Denver Arts Week is an annual nine-day celebration of The Mile High City’s arts and culture scene, starting on the first Friday in November. This year’s Denver Arts Week will feature performances, visual arts displays and all things art at more than 300 events throughout the city. First Friday art walks and Free Night at the Museums – beloved annual events – kick off the week, accompanied by emerging events like Breakin’ Convention and the fall edition of Denver Fashion Week.
In addition to citywide events, live performances, special exhibitions and more during Denver Arts Week, there will also be excellent deals on local art, hotel packages and discounts throughout the week. Below are just a few highlights; for even more on Denver Arts Week, go to the Denver Arts Week website.
40th Annual Denver Film Festival, Sie Film Center & various locations (October 31 – November 11)
The Denver Film Festival is the largest premier film celebration in the Rocky Mountain Region. Hosted by Denver Film Society, which works to promote film as both an art form and a civic forum, The Denver Film Festival showcases blockbusters, documentaries, shorts and independent films at a variety of venues around the city. This year’s Denver Film Festival will screen more than 130 feature-length films and dozens of shorts and other works.
First Friday, Denver’s Creative Districts (November 2)
Denver Arts Week kicks off with citywide First Friday Art Walks in six of Denver’s creative districts. More than 100 galleries and venues stay open late for a night of art, food, drink and fun. First Friday provides a way for people to meet local artists, peruse art in a creative and casual way and even find great deals on original artwork, with prices starting at a “mile-high” $52.80 price tag at participating galleries. For more information of the arts districts and neighborhoods, check out VISIT DENVER’s Neighborhood Guides.
Imagine 2020 District Challenge (November 2-10)
In the spirit of IMAGINE 2020 – Denver's Cultural Plan – city council districts will be hosting events aimed at infusing arts and culture into their council districts during Denver Arts Week. From creating walking “art loops” to performing arts showcases to mural painting, each of Denver’s districts will have something related to art happening for the public to explore and enjoy.
Free Night at the Museums, various locations (November 3)
Continuing the Denver Arts Week kickoff weekend, 17 of Denver’s top museums stay open late on the first Saturday of the annual event. Free admission and shuttle buses between neighborhoods make it easy to explore several spots throughout the course of the evening. From historic landmarks and reenactments to world-class art and technology exhibitions, there is a museum for every interest, and Free Night at the Museums is a once-a-year opportunity to experience Denver’s cultural institutions in an exciting, unique way.
Breakin’ Convention, Denver Center for the Performing Arts (November 3-4)
Returning to Denver for the second year with an all new lineup, Breakin’ Convention is the world's biggest festival of hip hop dance theater showcasing the very best from around the world. Curated and hosted by UK hip hop pioneer, Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention is an awe-inspiring weekend of exceptional performances – from world champion b-boy crews to cutting edge street dance companies. The event will also feature dance workshops, graffiti artists, DJs and freestyle sessions that create an unforgettable experience.
Denver Fashion Week, Lumenati Productions (November 4-11)
Denver Fashion Week (DFW) is Denver's largest fashion showcase featuring emerging designers, local boutiques, national brands, hair stylists, makeup artists and models. After 10 years of producing Denver Fashion Weekend, 303 Magazine launched Denver’s official fashion week in Spring 2018; and this fall’s second season will focus on brand new local talent, and it will take place at a new venue – Lumenati Productions.
Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker, Denver Art Museum (through January 6, 2019)
The Denver Art Museum will be the sole venue for Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker, which will showcase more than 100 prints, drawings, and paintings from Rembrandt van Rijn’s career spanning from 1625 to 1665. Unforgettable images of biblical, portrait, allegory, still life, landscape and genre artworks of the time demonstrate the mastery that cemented Rembrandt as one of the greatest artists in history. The exhibition will show how Rembrandt used his view of the world around him to fuel his artistic journey and will give a deeper understanding of his working habits as an artist, and moreover, as a printmaker.
