Jackson Hendrickson, 10, and other members of his family experience the new Virtual Reality exhibit inside the Space Odyssey exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on October 18, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
For local museums, theaters and music ensembles, Denver Arts Week offers a chance to showcase new work, get a little promotional boost and pull in customers during a season when business can be sluggish.
But for fans of local culture, it’s an opportunity to cash in on some of the best deals of the year. The annual event always comes with plenty of opportunities to experience culture for free or at deep discounts.
The “week,” which actually runs from Nov. 3-11, is organized by Visit Denver, which spends the bulk of its time luring tourists and conventioneers to the city. Denver Arts week allows the organization a chance to use its considerable marketing muscle to give back to many of the places and performing groups it uses year-round to attract out-of-towners.
It also gives Visit Denver an opportunity to connect with the region’s local culture while inspiring hometown crowds to get out and about. If local consumers don’t appreciate the offerings in their midst, “it’s hard to tell that story” to folks who might come from other places, according to Visit Denver’s Vice President of Tourism Jayne Buck.
Denver Arts Week is fueled by both special offerings the fact that several of the city’s bigger cultural events happen to take place at the same time. It coincides with the Denver Film Festival, the region’s First Friday art walks and Opera Colorado’s fall production, which this year, is “La Bohème.”
Everything comes together at the Visit Denver website. It’s the key to ferreting out attractions across genres and it’s the place to discover the best deals. Expect to spend some time sorting things out at www.denver.org.
Here are some basics to consider when making plans:
You can save a bundle with Night at the Museums. This popular event is always the premiere attraction of Denver Arts Week and offers its most attractive deal. Twelve of city’s best museums will open their doors for free on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 10 p.m. The list of participants includes both heavy-hitters, like the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and smaller places, like the Black American West Museum and The Cell. The more museums you get to, the more you save, and there’s a free shuttle bus to cart visitors from place to place. Start early.
The special event is really special, and free. This year, the city is host to the annual Breakin’ Convention tour of hip hop dance theater, and some top acts from far and near will present a free showcase of their talents. The event, billed as the 303 Jam, takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Names include DJ Cavem, The Reminders, Michelle Rocqet, Bianca Mikahn and more. There are graffiti artists, workshops and other activities in the mix.
Don’t overlook the membership discounts. Denver Arts Week deals include some discounts on annual membership fees for local museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, for example, is offering dual memberships for $52.80, a 30 percent discount. The Denver Art Museum is giving folks who sign up during the week an extra month on their usual 12-month package, plus members get half-price tickets to the current special exhibit, “Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism.”
This is your chance to try something new: A ticket discount is the best excuse to experiment with something new, and Denver Arts Week offers real temptations. Haven’t heard the orchestra lately? The Colorado Symphony has 2-for-1 deals on its weekend concerts featuring music by Mozart and Wagner. Stuck in a ballet rut? You can get four tickets to “A Taste of Flamenco” for $52.80; they’re regularly $20 a piece. Tired of big museums? The intimate American Museum of Western Art is dropping the $5 admission for its self-guided tours on certain days. The Arts Week website also lists plenty of other free events.
And don’t forget, you can get advance deals. Some local organizations are tying their promotions of future events to Arts Week. One great example: There are 2-for-1 tickets available to “Antonio Sanchez: Birdman Live,” which doesn’t take place until Feb. 22 at the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus. The event is a highlight of the region’s upcoming winter season and features a presentation of the Oscar-winning film, “Birdman,” accompanied by a live performance from composer and jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez, who wrote the score. The website has several more advance buying opportunities.
Denver Arts week runs Nov. 3-11. For information on all events, go to www.denver.org.