Published: May 18, 2013
Colorado Springs is certainly no slacker when it comes to a great arts scene, but sometimes you wanna try something different.
Denver will oblige - not only with a stunning variety of options, but with the big names and top productions of music, art, dance and just about anything else you can think of in the arts.
Here's an extremely abbreviated list of must-see arts destinations in the Mile High City.
Never heard of it? Well, you're in for a treat, especially if you're a fan of Denver-based painter Vance Kirkland, Colorado artists or decorative arts - all of which stuff every inch of this quirky 11,000-square-foot museum.
Some of it was collected by Kirkland. "If I'm going to eat off of something, drink out of something or sit in something, it is going to be great design," he said.
I remember the first time I visited. Artwork hung like a puzzle, one work snuggled up against another and another and another. A case of gleaming ceramics adjacent from the most exquisite desk set from the '40s. A living room tableau from the Art Deco period not far from a room full of chairs by notable designers.
If it had been a flea market, I would have been in heaven. As it was, I enjoyed the kitchen-sink approach, which invited me into the museum's odd, obsessive world. By the way, the fragile nature of the work means that kids 13 and up are admitted and must be accompanied by a parent. "New Explorations in International Design 1878-2000" is on display this year. kirklandmuseum.org
Museum of Contemporary Art
Yes, there's a fabulous museum of record in Denver called the Denver Art Museum. You'd have to reserve at least a day to reasonably see it all. But don't forget about the MCA Denver.
In contrast to the DAM, this contemporary art museum, which was founded 17 years ago, is a non-collecting facility that thinks way outside the box. In fact, organizers consider it something of an "incubator for arts and ideas, artistic exchange and dialogue."
Plus, the building is totally cool. It even has a "Dept. of Fab." on the website for blogs and the like.
While you're there, check out the MCA's rooftop caf? which offers an excellent lunch and happy hour. From there, you can see some postcard views of downtown Denver. Through June 9, Eduardo Sarabia's "Tainted" is worth seeing. mcadenver.org
Denver Performing Arts Complex
There's nothing like having it all in one spot. This complex, which was founded in 1972, is a four-block, 12-acre site sporting 10 performance spaces that offer more than 10,000 seats. It is home to a Tony Award-winning theater company, Broadway touring productions, contemporary dance and ballet, magnificent chorales, a major symphony orchestra, an internationally acclaimed opera and more.
If you're concerned about downtown parking, the area offers a 1,700-spot parking garage on Arapahoe Street between 13th and 14th streets. Jerry Seinfeld will perform at the Buell Theatre on May 30. artscomplex.com
Curious Theatre Company
If you caught this company's joint 2012 venture with Colorado Springs' TheatreWorks, "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," you have a sense of the heights it can scale.
It's not just a one-off. In fact, Curious, which was founded 15 years ago, consistently tackles important, new and challenging works, including "How I Learned To Drive" in the company's first season, "Proof," "I Am My Own Wife" and "Bug". And it's won its share of kudos for the work, which specializes in regional and world premieres.
"God of Carnage" is featured through June 8. curioustheatre.org
Golden Triangle Museum District
Just as the Performing Arts Complex gives you everything in a nice, neat package, the Golden Triangle encompasses some of the best the city has to offer in terms of fine art, including the Denver Art Museum, Colorado History Museum, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Arts Center Theatre and more than 50 galleries, artist's studios, restaurants and stores. gtmd.org
One of the newer entries is the Clyfford Still Museum, dedicated to the work of the reclusive Abstract Expressionist.
It opened in late 2011 and represents nearly 94 percent of the artist's work, including about 2,400 works created between 1920 and 1980. The estate was sealed after his death in 1980 and many of the works hadn't been seen since.
Whether you like Still's bold use of color spanning enormous canvases, it's worth the price of admission to see the building. clyffordstillmuseum.org
Mobley-Martinez is The Gazette's A&E editor. She's lived in Colorado Springs since 2008.