It’s not a fever dream. It’s the Meow Wolf Denver, a new 90,000-square-foot menagerie of intergalactic, interactive art pieces loosely structured around the narrative that this is what it would look like if four dissimilar, Marvel-esqe universes collided and merged. Since its announcement, the multiyear art project has been one of the most talked-about additions to the Denver landscape. Partially because its creation called upon the skills of myriad local artists, each of whom, said Meow Wolf spokesperson Erin Barnes, “were given their own spaces and the creative freedom to create their own world within the larger worlds.”
While Meow Wolf is a new and exciting trip, it’s far from the only place in Denver where you can be consumed by art. Although the Mile High City has long been known as a jumping-off point for outdoor adventures and a nirvana for beer geeks, its status as a destination for art lovers has somewhat flown under the radar. But, no longer.
“I think Denver has always had a robust art scene. There have always been artists here, from graffiti writers, to visual artists, to graphic designers, to photographers, there’s a ton of art represented here,” said Andrew Novick, a lifelong, well-known Denver creative. “But it’s not really been known to outside folks until more recently.”
Beyond Meow Wolf, in the past few months, Denver has witnessed the reopening of the Denver Art Museum and the 50th anniversary of its Martin Building, welcomed the Denver Center for Performing Arts back to the stage for the first time since the pandemic, and hosted (two!) immersive Vincent van Gogh exhibits. They’re all events that have drawn new eyes to the capital city’s art scene from locals and potential visitors and that have served as a gateway to exploring the greater art scene more deeply.
“The renovation gave us the opportunity to reinvent the museum and to rethink all the collections, combinations of works, the stories that we tell and how to include our communities,” said Christoph Heinrich, director of the Denver Art Museum.
Part of finding new ways to share stories and being inclusive comes in the form of interactive displays, wherein visitors can listen to short video clips recorded by the artists that explain what the works are trying to convey, a move that also makes the art and its meaning more accessible for patrons. Other new elements include a glass-walled welcome center, an overhaul of the levels that house the permanent collection, new spaces for education and new collections to uplift the voices and talents of minority communities.
So far, the reception has been good. “I think that people were interested in the arts, but in recent years, it’s become more of something that people want to participate in,” Heinrich said of the response. It’s a belief that Novick echoes: “When Denver decides we like something, like microbreweries, or the outdoors, or in this case, art, we go all in.”
If the Golden Triangle is where art is seen, River North Art District (a.k.a. RiNo) is where art is made. The former industrial area is one of the buzziest spots in Denver, with oodles of playful food halls, experimental cocktail bars and breweries, and a liberal peppering of street-art pieces, studios and galleries.
Here you can track down murals (or hire the Denver Graffiti Tour company to lead the way), attend a workshop at Modern Nomad, see new exhibits at the artist-run Dateline, noodle around the Dry Ice Factory artist co-op or meet the rotating artists-in-residence at the RedLine Contemporary Art Center. The area is also home to Crush Walls, a wildly popular annual art event held in September that brings about 100 graffiti artists from around the world to splash new pieces on RiNo’s walls.
It’s also worth noting, particularly for visitors to the city, that art isn’t limited to studios, galleries, museums and public spaces. It has permeated many of the area hotels, too.
Take, for instance, the Catbird Hotel, which recently opened. It features pieces spanning the texture, material and color spectrum, from emerging and underrepresented artists, including unique eight- to 15-inch handmade ceramic sculptures in each room, ironic family portraits (many of which include cat and bird motifs), multiple murals and boundary-pushing installations. Nine dot Arts, the Denver-based company that serves as art consultants and curators for Catbird and various other hotels nationwide, describes the whimsy of it as “an ode to everyone’s favorite eccentric aunt.” It’s just one of many art-forward hotels in Denver, including the Maven Hotel at Dairy Block, the Halcyon, the Art, the Ramble Hotel, the Curtis, the Clayton and more.
Eventually, with the help of a Meow Wolf cast member wearing a hooded cloak and neon makeup, I locate the exit. Although it’s possible to try to unravel the narrative — the explanation of how Convergence Station came to be — through clues hidden throughout the experience, I opted to just enjoy the art. That alone was a lot to take in. Really, given its size and offerings, all of Denver’s art scene can be a lot to take in.
I later asked Novick, someone who has witnessed the evolution of art in Denver over several decades, what words he would use to describe it.
He paused and considered the question, before finally saying: “It’s hard to sum up the scene in a couple of words, but I would say it’s really varied. We’re not known for any one thing, but there’s so much of everything.”
Potential travelers should take local and national public health directives regarding the pandemic into consideration before planning any trips. Travel health notice information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and the CDC’s travel health notice webpage.
Library Line: Parrott Art Gallery open to viewers online – Belleville Intelligencer
By Wendy Rayson-Kerr
Although the Parrott Gallery is closed until at least January 26 due to public health restrictions, we are still working to bring you art. We hope that our awesome gallery supporters will sign onto our website to view new virtual exhibitions, participate in online art workshops and register for free Armchair Traveller presentations on Zoom. We’ll also be increasing our social media posts, so please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to view artwork from our current exhibitions as well as from our permanent collection, because everyone could use a little more art in their life right now!
