Colorado Arts Spotlight: Things to Know and Do Around the state June 21- 23

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Colorado comes alive this weekend with a diverse array of events celebrating music, art, and culture. From large-scale music festivals to intimate art exhibitions, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Disney's Frozen Returns to the Buell Theatre

In Frozen, as the parent of nearly every child born after 2005 knows, sisters Elsa and Anna are tested when Elsa's unpredictable ice powers trap their kingdom of Arendelle in a never-ending winter.

Disney's Frozen made its pre-Broadway debut at the Denver Center in 2017 and returns this summer for a three-week run.

Jeremy Davis, who plays Olaf in the touring production, has been with the tour for over two-and-a-half years and was also part of the original company during the out-of-town tryout in Denver. He is currently studying for his master's degree in Professional Creative Writing at the University of Denver. But his ties to the school goa back even earlier.

"My parents met and got married when they were going to DU," Davis said. "And when I was looking for a program for my master's, I found a good one at DU, so I'm very happy to be there."

Davis said being a student on the road with a major musical is physically demanding, but he makes it work. 

"It adds just another sort of avenue of creativity," Davis said. "Olaf is quite physical, and I mean, there are other parts of him that are a challenge as well, but my writing degree also helps me sort of key into another way of storytelling and it helps sort of expand my creativity."

Disney’s Frozen plays at the Denver Center from June 19 – July 3.

Collin Bajaas Sven and Jeremy Davis as Olaf pose with a reindeer in the Frozen North American Tour.
Matthew Murphy
Collin Bajaas Sven and Jeremy Davis as Olaf. Frozen North American Tour.

Discovering Teen Rex

Denver Museum of Nature & Science new exhibit showcases the recent discovery of a teenage Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, nicknamed "Teen Rex." Visitors can observe paleontologists as they work on the fossil’s preparation for final display, gaining insight into the process of uncovering and studying these ancient creatures. 

"Discovering Teen Rex" opens Saturday and is included with general admission to the Museum of Nature and Science.

Fort Morgan Food Trucks

Residents and visitors have a lot of options to choose from at Fort Morgan’s monthly food truck event, featuring 8 to 20 food trucks from the local area. The evening takes place at the Block, a shared-use commissary kitchen for small businesses in the area. 

Manager Julie Stiewig said attendees can expect a family-friendly atmosphere

"We want everyone to be comfortable," said Stiewig. "So kids can run around, and we usually have live music, some entertainment. We've done photo booths, we've done giveaways."

The food truck nights run from just 5 to 9 p.m. — a deliberate choice by organizers to keep it brief.

"It's very fun," said Juan Ayala, another team member for the event. " We keep it short, make it quick… 9 p.m. is a pretty good wrap-up time, I think, especially when kids are with them."

The June event will feature DJ Eat My Beats. According to organizers, an estimated 500 to 800 people attend the free get-together each month.

Food Truck Fridays at the Block are the third Friday of each month, from April to September. The event, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m.

The four organizers of Food Truck Fridays at the Block pose together
The organizers of Food Truck Fridays at the Block (from left to right) Freddie Gaetan Jr., Julie Stiewig, Juan Ayala and Bre Wommack.

Friday, June 21

Pride Poster-Making Workshop

The CHAC Gallery (Chicano Humanities and Arts Council) hosts a Pride Poster Making Workshop where attendees are invited to express themselves creatively and design posters to celebrate Pride. 

CHAC Pride Poster Making Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 40 West on Colfax in Lakewood. Advance registration is required and a $5 donation is suggested.

Ripple Effect — a Next Gallery Invitational

Next Gallery’s invitational art exhibition showcases the work of 19 Colorado artists. The exhibition features a diverse range of mediums, including painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and mixed media. The gallery is open Friday evenings and from noon to 5 on Saturdays and Sundays. The show runs through July 7.

Ripple Effect opening reception Friday, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Next Gallery, on East Colfax in Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District.

Saturday, June 22

World Refugee Day Celebration & Open House in Fort Collins

Church World Service (CWS) World Refugee Day Celebration & Open House will feature refugee art exhibits, cooking and dance demonstrations, craft projects, community service opportunities and a performance by local artist Saja Butler. This free event offers a diverse range of experiences, from country music to Cuban rhythms, dinosaur discoveries to artistic expressions. Organizers hope participants will learn about and support refugees in their local community and around the world.

World Refugee Day Celebration & Open House, Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Opera Galleria in Fort Collins

The Third Annual Local Artist Showcase at Florence’s Rialto Theatre

Enjoy an afternoon of live music from local artists while supporting the town’s historic Rialto Theatre. A variety of local musicians, including Chris Moulton, Creigh Johnson, Doc & Kit, Rocco and Dana, and Voices of the Canyon, will perform. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the box office, online, or at local Big D’s Superfoods and City Market.

The Third Annual Local Artist Showcase, Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre in Florence.

Sunday, June 23

Orquesta Akokán with Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Orquesta Akokán is a Cuban mambo band known for their contemporary take on the genre, while Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen bring a blend of New Orleans piano, blues, and songwriting to the stage. The two bands take the stage Sunday as part of The Arvada Center Summer Concert Series. Seating options include the lawn, where the audience is encouraged to bring their own blankets, but lawn chairs with legs are not allowed. Concerts are held rain or shine. 

Orquesta Akokán with Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts.

All Weekend

Stephanie Wolf/CPR News

Denver artist Lonnie Hanzon created an art installation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots for the 2019 Denver PrideFest.

50th Annual Denver PrideFest

Denver PrideFest is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, drawing an estimated 550,000 attendees in 2023. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Denver’s Pride celebrations. Civic Center Park is the site for the two-day festival, featuring over 250 exhibitors, 30 food vendors, and live entertainment, including a wide range of acts on the main stage.

Denver PrideFest, Saturday and Sunday in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The Pride Parade begins at 9:30 Sunday morning and travels westward along Colfax to the park.

The Country Jam Music Festival

As the largest country music festival in Colorado, Country Jam attendees can expect a celebration of the genre, with performances by both renowned artists and up-and-coming talent. This year’s Country Jam features headliners Parker McCollum, Jelly Roll, and Thomas Rhett, as well as other notable country music acts like Koe Wetzel, Lee Brice, and Flatland Cavalry. 

The Country Jam Music Festival runs Thursday through Saturday in Loma, northwest of Grand Junction.

Other arts and culture events around Colorado

How we pick our events: CO Arts Spotlight highlights events around the state to give readers a sense of the breadth of Colorado’s arts and cultural happenings, it is not — and can not possibly be — a comprehensive list of all weekly events. Entries are not endorsements or reviews. Each week’s list is published on Thursday and is not updated. Some groups that appear on the list may also be financial sponsors of CPR, but have no input into our editorial choices.

Editor's Note: Some groups mentioned in the Spotlight may be financial supporters of CPR News. Financial supporters have no editorial influence.