Vibrant art districts, world-class museums and hidden gems. Find out why Denver is the place to be when it comes to everything artsy.
Denver Art Museum
Clyfford Still Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver)
Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
American Museum of Western Art - The Anschutz Collection
Denver International Airport
Museum of Outdoor Arts
Denver's Public Art
Denver Arts Week
Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Denver Art Districts
Shop for Art in Denver
100 W 14th Ave. Pkwy.
An architectural marvel, the Denver Art Museum is a world-class center for creativity through the ages.
Before you go into the Denver Art Museum, you'll simply want to walk around it. The Hamilton Building, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, was completed in 2006 and quickly became an international icon. With its jagged, gleaming edges and mind-bending angles, the building looks radically different from every viewpoint. The fortress-like, Gio Ponti-designed original building is amazing, too, as are the many pieces of public art that surround the museum.
Once you're inside the Denver Art Museum, you'll be treated to masterpieces stretching back thousands of years. The Denver Art Museum is home to one of the finest collections of American Indian art in the world, masterpieces by Monet, Pisarro and Homer, a wide array of Western American art, and cutting edge works from the 21st century. The Denver Art Museum also hosts must-see, temporary exhibitions, many of which are exclusive to the Rocky Mountain region, including including Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century (November 16, 2014-March 15, 2015) and Matisse and Friends (October 12-February 8).
The Denver Art Museum is FREE on the first Saturdayof every month.
Denver Art Museum highlights include:
American Indian Art
The Denver Art Museum’s American Indian collection, considered one of the finest such collections in the world, offers visitors the opportunity to experience the artistic vision of generations of American Indian artists from across North America. From ancient puebloan ceramics, to 19th century Arapaho beaded garments, to contemporary glass work, the museum offers a look at the rich diversity of art forms, histories, and artistic styles coming from American Indian artists and communities. True to the organizing theme of the galleries, Artist’s Eye, Artist’s Hand, visitors are reminded that American Indian art is a vibrant and continuing tradition advanced by individual artists and craftspersons.
Western American Art
The Denver community has long embraced its western roots, and, as the region’s premier visual arts institution, the Denver Art Museum has collected and exhibited western American art for over 50 years. In the early 1950s the first curator of western art was appointed and several masterworks such as Alfred Jacob Miller’s Shoshone Indians at a Mountain Lake were acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. With remarkable historical paintings such as Miller’s and two key early exhibitions, Building the West (1955) and The Western Frontier (1966), the museum began to position itself as a serious venue for western American artistic expression and culture in the Rocky Mountain region. In the last quarter century the museum has organized and hosted a broad range of western exhibitions. The museum is home to an extraordinary bronze, The Cheyenne, by Frederic Remington. When Lewis Sharp became director in 1989, he termed this sculpture “the single most important Remington bronze in existence.” Charles Russell’s stunning tribute to the Indians of the northern plains, In the Enemy’s Country is another highlight and the museum is also home to Charles Deas’s masterwork, Long Jakes, the painting which had singlehandedly created one of America’s first and most enduring western icons, the mountain man.
The photography department is recognized for its extensive holdings of nineteenth century work, notably of the American West. Collectively, the museum’s works of early photography reflect both the achievements of the medium’s outstanding practitioners and the shifting environmental attitudes of nineteenth century Americans. The collection also has strong holdings of European and American modernist photography.
Expect the unexpected at the Denver Art Museum's Untitled events! These are witty, irreverent events, each one radically different from the last. Get an offbeat art fix, pick up a creative skill, and mix and mingle with local movers and makers. Top it off with a cash bar, munchies, and a dose of pure whimsy and you've got a great night out.
Learn more at www.DenverArtMuseum.org.
1250 Bannock St.
Along with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and others, Clyfford Still is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century and an originator of the Abstract Expressionism movement. With more than 2,500 artworks in the collection, the Clyfford Still Museum is the home to the life's work of this visionary artist. Located in a beautiful new building next to the Denver Art Museum, the Still Museum lets you experience these magical works the way the artist intended.
