Arts & Culture lovers flock to Denver to enjoy its abundance of museums, exhibits, performing arts and music. The Mile High City celebrates culture in all its forms and invites its residents and visitors to partake. Denver offers everything from a Tony Award winning theater production to an underground movie production. With no shortage of enrichment and artistic pursuits, one’s biggest issue is where to start!
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is a vast art museum located in the Civic Center of Denver. The museum is one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago. It has nine curatorial departments including: architecture, design & graphics, Asian art, modern and contemporary, native arts (American Indian, Oceanic, and African),New World (pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial), painting and sculpture (European and American), photography, Western art and textile art. The DAM is also noted for its unique and architecturally profound design. Spend an afternoon or the entire day exploring all its treasures.
Clyfford Still Museum
If you prefer more contemporary and smaller venues, the Clyfford Still Museum is a must experience for the art connoisseur. Clyfford Still, considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century, was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists. The museum, which opened at the end of 2011, was founded to promote the late artist’s work and legacy. Still’s estate – 2,400 artworks – has been sealed off from the public since 1980. Visit the Clifford Museum’s website at www.clyffordstillmuseum.org for hours and additional information.
Denver Art District
Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe is a casual, unique, nationally known art and cultural district with over 60 galleries, restaurants and shops located a few short blocks from downtown Denver, Colorado. The Art District opens its doors freely to lively crowds for popular events such as the First Friday Art Walk, held every first Friday of the month, and Preview Night, a more intimate gathering held every third Friday of the month. www.artdistrictonsantafe.com
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Is science more your scene? Then run, do not walk, to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is the fourth largest museum in the U.S. and presents like a maze filled with artifacts of the earth. You will discover dinosaurs, dioramas, space exhibits, science experiments, a digital planetarium, IMAX theatre and even touring shows. Adults and children alike delight in a trip to the Denver Museum of Natural History. www.dmns.org
For those passionate about theater, you will discover that the Mile High City has a full spectrum of productions. Shows range from Broadway Smash hits likeThe Book of Mormon presented in the stunning Ellie Caulkins Opera House to smaller local presentations presented in smaller venues like the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center.
Denver Performing Arts Complex
The grand daddy of all Colorado theater complexes is the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Centrally located right in the heart of downtown at 14th and Curtis Streets, this enormous complex houses the 2,700-seat Boettcher Concert Hall (the nation’s first in-the-round concert hall), the Helen G. Bonfils Theatre Complex (with four separate stages), the 2,830-seat Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre, the Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. In its tenure, the DCPA has amassed an impressive body of classic and contemporary drama, world premieres and award-winning touring productions. Denver is a “pick city” on the touring circuit, enabling it to launch national tours and to debut bound-for-Broadway engagements like Rock of Ages and Once. See The DCPA website at www.denvercenter.org
There are also some wonderful smaller production companies and theaters for more intimate theater experiences. Access to excellent performing and visual arts significantly enriches the cultural, social and educational life of a community proclaims the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton. During the season from September through June, Town Hall Arts Center produces six main stage musicals or comedies and presents 7-8 concerts. Their children’s theatre program annually produces two shows with professional actors and includes “Arts on the Move” which takes plays and workshops directly into schools. Another acclaimed production company, the Curious Theatre Company was founded by a group of artists who met 15 years ago while mounting Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. This small but profound group is known for bringing provocative new shows to Denver. Curious has received many awards over the years, including the 2011 Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Year by a Theatre Company, 5280 Magazine 2011 Top of the Town Editor’s Choice for Best Theatre Company, and Westword’s Reader’s Choice for Best Theatre in 2012. Denverites have reason to rejoice in its theater offerings.
Denver Underground Film Festival
The Denver Underground Film Festival premiered in 1997 at The Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado. Since then, the visions of hundreds of independent filmmakers from around the world have been showcased, including films by classic Experimental and Avant-Garde filmmakers like Stan Brakhage, Luis Buñuel, Fassbinder and Man Ray. www.duffcinema.com
For those who delight in live music, Denver presents every opportunity to enjoy open outdoor amphitheaters, concert halls, intimate and historic theaters celebrating every taste from classical to country to rock n’ roll. Denver’s live music scene is booming, 365 days a year at venues like Red Rocks, the Paramount Theatre, the Pepsi Center and the Fillmore. Or head to Comedy Works, where big name comics road test their latest material.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
World famous Red Rocks Amphitheater is 6,450 feet above sea level and is a geologically formed, open-air natural Amphitheater. Once seated in this astounding natural amphitheater with its perfect acoustics, scenic vistas and twinkling lights from Denver which sparkle in the foreground, it is hard to imagine a more spectacular place in which to enjoy a concert. Such legends as the Beattles, John Denver, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band have recorded works from this historic location.
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Classical music aficionados will no doubt enjoy relish in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra which is the region’s only full-time professional orchestra. From classical to innovative new forms, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra plays to a packed house in Boettcher Concert Hall. Each season, approximately 250,000 patrons attend CSO concerts, including a 21-week Masterworks series of classical programs, as well as Pops, Family, Holiday and Summer Parks concerts.Visit the CSO website at www.coloradosymphony.org
Clearly, the Mile High City celebrates and seeks to promote its cultural and artistic essence. Art nourishes our soul and lifts our spirits. With the abundance of truly exquisite offerings located here in Denver, residents and visitors alike reveal in the 5280 Arts and Enrichment scene.