Denver Arts Week returns with free events, discounts and new finale

Photo: Denver Arts Week
Night at the Museums event at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver during the 2013 Denver Arts Week

Denver Arts Week, an annual nine-day celebration of the Rocky Mountain region’s arts and culture, concludes with a new large-scale event that places a heavy emphasis on fashion.

Produced by Cherry Creek Arts Festival, “Art Denver” runs Nov. 14 to 16 at the Colorado Convention Center.

It includes a live fashion show displaying the apparel of Colorado and national designers like Mondo Guerra, runner-up on season eight of Lifetime Network’s reality show “Project Runway.” The event also features live entertainment, artisan goods, food and artwork for sale -- much of which carries the label "Colorado Made."

Launched in 2007 by Visit Denver, the city’s tourism bureau, Denver Arts Week aims to boost awareness of metro area arts and cultural offerings.

The 2014 Denver Arts Week spans from Nov. 7 to 16 and encompasses more than 300 events across more than 150 galleries, museums and cultural institutions.

It spotlights dozens of metro-area performing arts organizations, ranging from smaller theater companies like Theatre Company of Lafayette to large-scale institutions such as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Photo: Denver Arts Week Mayor Hancock
Mayor Michael B. Hancock suspended in a harness to paint a horizontally laid canvas during the Denver Arts Week 2013 press conference at the Kirkland Museum.

Many organizations, like the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities and University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, are offering discounted tickets to performances during the nine-day stretch.

“The idea was to raise the level of consciousness to the arts for one week a year and show the breadth of all the different types of art in the metro area,” event organizer Jayne Buck says.

Buck says the event spans two weekends to ensure the inclusion of the broadest possible range of cultural activities and organizations.

“The programming is very diverse and if you just choose one weekend you might exclude someone,” Buck says.

And Denver Arts Week isn’t exclusive to Denver.

Cultural organizations based in Golden, Boulder, Littleton, Aurora and Lakewood are part of this year’s lineup, such as the Lakewood Cultural Center, the American Mountaineering Museum in Golden and Englewood’s Museum of Outdoor Art.

Each year, Denver Arts Week kicks off with “Know Your Arts First Friday,” an enhanced version of the popular monthly “First Friday” art walks around the city. People can tour galleries, meet the artists, hear live music and even purchase select artwork for a price tag -- $52.80 -- that matches Denver’s location in feet above sea level.

Photo: Denver Art Week dancers
Dancers warming up for "Chance to Dance," a day of free dance classes and workshops at the McNichols Building in Denver, during the 2013 Denver Arts Week

“Chance to Dance,”a day of free dance classes and workshops on Saturday Nov. 8 at the McNichols Building in downtown Denver.

Another highlight of this year's Arts Week is “Night at the Museums." On Saturday Nov. 8, 24 metro-area museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Clyfford Still Museum and the Denver Art Museum will stay open late and offer free admission from 5 to 10 p.m.

One of the main aims of Denver Arts Week is to attract new audiences to the arts.

As such, the event includes many family-friendly happenings, meet-the-artist events and one-day workshops to help introduce people to some of the city’s hidden cultural gems.

Buck hopes the week of free events and discounted tickets will inspire people to step beyond their cultural comfort zone and try out unfamiliar museums, galleries, performance troupes and neighborhoods.

“One main goal of Arts Week is to generate new audiences and new buyers for local artists,” Buck says. “We want to get people out into the different neighborhoods.”

Some of the best deals, discounts and free events of Denver Arts Week include:

  • Know Your Arts First Friday”: Seven creative Denver neighborhoods, including Denver’s Arts District on Santa Fe, River North (RiNo) Arts District and Golden Triangle Museum District, participate in the expanded “First Friday” art walks with live music, gallery tours and discounts on artwork.
  • Night at the Museums”: On Saturday, Nov. 8, 24 metro area museums are staying open late with no-cost admission from 5 to 10 p.m. Participating institutions include the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Clyfford Still Museum. Free shuttle buses stop at or near the venues.
  • 5280 ticket deals: Denver Arts Week includes special offers for $52.80, such as prime seats at events like the Colorado Symphony’s concert with acclaimed Israeli violinist Pinchas Zuckerman and dual and family memberships to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

  • Two-for-one tickets: Buy one ticket/admission and get a second one for free at such cultural institutions as Denver’s Curious Theatre Company and the Denver Museum of Miniatures.