Boulder's Arts Scene Gets Upgraded

The Dairy Arts Center and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art are unveiling their recent improvements alongside new exhibitions. 

March 24 2016, 2:20 PM

A rendering of the updated facade at the Dairy Arts Center.

Spring is the season of renewal. For two Boulder venues, that means a whole lot more than new coats of paint. 

In November 2014, Boulder voters supported Issue 2A, which imposes a three-year sales tax hike of 0.3 percent to fund a number of capital improvement projects. The Dairy Arts Center received $3.85 million—and they've put it to good use. The most obvious change is to the exterior of the building, with its new yellow-hued, waved roof. But the interior is in the process of getting an upgrade as well, including a more convenient box office, an enlarged lobby with a cafe, a new 116-seat theater, and technical and sound improvements in all theaters. (Renovations are slated for completion by the end of the year.) 

See it all for yourself during Boulder artist Jill Powers' Holdfast: Seaweeds in a Time of Oceanic Change (on view through April 3), the first exhibition to show in the updated gallery space. Powers' multi-sensory, abstract display—it combines sculpture, installation, photography, and video, as well as a tasting station—surrounds you with the sounds, textures, and atmosphere of the ocean through the perspective of seaweed, the base of the food chain and a microcosm for the health of the waters. "Seaweed, when you see them in their natural environment underwater, are incredibly beautiful and fascinating," Powers says. "I hope that people get so interested and fascinated by these encounters and understanding how integral the seaweed is to our environment that they get more involved with ocean advocacy themselves." 

In conjunction with the exhibit, Powers organized a number of events around town: Attend a seaweed awareness and benefit dinner at Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place on March 31; make reservations at Wild Standard this month for a three-course, kelp-inspired meal (and cocktail!); or sign up for a geology hike on April 1 to see Powers' work and then head outside for a hike-and-learn focused on Colorado's ecological connections to the sea. 

A mile away, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art got its own upgrade; it recently closed its doors to install hardwood floors, add some fresh coats of paint, and more. The venue reopens on March 31 with Martha Russo: coalescere, an exhibition celebrating 25 years of the Colorado-based artists' work, including sculptural pieces and large-scale, site-specific installations. Her organic forms are captivating and have a strangeness to them that forces the viewer to engage and to question. Don't miss "nomos," an installation piece that Russo configures differently every time it's displayed by playing with the placement of thousands of hand-built, hollow porcelain tendrils.

—Inset image courtesy of Jill Powers

Follow senior associate editor Daliah Singer on Twitter at @daliahsinger