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
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
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
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.
NOTE: The Kirkland Museum is temporarily closed. The museum is building a new 38,500-square-foot facility and relocating to 12th Avenue and Bannock Street. It will be near the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum within Denver's Golden Triangle. The new building is set to open in late 2017. See the museum's website for updates.
ART DISTRICT ON SANTA FE
Art District on Santa Fe (located on Santa Fe Drive between 4th and 12 avenues) 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.
GOOD TO KNOW: "Third Friday Collectors Night" is a multi-gallery art opening in over 14 galleries in the Art District every third Friday of the month.
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. 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.
GOOD TO KNOW: With more than 230 exhibitors, the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival, held every Fourth of July weekend, is one of the largest art celebrations in the country.
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.
GOOD TO KNOW: Stroll, shop and gallery hop from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on the first Friday evening of each month during "Artwalk" on Tennyson Street.
The Golden Triangle 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.
GOOD TO KNOW: On the first Friday of every month, the galleries stay open late and the "Art Bus," a free bus service, shuttles artsy types from gallery to gallery, as well as to and from the Art District on Santa Fe.
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.
GOOD TO KNOW: RiNo is also becoming known as a foodie hot spot.