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Seven Colorado destinations for lovers of art

May 11, 2017
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People enter the Central City Opera House for a performance on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Think arts and culture only exist on the coasts? Think again. Colorado is rife with ways to immerse yourself in art, theater and dance.

Start your quest for enlightenment in Pueblo at Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center (sdc-arts.org). Seven galleries feature historic and contemporary works by regional and international artists. Pop into the "Sordid & Sacred: Rembrandt Van Rijn" exhibit for works by one of the better practitioners of the etching technique. Don't forget to take a peek at the public art tucked away inside Jackson Sculpture Garden.

After you've had your fill, follow U.S. 50 to Salida. The town was designated a certified creative district by Colorado Creative Industries for its dozens of artist-owned studios and galleries, including the favorite Joshua Been Gallery (joshuabeen.com).

Curtest of Aspen Art Museum 

Get back on the road and head north to Twin Lakes and then over awe-inspiring Independence Pass into Aspen. You can't miss Aspen Art Museum (aspenartmuseum.org), with its eye-catching exterior. The noncollecting institution presents international contemporary art and features a number of exhibits at any given time. Stop by Wheeler Opera House (wheeleroperahouse.com), built in 1889 and now a state-of-the-art venue that hosts nationally recognized artists.

Make tracks to Vail, where the public art collection includes more than 45 works and the Hot Summer Nights concert series features big-name acts at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (vvf.org/arts) on Tuesdays starting June 13.

Next stop is the town of Central City, where there's more than slot machines to occupy your time. Central City Opera (centralcityopera.org) will get you in touch with your inner opera diva. At least one production will be available throughout much of the summer, including "Carmen" and "Così fan tutte."

Boulder can help quench your thirst for the classics with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (coloradoshakes.org). The professional theater company will offer five separate productions throughout the summer, including "Hamlet."

A sculpture named "Wheel" by American Indian artist Edgar Heap of Birds stands in front of the Denver Art Museum Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in downtown Denver. Art museum officials have agreed to move the soil that the sculpture sits on with the creation in 2018 after news of the sculpture's removal to make way for a building renovation project sparked outrage from Heap of Birds. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 

Wrap up the trip in the Mile High City at Denver Art Museum (denverartmuseum.org), with exhibits including "The Western: An Epic in Art and Film" and "Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford." Don't forget the Museum of Contemporary Art (mcadenver.org).

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