After the Still’s death in 1980, the Clyfford Still Estate was sealed off from public and scholarly view. Still’s will stipulated that his estate be given in its entirety to an American city willing to establish a permanent museum dedicated solely to his work, ensuring its survival for exhibition and study. In August 2004, the City of Denver, under the leadership of then Mayor John W. Hickenlooper, was selected by Still’s wife, Patricia Still, to receive the substantial Still collection. In 2005, Patricia Still also bequeathed to the city her own estate, which included select paintings by her husband as well as his complete archives. The Still Museum collection, which represents nearly 94 percent of the artist’s lifetime output, includes approximately 2,400 works created between 1920 and 1980.
The two-story, 28,500-square-foot building was designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture specifically to display Still’s work. The museum broke ground in December 2009 and was completed in November of 2011.
Learn more at www.clyffordstillmuseum.org.
1485 Delgany St.
MCA Denver is gem of a museum that proves contemporary art can be thought provoking and fun all at once. “Ask museum people to name one of the most successful experimental exhibition spaces in America and a growing number will point to [MCA Denver],” The New York Times wrote in 2012.
MCA Denver's modern and elegant LEED-certified building (designed by renowned London architect David Adjaye) stands out amidst refurbished turn-of-the-century brick warehouses, and is easily recognizable thanks to the whimsical pierced heart sculpture (Toxic Schizophrenia by British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster) that stands at the entrance atop a tall steel pole.
Once inside, note the uniquely warm natural lighting; more than 50 percent of the building's exterior wall area is a double skin façade, with insulating tinted curtain walls and an interior of Monopan©, a translucent, honeycomb patterned material that allows natural light in without glare.
MCA Denver features five galleries: Photography, Paper Works, Large Works, New Media, and Projects, each with rotating exhibits - guaranteeing that every visit to the museum offers a new experience. Make your way through the inviting stillness, taking time to linger if a piece catches your eye.
The Fox Family Idea Box is a dedicated space for families located on the top floor of the museum. Filled with art making activities and comfortable seating, the Fox Family Idea Box is a place where kids and their adults can relax, make art or just hang-out.
After exploring the museum, spend a little time relaxing on MCA Denver's rooftop deck, a hidden jewel boasting 360-degree views of the Denver skyline. The Garden, created by local landscape architect Karla Dakin, features several steel-framed plant and flower beds suspended in space, floating above a pool of water. The MCA Café on the rooftop offers beverages, organic and locally grown food and free WiFi.
Learn more at www.mcadenver.org.
Mixed Taste at MCA Denver
You might think a lecture at an art museum would be a not-too-thrilling way to spend an evening. Think again. Every summer, MCA Denver's Mixed Taste series is one of the hottest ticket in town, presenting "tag team lectures" from experts on unrelated topics. Cave Painting & Tequila! Existentialism & Giant Vegetables! Machiavelli & Fresh Meat Sausage! Will the results be like oil and water or chocolate and peanut butter? You never know, but it's guaranteed to be fun. The main event is preceded by a reception with cocktails and appetizers.
Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, October 31, 2014-April 12, 2015
The mastermind behind art-punk pioneers Devo comes to MCA Denver! Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia includes documentation and music from his DEVO days; prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, rugs and video animations; performances; newly produced musical and sculptural installations; and most notably a life-long series of postcard-sized works, which will be exhibited in its entirety for the first time.
Learn more at www.mcadenver.org.
1311 Pearl St.
This spot -- called “Denver’s most interesting museum” by the Denver Post -- is housed in the former studio of one of Denver's important painters, abstract expressionist Vance Kirkland (1904-1981). Kirkland lived and painted in the city for more than 50 years, creating a world-renowned body of work, and in the process becoming a bona fide Mile High City icon.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is by no means the biggest art museum in Denver - but size isn't everything. Virtually every inch of the walls and floors here are covered in eye-catching art and very cool mid-century modernist furnishings. The museum is filled to the brim with Colorado and regional art and more than 3,300 3,500 works of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Wiener Werkstätte, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Modern, Pop Art and Postmodern.
A handy tip - once you've made your way through the museum, go back to the beginning and start again. You're sure to see new, amazing stuff you missed the first time around. Of particular interest is the room devoted to Colorado artists from the 20th century, featuring pieces from some of the state's greatest creative minds. Kirkland's own distinctive and colorful pieces are of course well represented, including work from all phases of his career.
