Colorado Arts Spotlight: Things to know and do around the state July 5 – 7

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Central City Opera House, front view of the building during daytime
Amanda Tipton
The historic Central City Opera House.

Arts and culture news of the week

Opera has a big night at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame

On Saturday, June 29, the CMHOF inducted the Central City Opera into its ranks. This marks the Hall of Fame’s first opera honoree.

“We are deeply honored to be receiving this recognition,” says Scott Finlay, Central City Opera’s President and CEO in a statement. “Central City Opera’s 92 years of rich musical heritage is a testament to the dedication of our supporters, volunteers, artists, and staff who have made this milestone possible. This distinction is a tribute to their commitment.”

Colorado soprano Cynthia Lawrence and professional-football-player-turned-major-opera-star Keith Miller were also in the class of 2024 inductees, as was Central City Opera’s late conductor and artistic director John Moriarty.

A full audience looking towards Chautauqua Auditorium stage, with classical musicians preparing to play.
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Colorado Music Festival with Peter Oundjian conducting at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium.

The Colorado Music Festival returns to the Chautauqua

Boulder’s classical music festival returns for its 48th year.  These annual summer concerts are performed by the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, as well as visiting artists and ensembles.

This weekend, Alisa Weilerstein plays Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. Doors at 6 p.m., music at 6:30 p.m. The festival runs through August 4.

New group to produce cultural, social and historical events along highway 24

Building Ute Pass Community (BUPC) has officially kicked off as a tax-exempt organization. The non-profit is an outgrowth of the annual Bronc Day event in Green Mountain Falls , one of Colorado’s longest-running festivals.

BUPC will sponsor the 86th Annual Bronc Day Festival on Saturday, July 27. This year’s theme – “All Aboard for Ute Pass!” – pays homage to the Midland Terminal Railway that once connected Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek via the Ute Pass.

Friday, July 5

First Friday events

This week marks the first Friday of July, and many arts and culture districts across the state are celebrating. Find art walks, gallery events, performances, live music, street vendors, food, drinks and more in Arvada, Boulder, Carbondale, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Lakewood, Pueblo, and Telluride.

First Friday on Santa Fe Drive, Aug. 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
First Friday on Santa Fe Drive, Aug. 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

First Friday at the Art Center of Western Colorado

This month’s event features the opening of four new exhibitions, highlighting the diverse talents of Western Slope artists. Featured exhibitions include: Portals, a show of abstract paintings by Sandra June; a display of oil paintings by Rachel Petit; Seven Elements: Color, featuring works from the Art Center’s permanent collection with a focus on the vibrant and diverse use of color; and a collection of works by the Art Center’s students and instructors. Free admission, plus hors d’oeuvres and a cash beer and wine bar.

First Friday at the Art Center of Western Colorado from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, in Grand Junction.

First Friday Films in Lodo 

This family-friendly event celebrates the art of storytelling through local short films, documentaries, and experimental works. There’s no admission charge.

First Friday Films, 6 to 8 p.m. at Denver Community Media. 

First Friday Jazz in Denver

Break out a blanket, camp chairs, or even a picnic and enjoy free music for First Friday at Sonny Lawson Park in Denver’s Curtis Park neighborhood. Free admission.

First Friday Jazz, from 5:30 - 7 p.m. at Sonny Lawson Park in Denver. 

"Eye Love Fruita” Art Show Opening

Artists explore Fruita’s diverse community and its rich perspectives in this show, using a number of genres and styles.  Works tell the community’s story through the artists’ eyes; abstract and realistic representations of life, values and what makes Fruita so special.

“Eye Love Fruita” opening event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, exhibit on view through August 29 at Mesa County Libraries’ Fruita Branch.

Threads of Reality: Landscapes, Legacies, and Home

Threads of Reality features works by the Art District on Santa Fe’s current Emerging Artists in Residence, Rachel Crosby, Noemi Gonzalez, and J. Bird Hernandez. On Friday, the free opening reception will feature the artists and the works they created during their three-month residency, plus other original pieces. The exhibit will be up on display through August.

Threads of Reality: Landscapes, Legacies, and Home, opening event from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Art District on Santa Fe Studios.

Rocky Mountain Music Series at Granby Ranch

This free outdoor festival features music, food, drinks, and a host of family-friendly activities throughout the day including face painters, balloon artists, lawn games, a photo booth, scenic chairlift rides and more. Non-perishable food donations will be collected for Mountain Family Center.

Rocky Mountain Music, doors open at 2 p.m., music starts at 3 p.m. at Granby Ranch ski area.

Saturday, July 5

Courtesy of Levitt Pavilion Facebook

The Revival: Flobots with Kayla Marque

Local artists the Flobots, long a leading experimental rap rock band, and Kayla Marque, an alternative pop singer-songwriter, join forces for a free outdoor concert at Denver’s Levitt Pavilion Saturday night. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own blankets and low chairs. Limited VIP entry is also available for a cost.

The Flobots, doors at 6 p.m., music starts at 7 p.m. at Levitt Pavilion in Denver.

Makers Market Lakewood

Makers Market sets up on West Colfax on Saturday, in the same shopping plaza as Casa Bonita. Shoppers can peruse wares from local crafters, artisans and small businesses at this free event. Plus, enjoy food trucks and family-friendly fun.

Makers Market 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 6455 W. Colfax Ave. 

Mozart Under Moonlight

The Colorado Symphony presents "Mozart Under Moonlight" for one night only. Associate Conductor Wilbur Lin leads the orchestra through an evening celebrating one of the most revered composers of all time. 

