Contact: Carly Grimes / 720-289-9366, cgrimes@mmgworldwide.com
                 Roland Alonzi / 646-442-6765, ralonzi@mmgworldwide.com

PAINT YOUR BEST COLORADO SUMMER VACATION… EVER

DENVER (March 1, 2011) – Art endeavors of every kind paint Colorado’s landscape this summer. With happenings ranging from local artisans to internationally recognized collections and live theatre to music events and film festivals, cultural opportunities abound across the state.  Below is a sampling of some of the many ways visitors can experience Colorado’s cultural scene.

The Mile High Arts Scene

■ The Denver Art District on Santa Fe is a unique, nationally known art and cultural district with more than 60 galleries, restaurants and shops located a few short blocks from downtown.  The Art District opens its doors to lively crowds for popular events such as the First Friday Art Walk, held every first Friday of the month. www.ArtDistrictonSantaFe.com

■ The Denver Performing Arts Complex is the second largest performing arts complex in the world, just behind New York’s Lincoln Center.  It offers a diverse array of Broadway shows, professional theatre, symphony, opera and ballet in dazzling venues.  Upcoming shows include Ah Wilderness (April 6-23), Billy Elliott (May 11-29) and Les Miserables (August 31-September 10). www.DenverCenter.org

 Museum of Contemporary Art is Denver’s first contemporary art museum.  Inspiring contemporary art that excites and challenges all audiences, the Museum of Contemporary Art is spread across five distinct galleries throughout Denver.  www.MCADenver.org

■ The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art is Denver’s nationally recognized display of 20th century decorative arts showcasing more than 3,500 works on view ranging from Arts & Crafts to Modern and Pop Art. www.KirklandMuseum.org

■ The Denver Art Museum recently debuted “Blink! Light, Sound & the Moving Image” (March 13 – May 1), the museum’s first large-scale exhibition devoted entirely to electronic and time-based media. The newly remodeled American Indian Art exhibit highlights individual artists, their creations and their inspirations. Bonus: General admission is free on the first Saturday of each month. www.DenverArtMuseum.org

■ Downtown Denver Arts Festival (May 27-30).  Dedicated to supporting and showcasing Colorado visual artists, the Downtown Denver Arts Festival features the work of more than 130 of Colorado’s best artists each Memorial Day Weekend.   www.DowntownDenverArtFestival.com

Cultural Events Across the State

 The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown (April 8-10) is a weekend dedicated to bluegrass music as an American art form. The Meltdown features three unique, intimate main stages, a super jam, barn dance (Durango style), Saturday night Celtdown and music flowing from bars, restaurants, coffee houses and downtown streets and sidewalks--all within walking distance.  www.DurangoMeltdown.com

■ Salida Art Walk (June 24-26).  Named one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns in America” by John Villani, Salida is renowned for its annual arts celebration where the public is invited to stroll Salida’s historic downtown streets and enjoy the sights and sounds of the visual and performing arts. www.SalidaArtWalk.org

■ Open Arts Fest (July 16-17) will showcase the finest artists from around Colorado and the nation.  Artists will showcase their work along the historic Pearl Street Mall while performances from Boulder’s finest performing arts organizations and musical groups will be scattered throughout the streets.  www.BoulderDowntown.com

■ 39th Annual Crested Butte Arts Festival (August 5-7).  The streets of Crested Butte’s historic district will be lined with more than 175 artists from around the world, including an “Art Alley” for kids ages 2-12.  The festival features an artists’ demonstration tent as well as live entertainment, an art auction and culinary demonstrations throughout the weekend.  www.CrestedButteArtsFestival.com

■ Sculpture in the Park (August 13-14). Loveland’s Benson Sculpture Garden will be transformed into one of the greatest exhibitions of three-dimensional artwork in the country.  With the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, Sculpture in the Park features 20,000 pieces of sculpture created by 170 sculptors from around the world. www.SculptureinthePark.org

■ New West Fest (August 20-22).  Fort Collins will be bursting at the seams with music for their Bohemian Night New West Fest celebration.  The free event will showcase more than 70 Colorado bands, 20 dance companies, children’s performers, street performers and three national music headliners across nine stages. www.DowntownFortCollins.com

■ Telluride Film Festival (September 2-5).  Each Labor Day weekend, Telluride swells three times the size with passionate film enthusiasts to celebrate the best in film. Last year’s festival included sneak previews of Black Swan and 127 Hours as well as appearances by the likes of James Franco and Colin Firth.  www.TellurideFilmFestival.org

Colorado Art Attractions

■ The Aspen Art Museum offers a variety of opportunities for visitors to experience thought-provoking art, culture and society through an array of activities, exhibitions and programs. Upcoming exhibits include “The Anxiety of Photography” (May 13–July 17) and work by Cathy Wilkes (May 20–July 17). www.AspenArtMuseum.org

■ The Western Colorado Center for the Arts offers a collection of nearly 300 historic and contemporary works, highlighting an array of work from historic Native American artifacts to pre-Columbian ceramics to contemporary work by some of the state’s most talented and reputable living artists.  www.GJArtCenter.org

■ Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is the cultural center of the community, offering year-round programs featuring professional and children’s theater, curated art galleries, art walks and a variety of activities for people of all ages.  A selection of concerts will rock the Arvada Center’s outdoor venue this summer including Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis, Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys and the Gipsy Kings. www.ArvadaCenter.org

■ Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is celebrating its 75th anniversary by featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company throughout the season in honor of Martha Graham, who first danced on stage in 1936. The Dance Company will perform Lamentation Variations, a series of vignettes by contemporary choreographers that interpret the theme of the classic Graham piece, Lamentation, among other numbers.  www.CSFineArtsCenter.org

■ Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder aspires to become the most environmentally sustainable National Historic Landmark in the country. Boasting amazing scenery and a calendar packed with lectures and concerts, Colorado’s Chautauqua strives to bring communities together through educational, cultural and social activities.  Planned events include the Colorado Music Festival (June 25 – August 5), and a variety of music and dance offerings.www.Chautauqua.com

If you aren’t sold yet, Colorado is bursting at the seams with a complete arts and culture experience largely as a result of the Arts in Public Places Program (AIPP).  This act integrates art with architecture by requiring that one percent of all construction funds go toward the acquisition of art for the project site, allowing locals to combine work with play.

ABOUT COLORADO

Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 26 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet and 12 national parks, monuments and historic sites. For more information or a copy of the 2011 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Visitors and media can follow Colorado's social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare, on the Colorado Connect page at www.COLORADO.com/connect. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at www.COLORADO.com/mediaroom for story ideas, press releases, a high-resolution image library, the official Colorado press kit and more.