NOTE: Kirkland Museum is building a new facility and relocating to 12th Avenue and Bannock Street, near the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum, in Denver's Golden Triangle Museum District. The museum is currently in the design phase, with an expected groundbreaking to take place in mid-2015 and opening in early 2017.
1727 Tremont Place
Old West aficionados will make a beeline to this new, 26,000-square-foot museum, housing a collection of paintings that surveys the art of the American West from the early 19th century to the present. The American Museum of Western Art is in the beautiful Navarre Building, located across from the Brown Palace in downtown Denver.
The artwork on view at the American Museum of Western Art represents a cross section of paintings that survey the art of the American West from the early 19th century through the age of industrialization. During the relatively short period of history illustrated by this collection, the West was transformed from Indian territory unknown to most inhabitants of the eastern United States into a settled region. Within only 90 years after the Louisiana Purchase, the “Old West” of Indian buffalo hunters, mountain men, pioneers, gold-seekers, and open-range cowboys had passed into history.
Prior to its installation in the Navarre building in 1999, selections from The Anschutz Collection were widely exhibited throughout the United States and were also shown in Canada (Calgary), in Europe (Helsinki, Brussels, Munich, London, Paris, and Vienna), in the People’s Republic of China (Beijing and Shanghai), and in the former Soviet Union (Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tbilisi, and Leningrad).
The Museum is open to the public for regularly scheduled tours every Monday and Wednesday (except legal holidays). Curated docent-led tours begin at 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and last about 1½ to 2 hours. Self-Guided explorations include an audio tour which lasts about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Each tour is limited to a maximum of 25 people in order to offer each visitor an individual and intimate experience with one of the finest collections of American Western art in the world. Currently, admission to each tour must be pre-purchased by credit or debit card through the Museum’s website.
Learn more at www.anschutzcollection.org.
8500 Pena Blvd.
An art museum in an airport? It’s true. The Denver International Airport (DIA) houses one of the largest public art collections of any U.S. airport. As they make their way to and from their flights, travelers will see sculptures, murals, and installations that are inspiring, whimsical, beautiful and thought-provoking -- often all at once!
A few highlights include:
The imposing figure that greets you as you drive towards the airport is "Mustang," a 32-foot cast-fiberglass sculpture by Luis Jiménez. Jiménez' characteristic style references the grandeur of the Mexican muralists, the energy of the Southwest and the bright colors he experienced as a youth in his father's sign-making company. “Mustang” has earned passionate supporters and detractors since being installed in 2008. “Love it or loathe it, though, “Mustang” is doing what art is supposed to do — get attention,” the New York Times quipped.
In "Experimental Aviation" 140 airplanes, created by artist Patti Ortiz, suspended from the ceiling greet travelers as they arrive in Jeppesen Terminal from the train platform. The planes, reminiscent of playful, brightly colored paper airplanes, direct people up the escalators and out into the open space of the terminal's Great Hall.
America, Why I Love Her
"America, Why I Love Her" was inspired by family road trips from the artist's childhood. While traveling around the United States, Gary Sweeney was struck by the beauty and grandeur of the land, as well as the truly bizarre monuments and roadside attractions that dot the American landscape. "America, Why I Love Her" is an attempt to pay homage to family vacations in general, and to tourist spots in particular.
Beaded Circle Crossing
"Beaded Circle Crossing," located at the B Gates, derives its form from the lodges, tipis and beadwork of Native Americans, as well as from the bridges of Eiffel and Calatrava. Created by artist Alice Adams, the central upper rectangle, symbolic of the earth and of the buffalo, is supported by two iridescent screens of spliced colored-glass tubes alternating with "bugle bead" shapes. The gathering of the poles around the helix of yellow glass may be seen as a sun symbol or as the central opening at the top of the tipi.
