A space with about 10 million Lego bricks in it probably sounds like a dream come true for many children (and quite a few adults as well), but for artist Nathan Sawaya, that's just his workspace.
“They're all sorted by shape and color, so when you walk in you see these rows of colors. I usually have two or three projects going at a time,” Sawaya said during a sneak peek of The Art of the Brick on June 23. “I get inspiration from so many things, especially since I get to travel so much, and I use what I see as a resource.”
The opening of Sawaya's The Art of the Brick exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., coincides with the reopening of the museum itself, which was shut down for a historic 100 days in responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibit is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket through Sept. 7 (Labor Day).
“We're always looking for experiences that allow our guests to be curious, creative and playful,” said Keelin MacCarthy, one of the museum's educators. “And for those who may wonder why we're showing an art exhibit at a science museum, we know from STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) programs that art and science are not all that different.”
The Art of the Brick features about 100 works, including original creations as well as Lego versions of famous masterpieces (like Da Vinci's “Mona Lisa,” Vincent Van Gogh's “Starry Night” and the “Venus de Milo”). Another feature is a partnership with award-winning photographer Dean West, called “In Pieces.” All of this is set-up in a large exhibit space, which allows visitors to view it from far away and then close up, where the detail of how the pieces work together can be appreciated. Some works have upwards of 120,000 pieces.
“The exhibit is laid out in a way I've not seen before because of the needed social distancing, but I love it,” Sawaya said. “The pieces have room to breathe. When you look closely you see all the right angles, but when you look from far away, you see it bend to curves.”
The Denver stop for the well-traveled exhibition - it has been to 100 cities, 20 countries and six continents - is particularly poignant for Sawaya, who said that the Denver Museum of Nature & Science was the first museum he ever visited. He went with his grandparents, who also gave him his first Lego set when he was about 5 years old - and he still is inspired by them decades later. That all-ages appeal is what makes The Art of the Brick a perfect summer exhibit.
“Lego makes art so accessible,” he said. “The whole idea is to inspire more art and creativity.”
For more information and to make a reservation (as well as the social distancing rules for guests), visit dmns.org/brick.
Drive-in movies with Northglenn
Northglenn is once again hosting its free Summer Movie Series, but this year the movies are at Northwest Open Space, 112th Avenue and Ranch Drive, and is a drive-in event. The series runs from July 8 through 29 and features movies like “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Grease” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
There is a limit of 30 cars per show, so all cars must register before the event (there will be no space for drive-ups). Northglenn residents will get first the first crack and registration, and everyone can apply after a couple of days.
Visit www.northglennarts.org/programs/summer-movie-series to reserve your spot.
Clarke's Concert of the Week - A Capitol Fourth
In the mood for something traditional this Independence Day? Hard to be more so than PBS' annual A Capitol Fourth live event, which will be livestreaming this year beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.
This year's concert is hosted by John Stamos and Vanessa Williams and will feature performances by a slew of legends like The Temptations, John Fogerty, Patti LaBelle and Renée Fleming, among many others. The event will also feature the National Symphony Orchestra and live fireworks from Washington D.C.
Visit www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/home/ to stream the show.
Streaming style - 'Hamilton'
Even people who barely pay attention to the theater world are familiar with “Hamilton.” It was supposed to make its second appearance in Denver this autumn before COVID-19 slammed the breaks on everything. But for once, the shutdown might be a good thing - because a film version of the original Broadway cast was supposed to hit movie theaters more than a year from now. Instead, home audiences can watch it on Disney Plus beginning Friday, July 3.
The movie version was filmed over three days in 2016 at New York's Richard Rodgers Theatre, so get your opera gloves and glasses and I'll see you at the show.
Clarke Reader's column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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