With the largest concentration of galleries found anywhere in the state, Denver‘s Santa Fe Art District offers everything from fine art and photography to sculpture and ceramics. The culture, food, and fun to be had in this area – found on and around Santa Fe Drive and Kalamath Street – is all thanks to a group of pioneering cultural institutions that banded together in the early noughties to organise the non-profit, Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. With dozens of members in a variety of creative industries, the district is now stronger than ever, with plenty for the art lover, culture aficionado and foodie to enjoy.
The galleries in the Santa Fe Art District showcase a wide assortment of media, running the full gamut from painting and sculpture to installations and performance pieces. With so much on offer, a good place to start is Artists on Santa Fe. This long-running studio and gallery cooperative exhibits the work of a wide range of local artists. Pop in here for anything and everything from glasswork and photographs to sculpture and mixed media.
Contemporary art is particularly well represented in the district. The colourful, curated exhibitions and selection of abstract works on display at Michael Warren Contemporary are definitely worth a visit. Should you wish to take one of the works home with you, the gallery’s dedicated ArtLook consultants are on hand to help you pick out the perfect piece.
Other top-notch contemporary galleries include Core New Art Space, an artist-run non-commercial space dedicated to new, up-and-coming artists, and Point Gallery, which shows something of a yen for mixed media in the national and international art it showcases. Another local favourite is Space Gallery, beloved for its dizzying array of non-representational art, including ceramics and sculpture.
For something a little bit different, head over to Kalamath Street and visit the gallery of social-landscape photographer, Evan Anderman. Anderman’s landscape and natural photographs can also be found within the Denver Art Museum’s impressive collection, just a 20-minute walk from the Santa Fe Art District.
Georgia Amar Fine Art is the place to search out bold oil paintings, as well as accomplished stained glasswork. Seasoned artist, Georgia Amar, also offers art classes in the inspirational surrounds of the gallery.
Another top choice for art classes and workshops is 910 Artists. Chose from a wide range of options including painting, drawing and even creating floor cloths, or head over to Skylite Station to take in some live performance art.
Many of the galleries here are commercial, so an exploration of the Santa Fe Art District can happily turn into a shopping spree as you gallery hop. Antiques aficionados should head over the river to Eron Johnson Antiques‘ restored 1920s industrial showroom for a wide range of objets d’art, from vintage lamps and architectural salvage to 17th century antiques.
Another great spot to shop is the eclectic My Hair Trip Salon Denver, which offers both an art gallery and a boutique selling clothes and jewellery.
Art Walks and Preview Evenings
The First Friday Art Walk is one of the most popular events in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District, with thousands regularly attending. Galleries and shops (not to mention the bars and restaurants) in the area stay open late, allowing culture vultures to enjoy the art and the ambience after hours. Plus, there’s a guided shuttle available to ferry First Fridayers between venues.
The Collector’s Preview events – held on the third Friday of the month at various galleries in the district – are a must for any aspiring or visiting collectors.
Food and Drink
Appreciating all that art can be thirsty work. Thankfully, the Santa Fe Art District has more restaurants and bars than you can shake a paintbrush at. Black Sky Brewery serves up perfect pints and pizzas, and Renegade Brewing has a great beer selection as well as board games and food trucks on rotation, should you wish to linger longer.
A hot dog from Mile High Vienna is a great pick-me-up in between gallery visits, as is a caffeine hit or a glass of fine wine from The Molecule Effect. They also exhibit local artists, so you can soak up the scene while sipping on something suitably restorative.
Header image: Santa Fe Art District © Sarah Barth
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Have you been to Denver’s art district? What are your favourite places to visit there? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Written by Giverny Tattersfield