardly Soft, collaborate again for a late-summer show of new collage works and more at Dateline.
Ramiro Smith Estrada, Bliss Is Not a Happy Thing
Understudy, 890C 14th Avenue
August 6 through August 29
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
Argentinian painter Ramiro Smith Estrada’s latest series of ironic portraits to pop up in Denver are inspired by the equally ironic dialogue between the Seinfeld characters Elaine Benes and George Costanza. Their continuing string of tête-à-tête conversations, as well as the show itself, consumed the artist’s attention during COVID confinement, eventually pointing out to him the parallel irony of having come through the pandemic storm without finding any great social transformation. Instead, Estrada sees mankind’s plight as anticlimactic. As Costanza once emoted, he notes, “My dream is to become hopeless.” Touché.
Threads: Migration Connects Us All
BRDG Project, 1553 Platte Street
August 6 through August 28
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
The BRDG Project not only tackles immigration by offering shelter to PlatteForum (itself in a state of migration to a new space) for the exhibition Threads: Migration Connects Us All, a huge project involving the participation of thirty artists who’ve lived the immigrant experience, but also opens its own immigration show, Tropicalismo Mágico. Threads curators Esther Hernandez and Eriko Tsogo have put together a big, multidisciplinary display of visual, multimedia and performative elements, while Tropicalismo Mágico brings immigration down to the basic human level by showcasing work by Javier Badell and Juan Esteban Usubillaga, both Venezuelans now living in Colorado; together, the shows bring folks of all persuasions together.
Access Gallery, 909 Santa Fe Drive
August 6 through September 3
First Friday Reception: Friday, August 6, 4 to 8 p.m.
Meet the Artist Reception: Friday, August 20, 4 to 8 p.m.
Closing Reception: Friday, September 3, 4 to 8 p.m.
Over on Santa Fe Drive, where First Fridays have finally gone live again, the nonprofit Access Gallery (where young people with disabilities receive job-training skills through art experiences) will celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi short-story collection I, Robot with an art exhibition of the same name. Promised are paintings and sculptures of robots, a sideshow of BFF Fashion Icons by Skylar K. in the studio space, and even art made by actual robots. And who doesn’t love robots?
First Friday Art Walk: Karma Leigh Mural Unveiling
Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, August 6, noon to 9 p.m.
The Museo kicks into its old First Friday mode all day with free admission and a general party atmosphere, a 5:30 p.m. Community Cultural Conversation on the Healing Power of Dance, and the 7 p.m. unveiling of Karma Leigh’s beautiful mural “Lineas de Sangre,” an all-female representation of the Mestizo Head, a three-faced portrait comprising the Indigenous and European roots of the mixed mestizo. Leigh used three Denver residents as models for her folkloric depiction.
Colfax Art Crawl and 40 West Arts Ten-Year Anniversary Street Party
1560 Teller Street, 1560 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Friday, August 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
It seems like just yesterday that the 40 West Arts District reared its head along the West Colfax corridor in Lakewood, but in fact it’s been ten years since a small celebration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art+Design welcomed the new designation. Since then, it’s become home to several displaced metro-area artist co-ops, created the 40 West ArtLine walking and biking trail running by murals and other public art, and beefed up First Friday with the Colfax Art Crawl — among other things. Anniversary festivities begin when the Handsome Little Devils sideshow performers kick off their street parade through the district at 6 p.m. at Mint & Serif; throughout the evening, follow the map to find art openings, hands-on craft stations, a live-music stage and food trucks.
CL Seving, The Art of Letting Go
Catherine Carilli, Forever Summer
Dreams and Visions
Next Gallery, Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
August 6 through August 22
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 6 to 10 p.m.
In the midst of 40 West’s anniversary fun, you’ll find lots of new co-op shows at the Art Hub, including some that opened a week ago. Next Gallery is hosting an opening for members Christy Seving (on the forces of nature) and Catherine Carilli (considering the soul of summertime), along with Dreams and Visions, a group exhibition concerned with exactly that, in the community gallery.
