Denver’s main cultural facilities — like the Denver Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art — enjoy large crowds of both locals and visitors. But the city harbors over 85 art galleries, where local, national and international artists display their talent. These are free to visit and always offer the chance to purchase a piece to start or continue your collection. The owners of these galleries often practice an artistic medium themselves and relish the opportunity to speak to visitors about the Denver art community. Many of the galleries see the most foot traffic during First Friday Art Walks, when they hand out complimentary drinks, stay open late and the artists are often in attendance. But we think some of the best times to see the art and the spaces are during the day when the natural light illuminates the art and you don’t have to compete for a front-row view.
With so many galleries, we decided to make a definitive guide, split up by neighborhood and separated by genre (plus a map). Always check the hours of operation for a gallery before visiting, as many of them close on Mondays or hold odd hours. And don’t be intimidated — visiting a gallery does not mean you should feel inclined to purchase something. Spend time perusing the works, ask questions if you have them and enjoy yourself.
*Editor’s Note: If we have missed an art gallery in this list, please let us know and we will add it. As the first resource of its kind, it might not be complete (yet) but we hope you understand our intentions are to include everyone with an operating art gallery.
As the neighborhood that has everyone buzzing on art (and craft breweries), RiNo serves as a good starting point for the guide to Denver art galleries. Aside from the wealth of street art strewn between buildings and in alleys, the area boasts quite a few indoor art spaces spanning many genres. Though it’s not as walkable as the Art District on Santa Fe, RiNo definitely attracts large crowds who are hungry for art. With the mass of breweries, distilleries, coffee shops and restaurants, an afternoon can be well-spent weaving in and out of those establishments and the following galleries.
RiNo Contemporary Art
ATC DEN: When you think of contemporary art, you’ll probably imagine the art displayed at ATC DEN. It’s colorful, abstract and can be taken very seriously or not at all. It also doubles as a killer event space, with a state-of-the-art sound system and a loft-in-the-city decor.
*Note: ATC DEN is now permanently closed
B-Spot Pop Up: This one won’t be up forever but rather serves as a temporary spot for pop-up exhibitions. Created and curated by well-known wheatpaster Koko Bayer, B-Spot is a must-see before it’s turned into something like an apartment complex.
Dateline: Small but packing a punch, Dateline does a wonderful job at showcasing local talent. As an artist-run space, they’ve gained a reputation for respecting the artistic community. They also aren’t afraid to put on some risky exhibitions that might offend people (so here’s your trigger warning).
fooLPRoof Gallery: Situated in the northern stretch of Larimer Street, next to Infinite Monkey Theorem, fooLPRoof Gallery splits its exhibitions between visiting artists and Laura Phelps Rogers’ own work. Rogers is known for recontextualizing objects — like casting iron molds of her grandmother’s purses — as well as site-specific installations both indoors and out. Her interests in sculpture, painting, jewelry and collection steer the direction of the gallery.
Lane Meyer Projects: Founded in 2014, this little tucked-away gallery in RiNo has worked at becoming a community staple in a neighborhood that constantly changes. The gallery showcases local, national and international talent — all under the umbrella of contemporary art. It’s also known for its pop-up events and regularly occurring activities like movie nights.
Millers & Rossi: Not just a contemporary art gallery, Millers & Rossi doubles as a speakeasy. Enjoy an array of sculptural work, paintings, photographs and other art in the abstract or modern genre, and then find the secret doorway into the dark and intimate bar. The cocktails in the bar are an art of their own.
RedLine Contemporary Art Center: Founded in 2008 as a nonprofit center, RedLine serves the emerging artist community with rotating artist-in-residence positions that garner a lot of attention from the community. Their studios surround the main gallery floor and have an open-door policy, where visitors are allowed to step inside and say hello to the artist or artists they admire. RedLine also gives back to the surrounding neighborhood and the city in general, with a slew of educational and beneficial programming, lectures and other events.
PlatteForum: Much like Redline, PlatteForum is a community-centric spot. They focus on connecting underserved K-12 youth with local “master artists” in “long-term creative environments.” These matchmaking campaigns bring together beginners and experts to collaboratively produce an exhibition. Through that process, PlatteForum catalyzes dialogue about what art is and can be while supporting local artists.
Station 16 Gallery: The first iteration of this gallery calls Montreal home, and it has made a name for itself as the resident street art and graffiti hot spot. Big name and infamous artists alike find representation here, and their expansion to Denver only makes sense with the burgeoning street art scene (especially in RiNo). Situated inside The Source Hotel, Station 16 is the no-brainer stop for lovers of urban art.
Visions West Contemporary: With two galleries in Montana and one in Wyoming under the same name, Visions West Contemporary focuses on art motivated by nature, animals, environmental issues and the West. Representing the Rocky Mountains means Visions West highlights many regional artists, but they also work hard at bringing international names to the area. The Denver gallery represents over 60 artists.
Plinth Gallery: A venue dedicated to contemporary ceramic art, Plinth Gallery doubles as a live-work space for artists. With the emphasis on ceramic art, Plinth also offers education and extensive outreach for interested ceramic artists. The gallery itself is intimate with exhibitions that showcase both functional and sculptural work. It’s definitely the place for ceramic fanatics, but who doesn’t like seeing a finely crafted piece of pottery?
Weilworks: Owned and operated by Tracy Weil, Weilworks boasts three stories of exhibition space including a 1,000 square feet ground floor gallery, with regular exhibitions and events. Along with showcasing primarily Weil’s abstract paintings — thick with rich and distinctly colored paint — the gallery finds time to display emerging and well-known artists as well.
