Denver Arts Week returns with classic events, blockbuster exhibitions
and unique visual and performing arts
The 11th annual Denver Arts Week, a nine-day celebration of The Mile High City’s vibrant arts and cultural communities, will take place from November 3-11, 2017, with more than 300 events showcasing a wide variety of galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls in multiple neighborhoods. The weeklong festivities also include signature events like the popular Know Your Arts First Friday art walks, an evening when neighborhood galleries and studios are open for people to explore; and Free Night at the Museums, when Denver’s best museums stay open late and admission is free.
“The Mile High City is already home to unique, world-class museums, rich culture, abundant street art, a burgeoning music scene and more, which is reason enough to celebrate during Denver Arts Week,” says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And, within the next year, the momentum will continue. Denver will host several internationally renowned exhibitions, become home to various visual arts displays from famous domestic and international artists and be on stage as a chosen city for some of the country’s top touring Broadway shows – putting the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene in the spotlight around the U.S. and the world.”
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.
Signature Events
Know Your Arts First Friday, November 3
Denver Arts Week kicks off with citywide First Friday Art Walks in all of Denver’s art districts. More than 100 galleries and venues stay open late for a night of art, food, drink and fun. Know Your Arts First Friday provides a way for people to meet local artists, peruse art in a creative and causal way and even find great deals on original artwork, with prices starting at a “mile-high” $52.80 price tag at many participating galleries. This year, RiNo (River North) Art District and the new Drink RiNo group will sponsor a free shuttle from 5pm-12am that has multiple stops at galleries, studios, breweries and eateries throughout RiNo. For more information of the arts districts and neighborhoods, check out VISIT DENVER’s Neighborhood Guides.
Free Night at the Museums, November 4
Continuing the Denver Arts Week kickoff weekend, many 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, November 4-5
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.
40th Annual Denver Film Festival, November 1-12
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.
Blockbuster Exhibitions
Nature’s Amazing Machines, through January 1, 2018
Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s exhibition, Nature’s Amazing Machines, uses real objects, scientific models and hands-on elements to showcase the marvels of natural engineering. Discover how a giraffe’s heart pumps blood up its long neck, how a toucan stays cool in the jungle and how it might feel to fly. Visitors will also see modern designs inspired by natural adaptations, like Velcro, wind turbines and chainsaws.
Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, October 22, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Denver Art Museum will host Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, a traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts that surveys the artistic contributions of women in Paris during the second half of the 19th century, revealing the breadth and strength of their achievements. The exhibition will feature more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America, who migrated to Paris to further their artistic careers. They range from well-known artists such as Berthe Morisot (French), Mary Cassatt (American) and Rosa Bonheur (French), to painters who are lesser-known in the United States, including Anna Ancher (Danish) and Paula Modersohn-Becker (German).
Ultimate Dinosaurs, through January 15, 2018
This Denver Museum of Nature & Science exhibition will go beyond familiar dinosaurs to showcase some of the most spectacular fossils unearthed in recent years. Evolving in isolation, the new discoveries from Africa, South America and Madagascar are among the strangest creatures ever on display. The exhibit will feature dozens of life-size fossils and casts alongside augmented reality displays of the creatures in lifelike settings.
Backstory: Western American Art in Context, through February 11, 2018
Artists of the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries captured the landscapes and people of a rapidly changing West – as events set in motion dynamics that still shape the region today. Backstory: Western American Art in Context at History Colorado Center pairs nearly 50 masterpieces from the Denver Art Museum’s renowned collection with History Colorado’s wealth of artifacts to tell the stories beyond the art.
Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, through October 17, 2018
In his first major public sculpture project, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has reinterpreted twelve bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing. The bronze pieces will surround the Sea Lions Fountain on the north end of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, and a complementary educational exhibit, Ai Weiwei: Art & Social Change will be housed in the McNichols Civic Center building, adjacent to the sculptures.
Denver on Stage
David Sedaris Live, November 10
Bestselling author and humorist, David Sedaris, will be at Denver’s Paramount Theatre for a one-night engagement of all-new readings, a question and answer session and a book signing of his new book, “Theft by Finding Diaries (1977-2002).”
The Snowy Day, through November 18
Inspired by Ezra Jack Keats’ acclaimed children’s books – including the 1963 Caldecott Medal winner The Snowy Day as well as Goggles, A Letter to Amy and Whistle for Willie – follow the adventures of young Peter as he explores the world around him. From the joys of a first snowfall and learning how to whistle to thrilling encounters delivering a precious invitation, the delightful moments of childhood are perfectly captured in this medley of simple, sweet stories. The production kicks off the new Theatre for Young Audiences program through Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which focuses on performances especially tailored for youth audiences.
Smart People, through November 19
This biting comedy follows four Harvard intellectuals struggling to understand why the lives of so many people – including their own – continue to be undermined by race. But no matter how hard they research, question and confront the issue, their own problems with self-awareness make it difficult to face the facts of life.