Denverites always look forward to the first Friday of every month, when the Santa Fe strip turns into a one-stop arts and entertainment hub, buzzing with bluegrass bands in the streets, artists showing off their latest work, and plenty of handcrafted goods to buy and food-truck grub to eat. But with more than 60 galleries and shops opening their doors to the public for just a few short hours (6-9 p.m.), it’s easy to walk away feeling like you didn’t cover much ground. With the help of Kara Basinger, a private consultant for Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, we’ve compiled a list of five gallery events—from south to north—to keep on your radar this week.
New digs: Space Gallery‘s move just a few blocks down the strip is far less subtle than it sounds. The new location flaunts 150 feet of storefront (a major upgrade from the old gallery’s mere 15 feet), a 3,000-square-foot sculpture garden, and a contemporary feel to match the artwork’s modern aesthetic. At Friday’s grand opening celebration, two pieces by each of the gallery’s artists will be on display—including ceramics by Mike Rand, photography by Jeff Curry, and steel sculptures by Tyler Aiello. 400 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, spacegallery.org
History lesson: As the former home to Sandy Carson Gallery—the district’s anchor gallery—art has always been at the core of 760 Santa Fe Drive’s history. The 4,500-square-foot building’s newest tenant, Michael Warren Contemporary, offers vibrant paintings, sculptures, and photography, with an emphasis on unexpected materials and processes. Stop by the space to get to know the gallery’s 31 artists in its debut exhibit “Introductions,” a sneak peek of what’s to come for the space’s solo exhibitions. 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-635-6255, michaelwarrencontemporary.com
Sweet tooth: Art is so much sweeter with a handful of chocolate. Make a pit stop at Tesoro Artisan Gallery to taste the organic, Mexican-style truffles and bars from Dead Dog Chocolate while perusing the paintings of Marta Margarita Santiago. The exhibit “Dancing Spirit” features more than 20 joyful paintings that capture the movement of dance on canvas. 918 W. 8th Ave., 720-287-0873, tesoroartisans.com
Changing perspective: Coloradans are accustomed to Mother Nature’s way of making us feel blissfully tiny, but it’s very rare that we get to see the world from 30,000 feet above. In “A Pilot’s Perspective,” photographer and commercial pilot Mitch Bowers shares scenes from his everyday life, soaring high above the Western states. View 14 of Bowers’ large prints at the gallery long known for documenting Colorado’s natural beauty, John Fielder’s Colorado. 833 Santa Fe Drive, 303-744-7979, johnfielder.com
Jam session: As an all-purpose venue for music, dance, acrobatics, and art exhibitions, Skylite Station focuses on art on and off the canvas. From 5-7 p.m., view artwork—multimedia, graphic art, and paintings—by 50 local artists and members of Colorado Alliance of Visionary Art (CAVA). Grab a drink at the bar, peruse the artisans market, and stick around for music by the venue’s house rock band, the Skyliters, and a DJ set mixed with psychedelic visual art by Yes Tribe. 910 Santa Fe Drive, skylitestation.com