I get giddy every month when I sit down and dig through all the great stuff happening in the Front Range to cull down a list of incredible possibilities to just the few ventures that make it onto this blog.
Yes, giddy. Why? Because I love Denver. Because I love knowing what’s going on. Because what happens in a city is the stuff that makes it worth living there. Because I’m a weirdo who gets giddy; see “eccentric.”
These things are all true. And it’s also true that November is one of my favorite months for events because of one week: Denver Arts Week. First launched in 2007, Denver Arts Week 2014 runs November 7-15. The week includes more than 300 events, discounted memberships, and Saturday’s Night at the Museums, where many of Denver’s best institutions are open late night, several at discounted pricing.
Some of my favorite people will want to overfeed themselves in my presence over Thanksgiving later on in the month, but I’m overfeeding myself in pure arts joy earlier in the month — with the 37th Starz Denver Film Festival and every museum showing off like a peacock and there’s a new art festival and and and…
As an unabashed (and biased) lover of the arts, I decided to turn to fellow art-lovers and those in the industry to get their picks for the best of Denver Arts Week. Each person was asked the very simple question: Which Denver Arts Week event are you most looking forward to?
Gio Toninelo, creative director at Rocket House Studios—a small-but-mighty firm doing seemingly everything from design to film—is fired up to see the new artworks from DEVO frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, now showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Toninelo is most excited to see “the postcard artworks...I mean his entire show, I think! Not to mention that Denver is the kick-off city for this show.” While not a Denver Arts Week event specifically (the Mothersbaugh exhibition opened October 31 and runs through April 12, 2015), the exhibition, titled “Myopia,” is a full takeover of the entire museum and is a wonderful and whimsical way to engage in the art of a living legend.
This year’s Denver Arts Week also marks the launch of a new indoor art fair, ArtDenver, brought to you by the producers of the venerable Cherry Creek Arts Festival. “It’s going to be an amazing show!” swoons Associate Director Tara Brickell. “There are other indoor art shows in major cities around the country and we think Denver is ready for a new art experience... As the finale event to Denver Arts Week, we hope that ArtDenver will bring patrons and artists together for a celebration of the arts.” I know this is one I’ve personally been saving up for. I can’t walk into an art festival or fair and not walk out with a new, beautiful, something.
For Laura Bond, the Colorado Symphony’s director of community and media relations, the answer is a bit of a wonky one. “As I spend a lot of time these days thinking about arts policy, audience development, and the cultural moment in Denver, I'm really looking forward to the CBCA Economic Impact Study breakfast. I'm a sucker for all of the charts and graphs and quotes and data that illustrate the contribution the arts make to our state,” she explains. “We know the arts make our lives, schools, and communities better. Organizations like the CBCA help us see that they significantly fuel our economy, too.”
Rachel Cain, the program manager for Public Art Archive, shares a similar sentiment. She tells me, “I like the fact that someone has identified a week to highlight the arts in Denver. That specific programming happens to bring awareness to the scene and the people who work in it. That the richness that we have is consolidated into one week where people can find new things and explore places they didn't know about before.”
Finally, I decided to ask one of the most reliable sources for arts coverage in Colorado: Corey Jones, arts reporter at Colorado Public Radio. (You KNOW how much we love CPR!) “Oh man,” he says, “this gig doesn’t allow me to editorialize, so I have to plead the 5th on this one.” We like to think that what Jones means is that no matter what event you choose, you’ll be in for a wonderful cultural treat and get to see the best of what Denver has to offer.*
—by Leah Charney
Leah Charney is sassy yet classy and is most excited by the things she can't stop writing about, like food, music, and people. She directs operations for the WideFoc.us team, which is just a fancy way of saying she is chief cat herder.
*While he can’t ethically pick a favorite event this week, Jones did direct me to this survey about arts consumption that CPR is actively working on. You should visit the link and give them a piece of your mind!