CUBA!, Denver Museum of Nature & Science (October 26, 2018 – January 20, 2019)
¡CUBA!, the latest major exhibition at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, explores the dynamic culture and abundant biodiversity of the Caribbean’s largest island. Although its complex politics and vibrant music have primarily attracted the attention of the world, Cuba is also home to the unexpected. It is a place of stunning contrasts: mysterious caves and bright boulevards, sweltering fields and cool forests, hard challenges and high energy. This lively experience—presented in English and Spanish—takes a look at the people, landscapes, unique species and daily life of this intriguing country.
Denver on Stage
La Traviata, Ellie Caulkins Opera House (November 3-11)
This romantic masterpiece – sung in Italian with English and Spanish subtitles – and overflowing with some of Verdi’s most recognizable and beautiful melodies, features one of opera’s greatest heroines: the doomed courtesan Violetta, who is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of true love.
Harvey, The Olin Hotel (through November 11)
The affable Elwood P. Dowd has developed a life of contentment that he shares with his best friend: a 6-foot-tall pooka rabbit. But his eccentric ways are increasingly threatening to his sister’s social aspirations, and she resolves to have him committed to a sanitarium – until plans go awry and she ends up being committed instead. Winner of the 1945 Pulitzer Prize, this classic comedy challenges assumptions of what - and who - is “normal.” Harvey will be a site-specific production, performed in collaboration with Phamaly Theatre Company and Senior Housing Options at the historic Olin Hotel in Capitol Hill, which now serves as residential apartments for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Xanadu, Garner Galleria Theatre (November 3, 2018 – April 28, 2019)
Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, Xanadu follows the journey of a magical Greek muse, Kira, who descends from Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first roller disco. When Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds. This Tony Award-nominated musical about following your dreams despite the limitations others set for you rolls along to the original hit score composed by pop-rock legends, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar.
John Prine w/Nathaniel Rateliff, Buell Theatre (November 10)
Legendary singer, songwriter and performer John Prine will visit Denver after releasing his highly anticipated new album, The Tree of Forgiveness, on April 13. Produced by Grammy Award-winning Dave Cobb, the album is Prine's first featuring new material in over 13 years. Prine will headline a concert this November featuring special guest Nathaniel Rateliff, a Denver-based American singer and songwriter, whose influences are described as folk, Americana and vintage rhythm & blues and whose debut album, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, quickly climbed the charts in 2015.
Corduroy, Conservatory Theatre (through December 16)
One of the most beloved children’s books of all time springs to life on stage. Corduroy’s titular character has been patiently waiting on a department store shelf to find a home, and Lisa thinks he’s just the teddy bear for her. But before she can convince her mom to let her take him home, he’ll have to go on a late-night hunt to find a missing button for his overalls. Audiences of all ages can follow his adventure in this tender, enduring story about true friendship and the lengths people go to find it.
More Mile High Arts
Free Days and Evenings
In addition to Free Night at the Museums, several of Denver’s top cultural institutions will have free days and evenings throughout Denver Arts Week. Free days will happen at Denver Art Museum (Nov. 3), Denver Botanic Gardens (Nov. 3), Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (Nov. 6), Four Mile Historic Park (Nov. 9) and Denver Zoo (Nov. 9). Free evenings will take place at Clyfford Still Museum (Nov. 2) and Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (Nov. 6).
Many tour operators will be offering arts-centric tours throughout the week. Denver Graffiti Tour takes people through the RiNo (River North) Art District to explore the abundant street art in the neighborhood and learn more about the artists and the works themselves. Historic Denver Walking Tours will offer tours of the Capitol Hill and LoDo (Lower Downtown) neighborhoods, pointing out each location’s unique character through its architecture, public art and history.
In addition to great deals on art throughout the week, many attractions and performances will be offering two-for-one tickets to shows during Denver Arts Week and beyond, including the Molly Brown House Museum, Colorado Symphony, Museo de las Americas and more.