Denver Arts Week 2021 brings free, immersive and family-friendly events

Denver Arts Week debuted as a would-be annual event, and so far it has been. But this year carries extra weight with hundreds of delayed, in-person events returning along with some of the ad-hoc virtual sessions that cropped up last year.

Many events this year are centered around citywide art districts, with returning favorites such as free and discounted admission to museum exhibitions, sculpture tours, fine and performing arts shows (including theater), film and literary events, and gallery and artist-direct art sales. Most are all-ages.

Here’s a quick guide to the Nov. 5-13 celebration of all-things-cultural in the Mile High City, with dozens more at denver.org/denver-arts-week.

Free art tours, openings

“HERE again STILL” opens at the Buell Theatre as part of Arts & Venues’ programming. The exhibit by Sharon Feder and Dallas Parkins includes a free opening reception and musical performance at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12. RSVP at eventbrite.com.

Free, outdoor Denver Public Art Tours return in-person at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. The tour visits iconic pieces such as Jonathan Borofksy’s lofty, abstract “Dancers” in Sculpture Park; John DeAndrea’s “Three Dancers” and “Maria Mosina and Igor Vassine”; and Brian Brush’s interactive “Resonance” (a recent addition), organizers said. Availability is limited, so RSVP at eventbrite.com.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, brings the second Arts Week Denver Public Art tour with pieces along 14th Street, the site of some of Denver’s oldest murals by Allen True, and Lawrence Argent’s “I See What You Mean” (a.k.a. The Big Blue Bear) at the Colorado Convention Center. It’s free, but again, register for the 5 p.m. event at eventbrite.com.

There are also free virtual tours and discussions about the McNichols Building’s current exhibitions by Michael Warren and the legendary Louise Cadillac. Register for the noon discussion on Friday, Nov. 5, or the virtual tour that takes place at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11. eventbrite.com

On the stage side, “Liminal” opens Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 14, with daily 9 p.m. shows at the Mercury Cafe that feature storytellers, artists and diverse visual performances. Get $15 tickets at eventbrite.com. Also check out openings and ticket deals from Curious Theatre Company, Phamaly Theatre Company and many more.

Also check out Birdseed Collective’s is FAIR, Nov. 11-14 at Globeville EPICenter and the Fort Greene bar. Performances, art exhibits and more are on tap. More at ispress.co/is-fair.

First Fridays

It’s no coincidence that Denver Arts Week’s Friday, Nov. 5, opening also happens to be First Friday. After a year of low-to-no foot traffic, the metro area’s galleries, studios and their attendant customers are desperate for interaction. This year’s participating districts include the Art District on Santa Fe, River North Art District, South Pearl Street, Tennyson Street, Westwood, 40 West, Olde Town Arvada, and Aurora Cultural Arts.

Gallery-hopping is free, but don’t expect any food-or-drink goodies in the COVID-19 age. And be sure to bring your mask, as most of this is indoor art-browsing. See the full list of districts with map links, programming and more at denver.org/denver-arts-week/know-your-arts-first-friday.

Free and family-friendly

One of the week’s most popular features is the free admission to a wide swath of Denver museums, this year taking place on Saturday, Nov. 6, with free hours from 5 to 10 p.m. (museums will be open late to accomodate). Check with each museum for RSVP requirements before visiting. A full list is available at denver.org/denver-arts-week/free-night-at-the-museums.

The day includes shuttle rides along select routes. Route 1, for example, includes stops at Denver Art Museum, Molly Brown House and Denver Museum of Nature & Science, while other routes swing by Museo de las Americas, History Colorado Center, Denver Children’s Museum at Marsico Campus and Wings Over the Rockies.

Shuttles run 5-10 p.m. Nov. 6, and will stop at or nearby each participating museum for boarding. Masks are required for shuttle rides.

Free and family-friendly Día de los Muertos programming also continues this weekend at places such as Su Teatro, 40 West Art District and Denver Botanic Gardens — although regular admission is likely required outside of the above-listed free day on Nov. 6.

Dozens more events are planned as part of the week, such as free and discounted exhibition openings, tours, lectures, scavenger hunts, concerts, virtual reality experiences and more. Search all events and dates at denver.org/denver-arts-week.

Ticket deals

While it’s impossible to list them all here, highlights include discounted tickets to shows from (and memberships for) Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, Colorado Ballet (including “The Nutcracker,” which always sells out), Lakewood Cultural Center, Wings Over the Rockies, Clyfford Still Museum, The Art Hotel, Core Fine Art, Walker Fine Art, Sandra Phillips Gallery, and many more.

Deals range from $5-$15 off tickets to steeply discounted memberships to various nonprofit orgs, including Denver Film, which kicked off its Denver Film Festival this week.

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