Mozart Under Moonlight 7:30 p.m. at the Arvada Center.

Heritage of Mexico Rodeo

This Mexican Heritage Celebration and Rodeo features a variety of specialty acts choreographed by Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion charro. Viewers will experience Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping, Mariachi music, side saddle girls and Portuguese-style bull fights (in a big difference from the Spanish-style, the bull survives). Tickets start at $15.

Greeley Stampede Heritage of Mexico Rodeo starts at 1 p.m. at Island Grove Park in Greeley.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
As the next generation of Mexican cowboys, Colorado youth are embracing the legacy of Charrería, traditional practice of livestock herding communities in Mexico. Charros have a deep history in America’s cowboy culture, credited with teaching those who settled in the U.S. West about ranching alongside other Indigenous horsemen in the region. Here, Mariano Valle drags a steer by its tail during a coleadero event in Strasburg, on Colorado's eastern plains. Nov. 4, 2023.

Sunday, July 6

Closing day for the Greeley Stampede

The Stampede wraps up Sunday with a variety of events, including a pop-up roller rink, multiple music stages and the car-crashing, engine-revving, dirt-flying fun of the demolition derby. More than 100 drivers are expected to participate.

Greeley Stampede, events start at 9 a.m. at Island Grove Park in Greeley Stampede.

All Weekend

Denver’s Fan Expo (formerly ComicCon)

This annual convention is the ultimate go-to event for sci-fi, horror, anime, gaming, and all things pop culture. Attendees can cosplay, get an autograph or a photo with celebrities (this year’s guest list includes Brie Larson, Rosario Dawson, Rainn Wilson, Andy Serkis, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Priscilla Presley, Richard Dreyfuss, and many more), get the inside scoop on their favorite movies and TV shows at celebrity panels, watch professional comic artists battle it out in Sketch Duels, learn from “How To” workshops and buy unusual gifts and keepsakes. Single-day tickets start at $39, 4-day passes start at $109.

Fan Expo events begin at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. on Friday, and 8:45 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Colorado Convention Center. 

A weekend of musicals in Grand Lake

Three musicals cycle through the theater in Grand Lake this week, including “The Music Man” at 2 p.m. on Thursday, “Come From Away” at 8 p.m. on Friday, and “Kinky Boots” at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Children’s tickets start at $35, adult tickets start at $45.

Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake. 

41st Annual Breckenridge July Art Festival

This fine art festival and juried art show will feature works from top artists in 13 categories. The artists will all be present to discuss their original work and do demonstrations. 

The Breckenridge Art Festival runs Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Breckenridge.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

This annual festival fills the streets of Denver’s Cherry Creek North neighborhood with works from over 250 juried artists. Entertainment also includes live music, kids’ activities, information about art education, food and more. The festival stretches along 2nd Avenue from Clayton to Adams Street, and between 2nd and 3rd Avenues from Detroit to Adams Street. Admission is free, with VIP ticketed events available for purchase.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Denver.

Broadmoor Traditions Fine Art Festival 

The Broadmoor Traditions Fine Art Festival showcases the work of over 100 local, national, and international artists, including sculptors, painters, jewelers, ceramicists, metal and woodworkers, and more.

Broadmoor Traditions Fine Art Festival Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Colorado Springs School. Admission is free.

Shakespeare in the Sangres: “As You Like It”

This is the final weekend for Shakespeare in the Sangres production of “As You Like It,” with the production moving from Westcliffe to the Rialto Theater in Florence. One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, the play tells the story of Rosalind, who flees to the Forest of Arden and takes the disguise of a young man. From that vantage, she satirically observes the follies of the forest’s denizens and helps rearrange the love lives of all around her – including her own.

“As You Like It,” produced by Shakespeare in the Sangres, Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Rialto Theater in Florence.

TJ Jackson and Kelly Uhlenhopp in Othello at Firehouse Theater Company.

Othello at Firehouse Theater Company

As the theater company describes it, this 400-year-old play full of “Misinformation. PTSD. Betrayal. Deep fakes” and more is just as relevant today as it ever was. This adaptation of the Shakespearian tragedy takes viewers on a fresh journey, twisting and turning through issues that have lasted for centuries. This adaptation brings Shakespeare's language to a contemporary setting, with a message for now. Tickets start at $22. 

Firehouse Theater Comany’s “Othello,” performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the John Hand Theater on the Colorado Free University’s Lowry Campus. 

Winter Park Alpine ArtAffair

This free annual outdoor event showcases fine arts and crafts including jewelry, photography, metalwork, mixed media, pottery, painting, glass, wood, and fiber. Children’s activities, music and food are also available.

Winter Park Alpine ArtAffair, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. in Hideaway Park, located in downtown Winter Park.

The Avett Brothers on stage at Red Rocks .
Courtesy of @theavettbrothers via @aldenbonecutter
The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks in 2023.

The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks

The Avett Brothers are back for their annual three-night run at Red Rocks. Catch the band with Little Feat on Friday, Melissa Ethridge on Saturday and Dawes on Sunday.

The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 6:30 p.m. a Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Legally Blonde the musical opens in Aspen

Theatre Aspen presents the award-winning musical based on the 2001 movie, Legally Blonde. When sorority girl Elle Woods follows her cad of an ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law, the results are high-spirited legal hilarity. The show is in previews this weekend and runs through July 27.

“Legally Blonde” preview performances at  7:30 p.m. Friday and 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Theatre Aspen.

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 CO Arts Spotlight may be financial supporters of CPR News. Financial supporters have no editorial influence.