Deep Time / Deep Space, A Subterranean Journey
"Deep Time / Deep Space, A Subterranean Journey" is a mile-long light and sculpture installation sited in the inbound train tunnel. The work is inspired by Colorado's industrial and social history and transforms the tunnel with images drawn from related environments including a mineshaft, a cave and deep space. Train riders experience animated sculptural forms from miners' pickaxes to hovering satellites. Made of more than 5,000 feet of conduit, strips of reflective sheeting, construction materials, steel shapes and light, the highly sophisticated sequence of lighting effects is controlled by an industrial computer and sensor system traditionally used to automate factory assembly lines.
Learn more at www.flydenver.com/art.
1000 Englewood Pkwy., Englewood
Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) is a forerunner in the placement of site-specific sculpture in Colorado. MOA’s art collection is located within various public locations throughout the Denver metro area. From commercial office parks to botanic gardens, city parks and traditional sculpture gardens; art is placed to interpret space as “a museum without walls.” Foremost, MOA believes in "making art a part of everyday life."
MOA is headquartered at the Englewood Civic Center in the heart of Englewood. MOA also offers INDOOR galleries, studios and special events and programs.
MOA has been acquiring unique additions to our comprehensive indoor and outdoor collections since its establishment in 1981. Paintings, kinetic sculptures, bronze statues, and earth based conceptual works are just a few of examples of what the organization’s various art destinations have to offer. The collection has expanded from 19 original art acquisitions to over 150 spread throughout Englewood, Greenwood Plaza and Denver.
Learn more at www.moaonline.org.
Denver’s Public Art Program was established in 1988 as an Executive Order under Mayor Federico Peña. The order, enacted into Ordinance by Mayor Wellington E. Webb, directs that 1% of any capital improvement project over $1 million undertaken by the City, be set aside for the inclusion of art in the design and construction of these projects. Over the past 20 years, along with the historic and donated works of art, make up the City’s 300+ piece Public Art Collection, with several that have become iconic symbols for Denver. The Public Art collection has expanded the opportunity for Denver residents to experience art in public places, thereby creating more visually pleasing environments.
Just a few highlights include:
Camarasaurus and Ceratosaurus
Situated in the canyon-like area next to the elevators in the of Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s parking garage, “Camarasaurus” and “Ceratosaurus” stage an unexpected prehistoric scene. Artist Gary Staab created a long-necked Camarasaurus (approximately 60 feet long and 34 feet tall) rearing up on its hind legs in a defensive position after being startled by a smaller predatory Ceratosaurus (approximately 17 feet long) on a ledge nearby.
This very cool, 10,000 square foot mural, created by Emanuel Martinez in 1999, captures the confluence of people who helped build Denver into the city that it is today. Head to the Little Raven St. and Speer Blvd. underpass to check out an iconic Mile High City image.
Located in front of the Denver Public Library’s main branch, Donald Lipski’s red chair is 21 feet tall and ten feet wide, and the pinto pony placed on it is six feet tall at the ears. The scale of this work is meant to recall that time in life when even everyday objects seemed monumental.
One of Denver's most striking pieces of public art - The Dancers by Jonathan Borofsky is located on the grassy expanse outside of downtown’s Denver Performing Arts Complex. These gleaming, 50-foot-high white humanoid figures cavort just a stone's throw from DPAC, the nation's largest performing arts complex, symbolizing Denver's love of dance, theatre and music. And speaking of music, if this sculpture gets you in the mood for some dancing of your own, music piped in through speakers in the park provide buoyant accompaniment.
I See What You Mean
Known by locals as the Blue Bear, this massive piece of public art outside the Colorado Convention Center is a Denver icon. Created by Denver-based artist Lawrence Argent, this delightful 40-foot sculpture, surrounded by xeriscaped gardens, peers curiously into the building, injecting a sense of fun and playfulness into the Convention Center experience. Take a photo or two of this Only-In Denver icon - he looks good from all angles.
Learn more at www.artsandvenuesdenver.com/public-art.
Experience The Mile High City's vibrant arts scene during Denver Arts Week every November -- museums, theater, visual arts, dance, comedy, music, film, literature, history and heritage!
The nine-day celebration of all things art features more than 300 events at a wide variety of art galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls. Presented by VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, many of the events are free or deeply discounted.
