During the COVID-19 pandemic, the curators behind galleries all over town found the loss of their spaces just as devastating as the artists. Shanna Shelby, curator of exhibitions with the City and County of Denver’s Arts and Venues department, is still getting used to things returning to some kind of normal.
“It was really emotionally devastating to not have artwork on the wall for so long (at the McNichols Civic Center Building),” Shelby said. “Everyone is really excited to see the building reopened and to see artwork on the walls. This place is part of our community heart.”
McNichols, 144 W. Colfax Ave., is returning with three free new summer art exhibitions, all created with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week in mind: Shades of Greatness (through Sept. 7), Black Love Mural Festival Remix (through Oct. 3) and All-Star Alliance: Denver’s Cross-Cultural Muralists (through Oct. 3).
According to provided information, Shades of Greatness (which will be on display on the first floor), is a critically acclaimed exhibition created with the Negro League’s Baseball Museum and tells the story of the historic organization. It features 35 original works of art produced by 28 artists from all over the country.
The Black Love Mural Festival Remix (on display on the second floor) features artists from the Black Love Mural Festival’s lineup of creatives. They were invited to collaborate to create 30 new works to be displayed in the show. And the All-Star Alliance (presented on the third floor) highlights the works of some of Denver’s most well-known muralists, like Casey Kawaguchi and LaDopa. The artists were commissioned by the MLB to create baseball-themed murals, and they will also display their studio work.
“The artists participating in some of these exhibits may not be trained, but the work is very powerful and impactful,” Shelby said. “And so positive.”
Most curators spend months, and sometimes even years, planning and preparing for an exhibition, but with the All-Star Game’s surprise move to Denver, things had to move quickly. The gallery’s staff had been scattered due to the pandemic, but the exhibits were still prepared in time for the game.
“Visually and thematically it all works really well together. And it’s a huge opportunity for these artists to be in front of so many because of the game,” Shelby said. “We’re all repairing, but it takes time. Curating exhibits has been a lifelong joy for me, so this is a very joyful return. I think people are feeling a little tender-hearted, and we’re all so moved and happy to see what we have in this space.”
For more information on the exhibits, visit mcnicholsbuilding.com.
Sidewalk shopping in Cherry Creek
There are few things better during the summertime than time spent outside in a beautiful space, which makes Cherry Creek North’s 51st Annual Sidewalk Sale a perfect fit for the season. The event runs from Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, July 18 in the shopping district, 2401 E. 2nd Ave. in Denver.
More than 70 businesses will be participating, including clothing retailers, fitness and wellness centers, hotels, home furnishing stores and more. There will be a number of deals available to shoppers on one-of-a-kind items, and even a prize of a $500 gift card. To see a list of participating boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and more, visit cherrycreeknorth.com/sidewalksale.
Follow the green light to the DL Parsons Theatre
Longtime readers of this column will know that if there’s a production of “The Great Gatsby,” there’s a solid chance I’m going to write about it. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story of Nick Carraway’s summer of 1922 in the fashionable town of East Egg and the doomed romance between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan is a wonderful exploration and indictment of the American dream. Nearly 100 years later, it still holds up.
Northglenn Youth Theatre will be staging a production of the classic at the DL Parsons Theatre, 11801 Community Center Drive, from Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18. Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Visit northglennarts.org/production/the-great-gatsby for in-person and livestream tickets.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Charles Sawtelle Memorial Mountain Jam
KGNU Community Radio will pay tribute to Hot Rize guitarist Charles Sawtelle with the 33rd annual Charles Sawtelle Memorial Mountain Jam, held this year at noon on Sunday, July 18. The event will be held at Gold Hill Inn, 401 Main St. in Boulder.
This year it is featuring three Colorado bluegrass bands: Sugar Moon Band, High Lonesome and the Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose Band. Sugar Moon Band is an all female project based out of Longmont that blends original and traditional bluegrass music, while High Lonesome originally formed in Atlanta, but moved to the area not long after getting started. They focus on high-speed picking and vocal harmonies. Finally, Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose is a Denver-based folk musician who plays in numerous local bands and combines clawhammer banjo, syncopated rhythms, drums and soaring fiddle melodies, according to provided information.
Visit kgnu.org/thecharles2021 for information and tickets.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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