Opera Colorado has enriched Denver’s arts scene since 1983. Not only does this multi-faceted organization produce 2 full-length operas each year, Opera Colorado also helps emerging opera singers gain professional experience though its Young Artists residency program; hosts fun social outings for young professionals in Denver; and brings opera into the classroom through its education outreach programs. Opera is a rich tradition that combines vocal music, orchestral music, acting, dance, staging and costumes for a truly unique and transcendent experience. We were hooked after seeing our first opera, Opera Colorado’s performance of The Magic Flute earlier this year. Even if you’ve listened to a recording of opera before, you owe it to yourself to hear it performed live. What a difference!
From the outside, this place may look like just an art gallery, but if you step inside and wander around, you’ll soon discover that Redline is an incredible non-profit contemporary art center dedicated to cultivating community and social change through art. Admission to Redline is free, so go ahead and check it out. You’ll discover thought-provoking contemporary art in an airy gallery space; more than a dozen artist studios where you are invited to peek in and see artwork being created; and a community studio space where artists of all ages meet at a variety of times during the week for classes and open studio time. If at the end of your visit, you’ve enjoyed your experience and want to support the wonderful things Redline does for the community (both artists and everyone else) then make a donation of $5 at the desk!
The heart of Denver’s performing arts scene, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, can be found quite near the center of the city, just blocks from Civic Center Park. Encased under a beautiful glass galleria, the Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to 10 performance spaces with over 10,000 total seats. The largest tenant in this unique arts hub is the Denver Center for Performing Arts which oversees everything from visiting Broadway shows at the Temple Hoyne Buell Theater to a full season of productions by the Denver Center Theater Company, to community outreach programs and acting classes for all ages.
Yes, it’s a hotel, but it’s also a wonderful art gallery displaying a curated collection of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. If you’re museum hopping downtown, be sure to include a spin through the public spaces of the ART on your itinerary as they are truly brimming with inspired works of art. The ART is also a great place to grab a drink with a friend, enjoy lunch with a view, or spend the night as part of a luxurious Denver staycation.
Venture downtown to the neighborhood most commonly known for its concentration of homeless shelters and there, on Park Avenue West and Arapahoe, you’ll find an incredible artistic treasure: Wonderbound. Under the leadership of husband-and-wife team Garrett Ammon and Dawn Fay, this contemporary dance company is passionate about developing and sharing collaborative artistic experiences. Wonderbound creates inspiring performances that blur boundaries between mediums and engage both artist and audience in an exploration of the human experience. We’re pretty sure you’re going to come away from your first Wonderbound experience saying, “Wow. I had no idea dance could be so wild, moving, funny, thought-provoking, beautiful and entertaining.”
It is said that arts and culture are what make a city fall in love with itself and we tend to agree. Public art is one of the powerful ways a city creates shared reference points, a community dictionary of imagery and a sense of place for its citizens. Certainly, the “Blue Bear” (actually titled “I See What You Mean”) by artist Lawrence Argent has captured our hearts and become a symbol of our city. Beyond the wonderful aesthetics of this piece including its cheerful color, massive scale and clever placement, it’s the sense that it belongs to all of us that creates a particularly unique bond between viewer and artwork. Denver is full of unique and thought-provoking public art, so grab a bike, lace up your sneakers or get your scooter out of the garage and go fall in love with Denver through its public art!
Nestled in the shadow of the Denver Art Museum, is an unassuming, yet architecturally exquisite building that houses the world’s most intact body of work of any major artist. This gem of a museum is the Clyfford Still Museum.