Some of the highlights include:
Know Your Arts First Friday
Denver Arts Week kicks off with Know Your Arts First Friday, a “super-sized,” citywide First Friday street party where dozens of art galleries in seven neighborhoods stay open late, offering live music, art demonstrations, food and drink, and a chance to interact with artists. It’s the perfect introduction to the city’s creative community.
Neighborhoods include the Golden Triangle Museum District, Art District on Santa Fe, Navajo Street Arts District, Tennyson Street Cultural District, RiNo, Downtown Denver/LoDo and Belmar Block 7.
Many galleries offer artwork for the special "mile high" price of $52.80. (Denver is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level - one mile high.)
Food trucks, buskers, street musicians, fire-eaters, and mimes will enliven the party atmosphere as thousands of people stroll neighborhoods and browse art.
Night at the Museums
Denver Arts Week’s most popular event feature more than 20 area museums staying open from 5 to 10 p.m. on a Saturday night – for FREE! Even better, there are free shuttle buses to carry people from one museum to another, making it possible for families to “museum-hop.” Nearly 25,000 people have participated in previous Night at the Museums.
Many of the museums will offer special programs, family-friendly activities and live music.
All museums are open from 5 to 10 p.m. for free. Shuttle buses stop at or near museums beginning at 5 p.m. from the Denver Art Museum (parking available in the Cultural Complex Garage) and also from a shuttle stop between the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Denver Zoo.
Denver’s On Stage
Denver’s performing arts world struts its stuff all week long during Denver’s On Stage, featuring special deals and discounts for theater, dance, music and more.
Denver Arts Week 2014 takes place November 7-15. Learn more at www.DenverArtsWeek.com.
For three days during the July 4th holiday weekend since 1991, Colorado's signature cultural event is presented in Denver's Cherry Creek North. The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts and enjoys an annual attendance of 350,000 visitors. Special exhibits, art and culinary demonstrations, and interactive family activities on “Artivity Avenue” complement the festival experience.
Learn more at www.cherryarts.org.
Find the pulse of Denver’s vibrant creative community year-round on the first Friday of each month in The Mile High City’s neighborhood art districts.
Galleries, studios and cultural attractions stay open late for a mind-expanding night of art, food, drink and fun.
Art District on Santa Fe
The first-ever "Certified Art District" by Colorado Creative Industries, the Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, with the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado. The district features 90 galleries, not to mention breweries, shops and restaurants. Art lovers can find everything from traditional art to contemporary and engaging art, including painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, graphic art, and textiles.
Within this thriving creative community, enjoy the First Friday Art Walks (6 to 9 p.m.) every first Friday of the month. Free, guided shuttle coaches pick you up at the light rail station at 10th Avenue and Osage Street and ferry you around the Art District between 5:30 and 9:30 pm. Every third Friday, the Art District offers Collector Preview Events, a more intimate version of First Friday with an opportunity for patrons to see the art and meet the artists and owners without the large First Friday crowds.
Cherry Creek North Art District
Cherry Creek North is known nationally as a premier outdoor retail, dining, and mixed-use area located just 5 minutes from downtown Denver, across from the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. There are now no less than 19 art galleries located in the art district. With two floors of gorgeous glass, PISMO Fine Art Glass (2770 East 2nd Ave.) offers the most extensive collection of contemporary glass art in the region. At West SouthWest (257 Fillmore St.), discover Indian jewelry, Navajo folk art, pottery, paintings and sculpture, home accessories and furniture, plus unique handmade gifts for all tastes. Show of Hands (210 Clayton St.) specializes in furnishings, wall art and sculpture, glasswear, pottery, lamps, jewelry, and yard art. Gallery M (2830 East 3rd Ave.) offers a contemporary collection of paintings, photography and sculpture. Cherry Creek North also hosts Colorado's signature art festival, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, every Frouth of July weekend.
Golden Triangle Museum District
The Golden Triangle Museum District is a culturally stimulating neighborhood that is home to eight of Denver's museums, in addition to 11 galleries, fine art studios and specialty stores.
