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Denver Embraces Art at Every Angle with Third Denver Arts Week

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Art and cultural organizations continue to serve as top visitor attractions to Denver and add to the many reasons the Mile High City was voted most desirable place to live, according to respective studies by Longwoods International and Pew International.

Showcasing what Denver residents have long supported and enjoyed, the third annual Denver Arts Week calls national attention to a city overflowing with artist studios, renowned galleries, art districts, world-class museums, top-notch theater, and hundreds of different ways to experience art - just the start of a revolutionary movement happening in Denver at the artist and the observer level.

Artists choose Denver because of a combination of environment and lifestyle, according to Michael Rieger, owner/founder of Lapis Gallery in the Tennyson Street Cultural District. "Denver has always been a preferred location for working artists, but no one knew so much talent had congregated here. With excellent institutions like the Denver Art Museum, the support of a strong Mayor, a city that taxes itself to support public art, and a full week of programming dedicated to culture, it's no wonder artists love creating art here as much as this city loves embracing it."

The goal of Denver Arts Week was initially to unite all of the city's great cultural and entertainment offerings into one message: Denver does art differently. Lapis is, in his words, committed to taking the elite out of art. "We pride ourselves on providing galleries where families can come to teach kids about art creation and ideation - we want to dispel any myth that original art is not affordable and that fine art needs to host pretension."

The city is so interested in opening art world doors to all enthusiast levels, that it quite literally does just that the first Friday of every month. Each of Denver's six independent art districts host extended hours and offer access to artist alcoves, studios and inspiration, as well as great opportunities to take in first-rate artwork. At the Lapis Gallery and other galleries in Tennyson district, artwork can be taken home for the Mile High price of $52.80 during Denver Arts Week.

Denver also hosts its own film festival - Starz - each November in conjunction with Denver Arts Week. The city boasts dozens of museums and performing arts groups, and more than 100 galleries, as well as the hundreds of artists actively creating work in the Mile High City. Additionally, the city frequently hosts blockbuster exhibitions at its museums and is home to several unsurpassed art collections.

• The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is currently hosting, Genghis Khan, an exhibition on the man Time magazine calls, "the most important person of the last millennium." Through Feb. 7, 2010, the exhibition showcases the life of Genghis Khan (1162-1227, AD), ruler of the largest contiguous land empire the world has ever seen, and how some of his civic improvements are still in use today. The museum also hosts a new permanent exhibit - Expedition Health - which delves into how each individual's decisions affect on his or her own body.
• The Kirkland Museum features a major survey of Colorado art history, documented with more than 700 works by more than 170 artists, including a retrospective of Colorado's distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981), and a nationally important display of 20th-century decorative arts, with an additional 3,300 works. The Streams of Modernism exhibit during Denver Arts Week lets the individual in on how one designer's work leads to another, as curated by nationally known luminaries, Katherine and Michael McCoy.
• Allen True's West, is currently on display at three of Denver's cultural institutions: Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library, and the Colorado History Museum. This joint effort highlights three aspects of the Colorado artist's work, including his illustrations, easel paintings and murals of the Rocky Mountain West. The exhibition includes a free, self-guided walking tour of True's paintings in public parks and buildings throughout the city of Denver.

The Denver Art Museum is participating in a number of events during Denver Arts Week, not the least of which is the launch of new exhibition: Embrace! The launch will include 17 unique, site-specific installations featuring never-before-seen works by contemporary artists from Denver and around the world. Each artist has chosen a particular space in which to realize and exhibit an individual work. With projects ranging from Katharina Grosse's four-story spray painting to a multimedia presentation by Charles Sandison, Embrace! presents the dialogue between the art and the Frederic C. Hamilton Building's architectural elements. Embrace! opens the last day of Arts Week on Saturday, Nov. 14.

"Our visitors have told us that they want their museum experiences to have more than one facet," said Kristy Bassuener, spokeswoman for the Denver Art Museum. "In many cases, they want their experiences at the museum to include both art and the opportunity to socialize with family or friends."

Denver also focuses on new facets, new delivery and diverse cultures through its art offerings. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Director Adam Lerner brought his innovative program, "Mixed Taste: Tag Team Lectures on Unrelated Topics," to the facility last summer. The program is geared at pairing unlikely complementary topics of expertise together - such as Hot Sauce and Jewish mysticism - for a faithful and curious audience. Even Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has presented on "Show Tunes" at one of these popular, informal lectures. Deep in the heart of the ArtDistrict on Santa Fe, the Museo de las Amèricas educates the Denver community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary through innovative exhibitions and programs.

"Denver continues to build on its unparalleled reputation for creating and experiencing the arts," said Jayne Buck, vice president of tourism, VISIT DENVER. "Denver Arts Week is a chance for residents and visitors to explore the city's vast cultural resources, and to see everything Denver has to offer."

The third annual Denver Arts Week, Nov. 6-14, 2009, will offer a celebration of the Mile High City's vibrant arts and culture scene with nearly 200 art-centric events throughout the city. The kickoff weekend includes an expanded "First Friday" art walk in six neighborhoods; 11 museums staying open late on a Saturday and offering free admission at the museums; and a Sunday "open house" at the nation's second-largest performing arts complex, among many other events.

"I See What You Mean," the blue bear, public-art statue by Lawrence Argent, is quickly becoming Denver's international representative. It illustrates the city's strong support for the arts, as does the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, an organization charged with distribution of the tax revenue to 300 organizations that Denverites have self-imposed for 20 years and running.

Even Denver hotels and restaurants step up for the arts during the celebration, with room rates starting at $52.80*, and unique art offerings displayed on restaurant walls or created for consumption. For information and a complete list of events, visit: www.DenverArtsWeek.com. *Subject to availability.

Denver Arts Week is presented by VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, with support from the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs. Sponsors include: City and County of Denver, Wells Fargo, CBS4, the Denver Post, King Soopers, 5280 Magazine, Entercom, RTD, Downtown Denver Partnership, Comcast, CBS Outdoor, ETA - Event Transportation Associates, Inc., Starz Denver Film Festival, Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Cherry Creek North.

About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 100 years of promoting the Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. Tourism is the second largest industry in Denver, generating $3.1 billion in annual spending in 2008, while supporting 65,000 jobs. For more information on Denver call 800-2-DENVER or visit Denver's official Web site at VISITDENVER.com.


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