Even in the art world, December is not only a time of retrospect and the future, but also a time of creative trade, when artists risk their work for holiday shopping. So find your opportunity to find new art that you love:

Scott Wilson, “Crossed Paths”. (Y / OUR Denver best-in-show picture.)

@ Scott Wilson, courtesy of CPAC

Y / OUR Denver Doors Open Denver Photo Contest
Online until March 1st
The Denver Architecture Foundation’s 2020 annual Doors Open Denver celebration was canceled, but the associated photo contest was not. Now the show, judged and curated by Samantha Johnston of the Colorado Photographic Art Center, is available online on the CPAC and DAF websites to remind us of Denver’s rich architectural wealth – at least until we do Doors Open Denver in person again can experience.

Lauren Alexander,

Lauren Alexander, “Portals (hand-colored)”, stone lithograph and watercolor.

Lauren Alexander

Art Gym Virtual Holiday Art Festival
Online until December 24th
A hidden gem in the Denver creative community, the member-operated artist co-working space Art Gym provides access to the basics of manufacturing: tools, equipment, a printing studio, a fully equipped commissioner’s kitchen, metal benches, a performance studio , Workshops and gallery spaces, to name just a few. The annual Holiday Fine Arts Festival, which not only shows affordable work by members in the Art Gym all year round, but also puts a little money in the artists’ pockets, takes place online this year, where you can read through the art right at home until Christmas Eve.

See Angela Craven's art at Balefire Goods this month.

See Angela Craven’s art at Balefire Goods this month.

Angela Craven

Angela Craven: paintings and hand-painted ornaments
Balefire Goods, 7513 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
Until January 2nd
While Balefire is primarily a retail exhibition for creative metalworkers and jewelry makers, owner Jamie Hollier is also making room for visual artists as the shows take place monthly. In December, see Angela Cravens beautifully composed abstract expressionist paintings and hand-painted glass ornaments.

Matt Doubek, EXPAND

Matt Doubek, “Life.”

Matt Doubek

Matthew Doubek and Samuel Mobley, GNIVIL
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Belmar, Lakewood
December 9th to January 3rd
Artist meet-and-greet: Saturday, December 12th, 5pm to 7pm
Friends and occasional studio mates Matt Doubek and Sam Mobley have been throwing exhibits together for years that show their shared artistic vision of work created from shared materials, collage effects, and graphic design know-how. Now you are back in Valkarie with an offering called GNIVIL that “lives” backwards and you can take it from there. Also on display in Valkarie: Selected artist Aria Fawn until January 31st and a local artist exhibition until December 27th. All works can be viewed both online and in the gallery.

David Kammerzell,

David Kammerzell, “Dos Damas”, oil on canvas. Meet the artist virtually in the studio on December 14th.

David Kammerzell

Coors Western Art Presents: In the artist’s studio
Until December 28th
There won’t be a National Western Stock Show this January due to COVID, but the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale component will still be very popular in cyberspace. Online bids will run from December 18 to January 5 and the remainder of the sale from January 9 to January 9 24. In the run-up to this rodeo, Coors Western Art will broadcast a series of online studio visits and artist talks that will take place on To be completed December 28th. Visit the website to register for upcoming events or to revisit previous events.

Simply small 2
D’art Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
December 10th to January 10th
Emerge Opening Reception: Friday, December 11th, 5pm to 7pm
The D’art cooperative in the Art District on Santa Fe is assembling Emerge, a new show with a theme of new directions sparked by the events of 2020. Respected Denver art writer Mary Voelz Chandler was featured in 48 artists from across the nation in a variety of media for the exhibit. D’art’s ongoing small art exhibition will stay in the Galerie Ost until December 24th and will reopen on January 2nd in case you want to spend your vacation money.

However, take a moment to remind yourself that Denver cooperatives are great vacation shopping options, whether you’re giving away a collector or building your own collection. Along with the D’art Gallery, you can still see member shows and small works at 40 West Gallery, Edge Gallery, Next Gallery, Kanon Collective, and Spark Gallery. Is your favorite not listed here? Give them a call!

See what's on deck in the ILA Gallery.EXPAND

See what’s on deck in the ILA Gallery.

ILA gallery

Deck the halls and off the rails
ILA Gallery, 209 Kalamath Street
December 11th to January 11th
Opening reception: Friday, December 11th, 6pm to 10pm
RSVP in advance for timed slot entry
ILA brings together a huge collection of urban and street performers for this pair of Christmas shows – one with artist-decorated skate decks and the other with HO-scale model railroad cars adorned with miniature graffiti tags. This is unique. The train chugs through the gallery at the opening – hello, second childhood.

Art attack: ten ways to see art live or otherwise

Annual Holiday Open Studio Sale
Kim Harrell Studio, 576 Hanover Way, Suite B, Aurora
Friday and Saturday, December 11th and 12th, daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
RSVP upfront for timed purchases
Metal smith Kim Harrell, who makes jewelry and functional items for the kitchen, opens her studio for a hospitable annual Christmas sale that includes free gift wrapping, COVID-safe refreshments, discounts and other amenities. Can’t decide what to buy? Harrell also has gift certificates.

Madeleine Bialke, EXPAND

Madeleine Bialke, “The Accomplice”, 2019, oil on canvas.

Madeleine Bialke

Madeleine Bialke, mothers and daughters
Jennifer Nehrbass, pioneering project
Visions West Contemporary, 2605 Walnut Street
December 11th to January 23rd
Visions West closes the year with reflective looks at the historical contributions women have made to western expansion and the ways older trees bring young people to life over time. Beautiful concepts – and even more beautiful paintings.

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Senga Nengudi, EXPAND

Senga Nengudi, “Performance Piece” (detail), 1977, gelatin silver print.

© Senga Nengudi, Photo: © Harmon Outlaw

Senga Nengudi: Topologies
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
December 13th to April 11th
Admission: Included with general timed admission to a museum, free up to $ 13
The Denver Art Museum is participating in a tour de force of Colorado Springs-based, internationally known artist Senga Nengudi, who began her career in the Black American avant-garde and black arts movement of the 1970s. The show accompanies Nengudi through her forty-year-old genre hopping métier of mixing performance, found object sculpture and photography. This cannot be overlooked for fans of contemporary art and is included in the museum price.

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Susan Froyd began writing “Thrills” for Westword in 1992 and never left the group entirely. These days she still freelances the newspaper, walks her dogs, enjoys cheap ethnic food, and reads voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.