Every first Friday, come find yourself in the Golden Triangle and lose yourself in a fun and free evening of fine food, art and culture. Free First Friday Art Tours take place in the Golden Triangle from 5 to 9 p.m. every month, with as many as 50 galleries, artist's studios, specialty stores and museums or cultural centers participating. The free Art Bus shuttles participants around the neighborhood to all of the openings. The Golden Triangle is home to the famed Denver Art Museum, but also several hidden gem attractions, like the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and the Molly Brown House Museum.
River North Art District (RiNo)
Just north of downtown, you'll find 68 galleries in the newly christened River North Art District, which goes by the catchy nickname RiNo. The district has even adopted a rhino design for its official insignia. RiNo was recently named a Colorado Art District by Colorado Creative Industries and has rapidly becoming the hotspot for artsy types in Denver, with a remarkable array of creative businesses, including architects, art galleries, designers, furniture makers, illustrators, painters, media artists, photographers, sculptors, and a wealth of studio spaces. Explore this innovative scene on the first Friday of every month between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Tennyson Street Cultural District
In Denver's Highlands neighborhood, west of Downtown, discover the burgeoning creative scene of the Tennyson Street Cultural District. The neighborhood boasts 13 art galleries, where you can spend an afternoon browsing antique prints, photographs, and paintings from local artists. You'll also find a few live music venues and some great Italian and Mexican food. The First Friday evening of each month, the merchants along North Denver's Tennyson Street invite you to stroll, shop, and gallery hop from 6 until 10 p.m. Between 38th and 44th Avenues, check out restaurants, boutiques, coffee houses, indie book stores and, of course, wonderful art galleries and studios, all tucked into one of Denver's funkiest neighborhoods. The historic Oriental Theatre (4335 W. 44th Ave.) is one of the coolest venues in Denver, hosting live music, theater and comedy.
Navajo Street Art District
This upstart art district is small, but grows with leaps and bounds, with seven great galleries. The best time to see what's happening in the Navajo Street Art District is - of course - on first Fridays between 5 and 9 p.m., with every month bringing new shows, artists, and art lovers to this lower Highlands neighborhood between 35th and 37th Streets. One of the winners of the Mayor's Excellence in Arts Award, Pirate: Contemporary Art has been a fixture on Denver's art scene for more than three decades, bringing bold and eclectic art to Navajo Street year after year.
Belmar Block Art District
With nine galleries, Block 7 in Lakewood's Belmar neighborhood is a center for synergy for local artists and designs. The space was designed to meet the specific space requirements desired by artists today—for their work and interaction with the Lakewood art community. First Friday Art Walks are open to the public, free and your opportunity to learn and collect. The Block 7 galleries and studios open to the public include: Anam Cara Living Arts Studio, Anne Van Leeuwen Studios & Gallery, DiagnosisART, Made In, R Design, True Colors Studio & Gallery, Twigs & Twine and Valkarie Gallery.
South Pearl Street
Stroll between 1200 and 1800 on South Pearl Street on First Fridays (April through December) and check out eight galleries, plus many shops hosting local artists, not to mention live music, food and drink. The Sand Dollar Gallery (1256 S. Pearl) opened its doors in 1975, making it one of the longest running galleries in Denver.
Go beyond the ordinary when searching for interior decoration or gifts in Denver and explore The Mile High City’s vibrant creative world, from hip museum gift stores to art district galleries. You’re sure to find a completely unique and memorable piece created by a local artist, or a print by a modern master.
MUSEUM GIFT STORES
DENVER ART MUSEUM
100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.
Unique, artsy gifts abound at the Denver Art Museum's expansive Museum Shop. Browse the exhibition catalogs, art books, jewelry, and fine gifts in the shop's two locations. Many of the items here are made by Colorado artisans. You can also check out what the shop has to offer online.
GOOD TO KNOW: Members receive a 10 percent discount at the Museum Shop.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DENVER
1485 Delgany St.
Grab a piece of the cutting-edge arts world at MCA Denver's eclectic SHOP MCA. The sleek shelves here are filled with art books, graphic novels, custom-made MCA Denver mix CDs, and art t-shirts for "genius babies, artistic teens and open-minded adults." Limited edition works by avant-garde art icons John Waters, Marcel Dzama, Arturo Herrera and Jeff Starr are available as well.
