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Brazil's Companhia Urbana De Dança will perform twice during the Biennial. (Photo courtesy of Biennial of the Americas)

Your Guide to Biennial of the Americas

The eight can't-miss events during this seven-week, cross-cultural celebration of arts and civic inspiration. 

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Denver’s Biennial of the Americas (July 14 to August 30) has a big mission: to inspire action and long-lasting relationships across the Americas through dialogue surrounding arts, culture, and civic interests. It’s a worthy cause (and a mouthful), but what does it actually mean for the lay Denverite? A ton of events—100 artists and performers representing 25 countries, to start—happening around the city over the next two months. “If you wander, you’ll find wonderful things,” says Erin Trapp, president and director of the Biennial. Though we always encourage a little adventuring in your own city, we’re giving your feet a little break by rounding up the eight can’t-miss happenings:

Sports: Biennial of the Americas Soccer Fest with the Colorado Rapids

Soccer (er, fútbol) is a language everyone in the world speaks. The Colorado Rapids are teaming up with the Biennial to offer a lively afternoon of international food trucks, inflatable games, live music, and a family-friendly 5K walk and run. Cap off the day with tickets to see the Rapids play Real Salt Lake at 7 p.m. (you can purchase tickets here). July 11, 3 p.m.; Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City; Free

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Party: Opening Night

New this year is the Biennial Pavilion, a free hub for the festivities, which will include regular programming and a collection of found-object art. The opening-night party will feature music, a marching band, a first look at two art exhibits (including Now? Now!, below), live poetry, and refreshments for sale. “You’ll feel the urban energy going on in Denver and the international flavor we’re giving it for a week,” Trapp says. July 14, 8 to 11 p.m.; 1550 Wewatta St.; Free

Public Art: Implant

Geology is at the center of this intriguing take on public art in the Commons Park area. Mexican artist Marcela Armas excavated a core sample from both downtown Denver and Mexico City. Each will be exhibited—and their contents analyze by geologists—in their respective cities before swapping places and being implanted permanently in the open boreholes “as tangible signs of the interconnectedness of these cities’ histories, cultures, and futures.” July 14 to August 30; Downtown Denver; Free

Art Exhibit: Now? Now!

There will be no shortage of conversation starters here: The Biennial’s official exhibit showcases more than 30 artists’—”the next names on everyone’s lips,” according to Trapp—commentary on everything from the impact of technology on contemporary life to the political climate in their home countries to the interconnected ecologies of North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean. July 14 to August 30; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany St.; Free

Multimedia: I Am The Future

What better place to showcase cross-cultural collaboration than the airport? Mexico City-based artist Erick Meyenberg explores the past, present, and future of the land and neighborhoods surrounding DIA through a live performance, plus a film and sculpture installation created in conjunction with members of the drill team from nearby Montbello and Green Valley Ranch high schools. The live show will be held in the Great Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, while the film will play in loops in the main terminal throughout the Biennial. July 14 to August 30; Denver International Airport, 8500 Peña Blvd.; Free

Panel Discussion: Government Now! The Return of the City-State

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock joins the mayor of Calgary and the former mayor of Bogotá for a moderated discussion about the rising influence and importance of local government on issues of national and international import. July 17, 12:15 to 2 p.m., Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1345 Champa St.; $75

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Film: River of Fundament

When Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s six-hour, three-act cinematic film screens in Denver, it will be just the fourth time the epic has been shown in the United States. Read more about the event here. July 18, 5 to 11 p.m.; Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1101 13th St.; $20

Dance: Companhia Urbana De Dança

This Rio de Janeiro-based dance troupe is making the most of its trip to Denver. Not only is it bringing its street style—a blend of contemporary, hip-hop, samba, and capoeira—to the Newman Center stage, Companhia is also heading up several public dance workshops and co-creating a brand-new work with Denver’s Wonderbound to premiere during Biennial Night @ Civic Center (Friday, July 17, 5 to 11 p.m.). July 19, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver, 2344 E. Iliff Ave.; starting at $29

View the full program of events here.

Daliah Singer, 5280 Contributor

Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.

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