Da Club

I enjoy drinking and I enjoy art, combine the two and I am pretty much guaranteed a good time. But I’m not much of a party boy when it comes to the Denver club scene. That being said, I had a chance to go to Westword‘s Artopia Saturday. Billed as an evening of “food, drinks, art, music, theater and fashion, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a local charity,” it was more of a clubby drinking party mixed with a little bit of art instead of vice versa. It was held at five venues: Vinyl, City Hall, Moe’s, The Living Room and Bar Standard. I had never been to Artopia before and was excited to see Denver art put into the spotlight at a huge event that benefits a good cause. I guess that is what I saw…to some extent.

I arrived and started sampling free shots, champagne and cigars (obviously already having a good time) and then continued to eat delicious cupcakes from The Shoppe (sugar quota for the week: met). After sufficiently full, perhaps a little tipsy and having acquired a spicy smoke musk, I realized that the art was probably not the true focus of the event. There was one room displaying a few artists on the second floor of Vinyl–some new work by Mark Penner-Howell, an incredibly talented artist I first encountered at the CORE gallery–and other covert art happening throughout the event like live painting. The highlight was the fashion show by local street wear company, DVLPon the roof of Vinyl. The models braved the conditions walking down the catwalk during a light dusting of snow, which seemed to be appropriate for DVLP, a company that is deeply rooted in the snowboard industry.

I didn’t make it to City Hall, but it seemed to be a typical bar night at the other three venues with some live music and DJ’s. Flashbulb Fires played a great set at Bar Standard, but I can’t say I enjoyed them more than the free subs from Snarf’s. Not only were the employee’s working at the show super friendly, but I am going on record saying that they make the best sub’s in Denver. You can quote me on that.

Overall, I had a great time, Artopia, but it was more of an art themed New Year’s Eve party rather than a typical art show. The best place to see art this past weekend was probably Group Exhibition, Part 2 at David B. Smith Gallery, which included work from 303 Magazine’s featured artist from the current art issue, Jason Thielke. The show will be up until March 20th so be sure to check it out if you missed the opening last Friday.

4 Responses

  1. George Peele

    No love for Sandi Calistro (Vinyl, 2nd Floor)? Art comes in many forms: music, confections, performance & more. Also, “typical bar nights” don’t normally include hula hoopers, a juggler and a stilt-walker (me). Maybe you should’ve checked out City Hall too;)

  2. Nicole

    Artopia should be held at the Art District and not in clubs
    It needs to turn the focus more back on art, just like Artopia started before Westword decided to buy the event and turn it commercial.
    One thing I can say is that the choice of local Music was great.

  3. Andrew

    I have plenty of love for Sandi, Rafa Jenn and the other artist showing, it was just a nice to see Mark’s work, it’s been a while and it stood out to me. This was my first Artopia, so i wasn’t sure what to expect. I had blast though! I just thought there would be more focus on the visual arts, thats all. The music, performances and the art shown was great.

  4. ST

    Great Feedback -Artopia will be in the Art District next year when it goes to a two night event, one being in the district, one being on south Broadway…with ART being integrated further into the event. Art was a focus this year and will continue to be as the event continues to evolve. The event is a mixture of all forms of art including MUSIC….Westword’s Chronicle also donated $10,000 through Matsreminds to some of Denver’s best artists in all genres.

    Again great feedback


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