Jody Joyner, The Infinite Lawn
The Yard, 1010 North Logan Road, Colorado Springs
August 6 through October 31
Opening: Friday, August 6, 7 to 10 p.m. (video screening begins after dark)
Joining Annette Isham’s video-based installation VENUS: A Space to Hold, which opened last Sunday at the Yard, Jody Joyner’s The Infinite Lawn takes moving pictures in a different direction, using video projections of macro-photographed blades of grass and other lawn objects on an AstroTurf installation. The size-morphing Alice in Wonderland performance begins at dark on August 6, at a reception with both artists.
Paula Romero Schmitt, Flight of the Bumblebee
Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive
August 6 through September 10
First Friday Art Walk: Friday, August 6, 4 to 9 p.m.
Niza Knoll Gallery wraps up its spring and summer Mix Co-op series by featuring Victoria Eubanks and Paula Romero Schmitt, a pair of artists working in mixed media and encaustic — the binding process of combining hot wax with pigment to create a thick medium. Eubanks incorporates imagery of everyday objects with abstract mark-making, while Romero Schmitt arranges tidy hexagonal tiles framing drawings of flowers and bees on the surface of her nature-inspired works.
Lauri Dunn, MetaMorph
Balefire Goods, 7513 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
August 6 through August 31
Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 4 to 7 p.m.
Balefire showcases photographer Lauri Dunn’s intricate photo-collaged insect-wing mandalas overlaid with metallic resin in August. The result is both fascinating and lovely. Meet the artist at the reception.
Rudi Monterroso, Mindful Movement
Bucu West, 4200 Morrison Road
Friday, August 6, 5 to 8 p.m.
In Westwood, the BuCu West Development Association introduces the paintings of former flamenco dancer Rudi Monterroso, who creates abstract works with his feet while dancing across the canvas.
O’baware Ceramic Studio Summer Sale
O’baware Ceramic Studio, 1061 Mercury Drive, Lafayette
August 6 through August 15, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Free by reservation, RSVP for timed-entry slot at Eventbrite
O’baware is the studio of ceramic artists Kazu and Yuka Oba who create modern utilitarian pieces in the sparse and iconic Japanese aesthetic. Oba also extends Japanese techniques to a line of equally serene and uncomplicated jewelry. Meet the artists and find some bargains during the sale.
Gallery 6 Grand Opening
Gallery 6, 2434 East Sixth Avenue
Friday, August 6, 5 to 9 p.m.
Gallery 6 officially opened in February, but with the return of gallery exhibitions in general, the team behind the photography gallery, photographers themselves, are celebrating at a grand opening with new prints on view.
Anthony Garcia, Sr., Subtle Transitions
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 7, 6 to 10 p.m.
Alto Gallery goes back to its roots as a project of the Birdseed Collective with a show by Birdseed founder Anthony Garcia, Sr. Garcia is known for his striped canvases and murals originally inspired by Mexican serape patterns; these days, they’ve become more sophisticated, in the footsteps of Gene Davis. The word on the street is that Alto will be on the move from Tennyson Street after Garcia’s show closes, giving you one more reason to drop in at the opening.
Black Book Gallery, 3878 South Jason Street, Englewood
Saturday, August 7, 6 to 10 p.m.
Black Book hosts a one-night pop-up showcasing a quartet of women ceramic artists — Emily Yong Beck, Katie Kimmel, Janiece Maddox and Lorien Stern — working in fun, pop styles. Kimmel’s inspiration comes from her beloved dogs — Pony, Muffin and Boss — and other animal friends, live or imagined; Stern mixes shapes and color for decorative ceramic tiles and sculptural animal wall hangings; Maddox makes mugs using a childhood aesthetic; and Yong Beck extends that same aesthetic with pop references.
Sculpture in the Park Show & Sale
Benson Sculpture Garden, 2908 Aspen Drive, Loveland
Saturday, August 7, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, August 8, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sculpture in the Park, Loveland’s annual display of work by more than 150 sculptors, both local and national, is the largest outdoor juried sculpture show in the country. But it also serves a local purpose: upkeep and the purchase of new permanent works in the town’s Benson Sculpture Garden. If nothing else, it’s a beautiful way to spend some time outdoors in a natural setting.
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