Coming next: The Bay of Quinte Modern Quilt Guild is presenting an exhibition called, “Outside the Block” which will be available to view online through our website starting on Saturday, January 22. The traditional Log Cabin Quilt design, generally speaking, starts with a center shape which is surrounded by strips of coloured pieces that follow a specific sequence of light and dark patterning. Colours have meanings in these quilts, whose shapes can be seen to symbolize log cabins with both dark and sunny corners, and much has been written about their connection to North American pioneers. In our upcoming exhibition, this traditional pattern has been given a modern interpretation. The twenty quilters represented in this group show have all used the Log Cabin Quilt pattern as their inspiration, resulting with an assortment of unique designs. Each artwork is as original as the artists themselves, and we certainly hope you will log in to view them on our website (for now) as well as get the chance to view them in our gallery in the near future.
Another exhibition that will soon be available to view online is called “Corona and Friends” by George Kratz. This prolific Stirling artist has assembled a large collection of paintings that he has been working on over the past two decades. He describes his Corona series as, “an abstract journey” which he completed during the pandemic. The earlier work in his Friends series is equally intense, full of symbolism both borrowed and unique to the artist. George Kratz is a story-teller and this exhibition tells the story of vivid colour, strong lines and imagery you will not soon forget.
Both of these online shows will be available to view in person when we are allowed to re-open our doors once again.
We continue to offer Online Acrylic Pouring Workshops at the Parrott Gallery. These monthly projects are meant for beginners and skilled artists alike, and are the perfect way to learn knew creative skills. Prepared and presented by Warkworth artist Sheila Wright, these workshops are fun and easy to complete. Each kit costs thirty dollars and contains all you will need to create a unique artwork, including materials and video instructions. The January project is a painting called “Rainbow Swipe” and the deadline to register is Saturday, January 22. Please email us at email@example.com or call us as 613-968-6731 x 2040 if you are interested or would like more information.
On February 19, Photographer Lydia Dotto will be sharing her online Armchair Traveller presentation on the Antarctic. From the comfort of your own home you can take a journey across the globe, for free! “The Antarctic: Abundance of Life” is your chance to view a place that most of us will never have the chance to visit. You can register for this live Zoom presentation through our website. When we re-open our doors, our Corridor Gallery will feature the photography of Susan and Clint Guy, in a show they have called “India: The Golden Triangle”. Plans for an in-person presentation are also under way, so stay tuned for this next part of our Armchair Traveller Series.
We know 2022 is going to be an exciting year of exhibitions and programs here at the Parrott Gallery, so we won’t let the current closures discourage us. We hope that we will be open for in-person viewing again soon.
Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery
Eden Deering Started Her Art Career at 8 – The New York Times
She is the director of PPOW, a venerable art gallery in TriBeCa co-founded by her mother in 1983.
Name: Eden Deering
Hometown: New York City
Now Lives: In a one-bedroom apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn that she shares with her boyfriend, Weston Lowe, who also runs a gallery.
Claim to Fame: Ms. Deering is a director at PPOW, a contemporary art gallery in TriBeCa that grew out of the 1980s East Village art scene. She curates book-fueled exhibitions that comment on social life. “Everything, for me, starts with reading,” Ms. Deering said. “Writers and artists have always been in conversation with each other. Books give me a tool to think about the importance of art.” Her first group exhibition in 2019, “Do You Love Me?,” focused on “the unbalanced power dynamic between those that desire love and those in our culture who have the power to give it,” she said.
Big Break: Ms. Deering unofficially began her art world internship at age 8, when her mother, Wendy Olsoff, one of PPOW’s founders, took her to Art Basel in Switzerland, the Venice Biennale in Italy, and various artists’ studios. In 2016, while working as an assistant at Gladstone Gallery, she started a roving art collective, Duplex, with Sydney Fishman. Duplex now has a permanent gallery on Essex Street in Lower Manhattan. “All of my friends are artists,” she said. “It is why I am.”
Latest Project: Ms. Deering will lead the programming at PPOW’s second downtown gallery, opening later this year a block away. It’s “a space for experimentation,” she said. “We don’t always get to work with the artists that I bring in for group shows.”
Next Thing: PPOW’s summer 2022 exhibition will feature feminist landscape paintings, including works by Carolee Schneemann, women artists in their 20s, as well as some from the 19th century. “Carolee always said she was a painter,” Ms. Deering said. “The general culture does not think of her as one.”
Personal Space: Her mother and Penny Pilkington, who co-founded PPOW in 1983, are still involved with the gallery. “I feel very honored to work for such incredible women,” Ms. Deering said. She credits the co-founders for their clarity of purpose. “Artists need money and space to work,” she said. “And that’s always been Wendy and Penny’s No. 1 priority.”
City eyeing a temporary downtown art exhibit through grant funding – Energeticcity.ca
The city is hoping the exhibit will encourage more residents to go downtown and visit its businesses in the process while celebrating “the reconnection of our communities in the aftermath of the
“This project directly supports free, accessible delivery of arts and culture programming to the community while enhancing the downtown core,” said a January 24th report for council.
The city can apply for up to $100,000 and must do so before the end of March 2023.
Council meets on Monday, January 24th, 2022.
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