GOOD TO KNOW: Members receive a 10 percent discount at SHOP MCA.
KIRKLAND MUSEUM OF FINE & DECORATIVE ART
1311 Pearl St.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art's Gift Shop - like the museum itself - isn't big. But it's packed wall-to-wall with fascinating items, including books, videos, ceramics, candles, postcards, notecards, posters and scarves. Among the offerings are difficult to find or out-of-print books, production pottery from the Van Briggle Pottery Company in Colorado Springs, and one-of-a-kind ceramics by Nan McKinnell and David Beumée.
GOOD TO KNOW: The dynamic work of legendary Colorado painter Vance Kirkland is of course well represented at the Gift Shop, with posters, reproductions and even messenger bags available for purchase.
ART DISTRICT ON SANTA FE
Art District on Santa Fe (located on Santa Fe Dr. between 4th and 12 aves.) is an art-lover's paradise, with dozens of galleries to visit, as well as restaurants, shops and museums. Start your Santa Fe shopping spree at Artists on Santa Fe (747 Santa Fe Dr.), one of the oldest gallery/studios in the area, featuring more than 25 artists working in a wide variety of media. Then explore the inviting Sandra Phillips Gallery (744 Santa Fe Dr.), representing important regional artists as well as emerging artists who offer fresh, innovative and compelling ideas. After that, simply wander the district, popping into whatever gallery space catches your eye.
CHERRY CREEK NORTH
The uber-hip Cherry Creek North is a 16-block shopping and dining neighborhood brimming with independently owned boutiques and restaurants - not to mention more than a dozen world-class art galleries. With two floors of gorgeous glass, PISMO Fine Art Glass (2770 East 2nd Ave.) offers the most extensive collection of contemporary glass art in the region. At West SouthWest (257 Fillmore St.), discover Indian jewelry, Navajo folk art, pottery, paintings and sculpture, home accessories and furniture, plus unique handmade gifts for all tastes. Show of Hands (210 Clayton St.) specializes in furnishings, wall art and sculpture, glasswear, pottery, lamps, jewelry, and yard art. Gallery M (2830 East 3rd Ave.) offers a contemporary collection of paintings, photography and sculpture.
TENNYSON STREET CULTURAL DISTRICT
Growing with leaps and bounds every month, the Tennyson Street Cultural District is the perfect spot to search for unique art gifts. Lapis Arts (3971 Tennyson St.) features wonderful photography, fine art and custom furniture. NOW ArtSpace (3977 Tennyson St.) displays watercolors, carbon-print photographs, aesthetic and functional metalwork, mixed media, documentary photography, and hand-made jewelry, all created by emerging and established local artists.
GOLDEN TRIANGLE MUSEUM DISTRICT
The Golden Triangle Museum District is home to the Denver Art Museum, but on the streets surrounding it, art lovers will find plenty of stellar galleries to browse through. The William Havu Gallery (1040 Cherokee St.) features contemporary art with a wide assortment of media and styles from regionally, nationally and internationally known artists. Walker Fine Art (300 W. 11th Ave.) is a cool, loft-style gallery featuring captivating original contemporary art. Michele Mosko of Michele Mosko Fine Art (136 W. 12th Ave.) spent 25 years in the New York City art world, and adds a sophistication and excitement to the Denver art scene.
RIVER NORTH ART DISTRICT (RINO)
Spend an afternoon or evening browsing the galleries and studio spaces that make up the vibrant River North Art District, which locals call "RiNo." Start at the Dry Ice Factory (3300 Walnut St.), a sprawling complex home to 20 individual artist studios, a ceramics facility, a large art gallery, and a coffee shop. Then check out Ironton Studios & Gallery (3636 Chestnut St.), where photographers, woodworkers, metal fabricators and sculptors, painters and stone carvers all work and play. Known as "RiNo Headquarters," The Weilworks Gallery (3611 Chestnut St.) boasts three stories of exhibition space, including a 1,000-square-foot first floor gallery, a second-floor art landing, and Denver's first Exhibition Tower offering inspiring views of Downtown Denver and the Front Range. Note: You may want to call ahead to visit RiNo's studios and galleries -- some are open by appointment only.