One look at Colorado’s roster of art walks and major art events will convince you we’re serious about the arts. If you need further evidence, art critic John Villani named nine Colorado towns in his list of “The 100 Best Art Towns in America.”
Celebrate this love of the arts, mild temperatures and friendly folks with a gallery-hopping walk through these Colorado towns.
Ongoing Colorado Art Walks
Several art districts in Denver host art walks throughout the year, including Art District on Santa Fe, Tennyson Street, Golden Triangle, Old South Pearl Street (April–Dec.), Navajo Street Art District and RiNo Art District. Thousands flock to these areas on the first Friday every month to meander through art-forward galleries and studios.
First Thursdays kick the weekend off early year-round in the charming box-canyon town of Telluride. A dozen galleries invite browsing art lovers in, and downtown restaurants feature art-walk specials to make sure they have enough food and drink to fuel their trek. Some of the galleries even host kids walks — self-guided tours that teach basic principles of art to curious kids.
On first Fridays, the Arkansas River mountain town of Salida hosts its art walk, with more than 20 galleries opening shows or hosting artists’ receptions. Additionally, each summer Salida holds a major weekend-long art walk (June 28–30, 2013) with theater, concerts, demonstrations, classes in additional to gallery previews and artists’ receptions.
Old Colorado City
First Friday art walks in Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs’ historic district, begin in April and run through December. Seventeen galleries and studios pepper the area’s streets, which are home to the little locally owned shops and cafes that make the district so charming.
Downtown Pueblo’s Union Avenue Historic District and Mesa Junction neighborhood, both of which run along side the city’s Arkansas Riverwalk, also bustle on first Fridays. Galleries open for extended hours, and snacks and live performances courtesy of the Pueblo Performing Arts Guild on Union Avenue keep things festive year-round.
Being a college town, Fort Collins can’t help but be a vibrant, art-forward community. Their year-round historic-downtown first Friday gallery walk brings even more action to the city’s already bustling downtown, home to boutiques, restaurants, bars and more.
The rest of the state’s first Friday events will keep you free to check out Breck’s gallery walk, which takes place on second Saturdays. One of Colorado’s most popular ski towns is also growing in reputation as a stellar art town, as well. Check it out on its way up!
Crested Butte's summer artwalks fall on the last Thursday of the month from June to September. An additional walk will be held in conjunction with the Crested Butte Arts Festival (Aug. 2–4, 2013), a weekend-long event featuring work from artists all over the country, installations on six brides in town, a guided tour and musicians playing in the streets.
Other Colorado Art Walks
Loveland’s Sculpture in the Park: Aug. 10–11, 2013
Loveland has been making a name for itself as one of the nation’s best small towns for the arts. The city’s unique public arts collection totals more than 200 pieces, which are visible all over the city. The Benson Sculpture Park, set with amazing views of the Front Range mountains is host to the 30th annual Sculpture in the Park, which showcases more than 2,000 pieces of sculpture created by 170 sculptors from around the world.
Longmont, another Front Range city whose art cred is rising, hosts three art walks through out the year (May 17, July 19 and Sept. 20, 2013) in their historic downtown, accompanied by music, theater, dance and activities for kids.
La Veta Art Events
Organized by the Spanish Peaks Art Council, the south-central Colorado town of La Veta hosts Art in the Park in late June (July 6–7, 2013) as well as a late-summer studio and gallery tour (Aug. 3–4, 2013).
Photos: Matt Inden/Miles; courtesy of Denver's RiNo Art District; courtesy of Navajo Street Art District; Denise Chambers/Miles.