Art Districts, Walks, Festivals and Public Displays
Gone are the days when embracing “the arts” was a highfalutin affair in which everyone pretended to understand abstract theories and underlying symbolism. Those things are still there, of course – but it’s more about individual interpretation these days, especially in the earthy-indie art world of Denver. Museums and galleries are still first-rate venues, but a more primal version of art weaves its way through the fabric of everyday life. Here’s a look at the unique art districts in Denver and the best ways to explore the ever-evolving landscape of street, urban, public and classic art forms in the Mile High City.
Denver Chalk Art Festival
In a curious collaboration of Italian culture and organic street art, the Denver Chalk Art Festival in June brings back the 16th-century Piazza dell’Arte (“square of art”) tradition of using asphalt as a canvas for temporary masterpieces created with vibrant pastel chalks. More than 200 artists work onsite during the two-day festival, which runs from June 3 to 4 in 2017, turning Larimer Square into an elaborate street museum. It’s all-things-Italian the whole weekend, including heaping helpings of pasta, Italian music, dancing and Chianti wines.
Art District on Santa Fe
Known as ground zero of Denver’s art scene, the Art District on Santa Fe harbors some of the city’s most hip and eclectic galleries as well as arts-related shops, museums and public art displays. It’s not just indoors either; seemingly every inch of the district is splashed, sprayed and washed in color, from walls to garage doors, alleys, warehouses and windows. Look for the “Smiling Boy” painting, one of a string of elaborate murals covering the alley from Santa Fe Drive to Inca Street. Jump into the Latino arts scene at Muse de Las Americas and Quetzalli Gallery, which showcases indigenous cultural art, along with poetry readings, film and live music. Show up on for the monthly First Friday events for a massive street party and living art celebration.
River North Art District
The former industrial center north of downtown Denver attracts an astonishing number of organic-earthy artists, architects, designers, photographers, sculptors and furniture makers to the relatively new River North Art District. Known as RiNo, this is where to see working art studios and small galleries tucked inside historic warehouses and repurposed factories. The works of art outside the gallery walls are impressive in their own rights, including eclectic creations such as “Reverberations” on Larimer Street near 25th, a conglomeration of circles and geometric patterns creating an eerie urban landscape.
Check out smaller arts districts with heavy concentrations of galleries, art festivals and public art sculptures in Belmar, the Tennyson Street Cultural District in Highlands, and the Golden Triangle, home to at least 50 galleries, studios and arts venues. Stroll through Civic Center Park for a flashback to the Old West, with an impressive collection of western-themed sculptures.
Enjoy the arts in true Denver style by living in the heart of the city. Call today for information on Pinnacle’s Denver apartment communities and to schedule a tour!