Denver Art Galleries

Denver is fast emerging as the hot new ‘art and culture destination’ on the cultural map of USA. It may not have reached the cultural heights of New York yet but it’s morphed into an art and culture capital of the Rockies anyway. From one art gallery back in the 60s to over 120 commercial art galleries now, with a program in place for Public Art valued at over $ 23 million in year 2006 and an impressive collection of over 300 public artworks installed all over the city, while most cities have two or four important museums on its city roster; Denver has an impressive list of more than fifteen and counting. That’s not all, most cities boast of one or two art districts at the most, while Denver has six thriving ones!

The credit for this entire cultural renaissance goes back to a number of factors. First and foremost to the residents themselves who back in 1988 voted and passed a 0.1 percent sales tax to fund cultural activity around the entire metropolitan of Denver 토토사이트. The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District tax raises around $ 40 million annually for local art, theater, music and dance organizations and natural and cultural history sites.

The credit also goes to ever-popular two-term mayor John Hickenlooper who is an art buff in his own right and has supported arts and culture across the board; he is responsible for the major cultural coup of getting the Clyfford Still Museum established in Denver, (ground breaking ceremony planned for December 14th 2009). Still (1904-1980) is a world-renowned much sought after Expressionist artist – a single Still painting recently sold for over $20 million at an auction for example.

Mayor Federico Pena is credited with the establishment of Denver’s Public Art Program back in 1998 via an Executive Order, ensuring that 1 percent of any capital improvement project over 1 million should be set aside for art in the design and construction of these projects.

Denver may have started with one art district on the west end of the Platte River, near downtown but now it boasts of six. Raised rents and gentrification of newer art districts from Broadway to lower downtown (LoDo) to Santa Fe to RiNo to Belmar to Tennyson Street to Cherry Creek North has meant the dispersion of local artists, multiple art districts and decentralized art community which in turn has contributed to a thriving art scene. The art movement in Denver is not cut-throat and competitive like most arty environments of large metropolitan cities, nor is it judgmental and cynical, instead it’s characterized as open, collaborative and participative willing to inject a note of humor and whimsy in its selections. The whole city contributes from its art and culture organizations to its residents to its city government and art institutions to its art community, making it a fun and vibrant city intent on having a good time.

This could be because as Hickenlooper once put it, Denver is unusual and unique in that people move there not for jobs but for its superior ‘quality of life,’ and a ‘vigorous cultural scene’ is a big part of that expectation.

Some of the milestone cultural capital projects of Denver that opened between the period of four years 2005-2009 are: Elli Caulkins Opera House, The Lab at Belmar, The Denver Art Museum’s new wing Fredric C. Hamilton Building, Center for Empowering Learning and Living, a project of the Mizel Museum located at the Civic Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Clyfford Still Museum.

Not that, Denver was devoid of culture before this, the city already had an impressive base of arts and culture, for example, Denver Performing Arts Complex featuring ten performance spaces on a four-block, 12-acre site, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), it is the fifth largest natural history museum in the nation, the Denver Zoo, it is the fourth most popular zoo in the country, Denver Botanic Gardens, it is one of the top ten western gardens in the nation. Denver hosts one of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Parades, Cinco de Mayo celebrations and Native American pow-wows in the county, not to mention the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, it is number one arts festival in county based on artists’ sales.

Denver gets a high score based on one survey of marketable, discretionary visitors for the city’s choice for entertainment, pro sports events, theatre and the arts, nightlife, the variety of things to see and do, museums, art galleries, parks, gardens and golf courses, interesting architecture, landmarks, shopping, dining, recreation and outdoorsy, mountain activities like skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking and what not. So what’s not to like when you drop by to catch an art show, you might get more than you bargained for which is all to the good. More fun for you!

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