First Friday events have become a fairly routine way for art galleries and art districts to highlight the work being done by local creatives. These events are certainly something Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District has really come to embrace over the years.
But three times a year the district hosts a First Friday with a little extra something. One of the key things 40 West organizers like to consider when they’re planning the three art crawls is spectacle, and what better spectacle is there to bring a bit of the joy and music of Mardi Gras to Lakewood?
40 West’s New Orleans Style Street Party will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1. The event will be throughout the district but the hub will be the 40 West Arts Gallery, 1560 Teller St.
“Our Art Crawls are like First Fridays on steroids,” said Liz Black, executive director of the arts district. “We like to consider all types of art and the best ways for people to explore that art.”
The July art crawl will be circus-themed and the November crawl will be focused on Dia De Los Muertos.
The event will feature a special appearance by Denver Brass, who will be marching and performing classic New Orleans style jazz and funk throughout the district. Attendees can follow the band as they march or do their own perusing through the district’s galleries. There will also be tarot card readers, face-painting, child-friendly activities and, of course, arts demonstrations at the galleries.
“New Orleans is such a creative hub and we wanted to bring our own flavor of that same energy here to Lakewood,” Black said. “We think it’s going to be something to see a brass band marching through the streets of Denver.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/40WestArtsDistrict.
Red is the color of your loving energy
For many people red is the color most connected to the feelings of love and passion. So, it makes sense that the Artists on Santa Fe Gallery would take February, the month of Valentine’s Day, to celebrate the color.
“Red!” is display at the gallery, 747 Santa Fe Drive in Denver, through Monday, Feb. 25.
Members of the gallery were tapped to express themselves through the color. Visitors can enjoy a hot drink while they stroll through the gallery and working studios of 30 resident artists. According to the gallery, new work will include paintings and printmaking, ceramics, photography, sculpture and jewelry.
For more information, visit www.artistsonsantafe.com.
Degas’ dancers come to life with Ballet Ariel
One of the best things about artistic inspiration is that it isn’t confined to one medium. That’s how the work of French Impressionist Edgar Degas can inspire a show by Denver’s Ballet Ariel.
The ballet company is bringing its original creation, “Ballerina by Degas” to the Pinnacle Performing Arts Center, 1001 W. 84th Ave. in Federal Heights, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24 and the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave. in Parker at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28.
The show tells the story of a young dancer called Simone and her rise within the ballet company — all documented by Degas. The show aims to capture the beauty and grace of his work amid the vibrancy of the Paris art world during the 19th century, according to the company.
For tickets and more, visit www.balletariel.org/ballerinas-by-degas/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Ella Mai at the Ogden Theatre
There’s no mathematic formula for making a song a hit. It’s a mix of crafting the right kind of earworm and audiences being ready to hear it. Sometimes it takes a while for the connection to be made. Just ask Britain’s Ella Mai.
Mai’s breakout single, “Boo’d Up” was released in February 2017 but it wasn’t until the spring of 2018 that the track finally really caught on. It became a smash, and her debut album was released in October of last year. It’s a wonderful collection of R&B tracks that feels both familiar and modern.
As part of her tour in support of the album, Mai will be coming to the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25.
For tickets to this exciting new voice, head to www.ogdentheatre.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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