Denver is home to a number of dynamic art venues and one of the best places in Colorado to experience local creativity. Showcasing cutting-edge art in both traditional and new media, these ten contemporary art galleries and institutions represent some of the best venues in Denver, both for their dynamic exhibitions, and their dedication to the promotion of creative expression within the city.
Sabrina Kurt Dreamtime Photo | Image courtesy of Artwork Network
Pirate Contemporary Art
Pirate Contemporary Art are recognised for their consistent presentation of cutting-edge works by local artists. Founded over 30 years ago, this eclectic, alternative gallery space is run by artist members as a cooperative and can always be relied on to present the most audacious contemporary artworks coming out of Denver. Works of a variety of media are shown at Pirate Contemporary’s edgy exhibitions including painting, sculpture, mixed media and light installations by innovative and experimental members such as Phil Bender, Christine Buchsbaum and Collin Parson among many others. Pirate Contemporary’s collection of artists changes over the years, ensuring the influx of fresh ideas and artworks. Several Pirate alumni such as abstract painter Dale Chisman and sculptor Martha Daniels have also gone on to gain national recognition.
Through their extensive network of artists, galleries, businesses, designers and collectors, Artwork Network have been responsible for the creation of numerous creative projects within Denver for over a decade. Launched in 2001 by Alan Kircher, Artwork Network was designed to help artists bring their works into the public eye. The Artwork Network showroom opened in 2005, accompanying artnetwork.net, the organisation’s online platform for the national dissemination of selected artworks. This marked the arrival of a new premiere location in which to engage with contemporary art in Denver. Since then, the showroom and Underground Gallery have presented a number of dynamic exhibitions by regional, national and international artists such as Mary Mito, Phil Bender, Cody Day and Tadashi Hayakawa.
Dedicated to promoting and improving public understanding of photography, the Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC) nurtures budding and accomplished photographers through its extensive programme of exhibitions, educational and community outreach projects. The non-profit centre was established in 1963 and moved to its current space in the Highlands in 2013. CPAC features all forms of photography including contemporary, historical, fine art and experimental, designed to encourage community engagement and generate interest in the broad scope of the medium itself. CPAC represents numerous national photographic talents among which are Adam J. Long, Trent Davis Bailey, Sheila Newberry and Kathleen Velo. Artists’ works are shown at vibrant, high-quality exhibitions throughout the year paired with workshops, artist talks and outreach programmes.
Artists cooperative Core New Art Space can be relied on to provide visitors with a little bit of everything. Showcasing a diverse range of works in all mediums including mixed media, paintings, sculpture and photography, Core provides a dynamic, highly visual environment in which to experience experimental contemporary art. Committed to presenting competitive, unpretentious exhibitions, Core New Art Space aims to facilitate improved communication between artists and their audience, particularly within the local community. They achieve this by promoting the appreciation, awareness and education of the arts and providing access to inspiring contemporary artworks. Alongside exhibitions of works by artist members such as Gina Smith Caswell, Meg Ingraham and Christine O’Dea, Core holds an annual juried exhibition, judged by noteworthy artists, curators and art critics.
Dedicated to connecting artists with the wider community and exploring the tangible benefits of arts education and training, RedLine is an exciting venue for contemporary art. Founded by artist and philanthropist Laura Merage and designed by respected architects Semple-Brown, the architecture and environmentally friendly approach of RedLine itself inspires creativity and a sense of community whilst elevating the perception of contemporary art and artists within the area. The main focus of RedLine is the promotion and support of emerging artists, enabling them to develop their careers whilst engaging the public in their creative processes. Through their unique combination of art exhibitions, education programmes and community projects, RedLine encourages emerging and established artists such as Joel Swanson, Judy Chicago and Chen Man to take risks within their work and to connect with their audience.
Chen Man, Astronaut, front cover of Vision Magazine, 2004 | Image courtesy of RedLine
Robischon Gallery’s diverse monthly exhibition programme features a multitude of regional, national and international artists whose works address current cultural concerns through a variety of mediums and styles. The gallery was founded in 1976 and has since been associated with the generation of critical dialogue about contemporary art through its exceptional exhibitions, which embrace the multiple facets of contemporary art. Robischon Gallery represent a number of revered artists with historical significance including Robert Rauschenberg, Manuel Neri, Richard Serra and Judy Pfaff alongside influential emerging and mid-career artists bringing new ideas and approaches to contemporary art practice. Robischon Gallery also keep up to date with current contemporary art trends such as the rise of Chinese and Middle Eastern contemporary art, incorporating these themes into their extensive exhibition programme.
Mirada Fine Art believe that the atmosphere of a gallery should match the standard of the works on show. Showcasing works by significant international artists, this award-winning gallery has therefore strived to create a space that is worthy of presenting such quality pieces of contemporary art. Mirada Fine Art features paintings and sculptures that cover a wide range of concepts and styles, presenting pieces by a number of national and international artists whose works are not on show anywhere else in the region. Over the years, the venue has become associated with presenting some of the finest contemporary exhibitions in Denver, both for their experimental quality and the strength of works on show. The amalgamation of the gallery’s high-class environment and roster of acclaimed artists such as Bruce Marion, Marcela Panasiti and Svetlana Shalygina makes Mirada Fine Art one of a kind.
Space Gallery specialises in abstract and non-representational contemporary works of art, in particular those featuring unusual and interesting media and surface treatment. Exhibitions at Space Gallery span a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, print-based works and film. The gallery has an extensive roster of artists among which are Tyler Aiello, Marks Aardsma, Tonia Bonnell and Stephen Shachtman. Space Gallery holds a number of well-attended solo and group exhibitions throughout the year and their annual summer show is a key feature on the Denver arts community calendar. Space Gallery’s exhibition The Other Primary Colors White Black Grey, curated by Marks Aardsma, was also awarded the West Word’s Best Gallery Group Show award in 2013.
Plinth Gallery is an intimate venue dedicated to exhibiting ceramic artwork. Its exhibition space is constantly changing to accommodate its diverse monthly programme of shows by established and emerging artists. Plinth showcases both sculptural and functional ceramic forms, distinguished by their outstanding quality and craftsmanship. Despite the vibrant history of ceramics production in Denver and the region’s interest in the medium, Plinth Gallery is the only gallery in the Fort Range vicinity to show ceramics exclusively. A landmark in the River North Arts District, the gallery is also home to the studio of acclaimed ceramicist and founder of Plinth Gallery, Jonathan Kaplan and runs a number of educational workshops encouraging community engagement with ceramic arts.