RiNo Traditional Art
m. Romero Gallery: Only coming into the scene in 2017, m. Romero Gallery serves as the most recent display setting for well-known portrait artist Michael Romero. Based in Aspen, Romero has been painting portraits in the US and Costa Rica for 40 years. The gallery in RiNo highlights art with a connection to local and global social issues.
William Matthews Gallery: Known best for his watercolor paintings that depict the American West — from working cowboys to plein air landscapes — William Matthews’ work can be seen in a variety of other galleries, museums and buildings (like the Colorado Convention Center). But if you want to dedicate an hour or two of browsing solely through his work, visit his studio and gallery in RiNo. You’ll find paintings, posters, prints, books and more.
Helikon Gallery & Studios: Sometimes overlooked by art-seekers in RiNo, Helikon Gallery offers two exhibition galleries on the ground floor and dozens of artist studios throughout. On First Fridays, most of the resident artists hang out in their studios so visitors can ask questions, commend their talent or chat over a free beer. Because so many artists are involved at Helikon, the genres range from photographic to digital to paint and many in between.
*Note: Helikon is closing permanently at the end of 2019
Studios on Blake: With a mixture of studios, this spot falls into the general category because a stop here will open you to a variety of mediums and practices. Always open on First Fridays, Studios on Blake currently holds 14 artist studios, including Laura Krudener (owner of ATC DEN), Acorn Bookbinding, Calvin Lee, Tim Mooney and more.
2520 LAR – A gallery dedicated mostly to the work of multi-disciplinary artist Brian Trybus, 2520 LAR showcases his photographic art, motion sculptures and Mid-Mod furniture designs. From time to time, the gallery also exhibits work from other local artists who have a modern aesthetic or are designers.
Globeville Riverfront Art Center (GRACe): Home to over 80 artists and other creative entrepreneurs who work in studios of varying sizes, GRACe also showcases the work of said artists in a 1,800 square feet gallery space. You’ll have to find the whole complex first, which sits behind a recycling scrap yard. Think of it as a special entrance into a creative haven. The gallery can be viewed at any time during operating hours. While you’re visiting the gallery, make sure to peek into a studio or two to have the full experience.
The Temple: Coined as a “contemporary artist haven” The Temple is placed in the general category because it serves as more than a space for contemporary art. It’s a place for affordable artist studios, workshop facilities and workspace for other creative endeavors. Plus, The Temple was built in a historical landmark, preserving the piece of neighborhood heritage while supporting local artists (especially the starving kind). PlatteForum, Processus and Denver Zine Library share the space with The Temple as well.
Processus: Though the main goal of Processus hinges on providing the right tools and equipment to artists (like darkrooms, woodshops and printmaking machines) they also represent artists through events and exhibitions throughout the year. A trip to one of these exhibitions also exposes you to the open workspace setting and First Fridays are more akin to studio tours than gallery visits.
Moving into Downtown Denver, the galleries in this area tend to favor a more sophisticated palate. Though there are a few establishments that adhere to the lower or mid-level budget range, most of us will just be looking at the art and not buying here. But that’s okay because the LoDo galleries provide a powerhouse of international, national and regional artists that are sure to impress and inspire.
LoDo Contemporary Art
Robischon: Classy and classic, Robischon Gallery seems like it should fit into the traditional category until you see that the art is always a little edgy. They present a great variety of mediums and their display design is always impeccable. But, expect to see pretty dense price tags on anything here, so it’s more for voyeurs or serious art collectors.
Emmanuel Gallery: Since 1973, Emmanuel Gallery works hard at displaying both Colorado artists and international ones. It operates as a nonprofit art space — which may partly account for its longevity — and often hosts lectures and educational workshops. The building, built in 1876 (one of Denver’s oldest church structures) is even more historic than the gallery itself.
Dikeou Collection: Owned and operated by the well-known artist Devon Dikeou and her brother Pany, Dikeou Collection serves as a brick-and-mortar extension of zingmagazine. The Downtown Denver location (there’s also one on Colfax) serves as a place where over 30 international artists are showcased, their works collected by Devon.
Knew Conscious: Artistic hub by day, intimate musical venue by night. Knew Conscious operates as a collective of artists (membership starts at only $10 per month) who inspire and support each other while furthering the mission of contemporary art in the city in general. Note: this is currently closed but the space aims to reopen this year.
Tansey Contemporary: Part contemporary, part fine art, Tansey Contemporary displays art that usually serves another function as well. Pieces like ceramic vases, glassware and fiber art often make an appearance. Paintings, sculptures and other more abstract work also find their way in, giving the gallery a well-rounded feel. There’s a little bit of everything in this space, making it a good stop for a mixed group.
David B. Smith Gallery: Since 2007, David B. Smith Gallery commits itself to dynamic exhibitions with timely content and an intelligent slant. With a growing international reputation (and a mention in The New York Times) the gallery doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The open floor plan allows for some highly conceptual shows. In addition to the curation side of the gallery, it also publishes exhibition catalogs and prints.
LoDo Traditional Art
David Cook Fine Art: A historic art gallery, David Cook Fine Art specializes in American paintings from the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Focusing on early Western American subject matter, landscapes, historic paintings and prints, the gallery is the best place to find that classic look. The gallery also concentrates on artists who come from the Broadmoor Art Academy, the Chappell House (forerunner to the Denver Art Museum), the Taos Society and the Santa Fe Art Colony.
1261/Abend/K Contemporary: Grouped together, these three galleries recently made the move to Wazee Street in Downtown Denver because rents were too high to be on their own elsewhere. But teaming up already proves to be a great idea. Not only do visitors who are interested in one type of art typically see another while visiting, the gallery owners and artists have bigger networks now too. Gallery 1261 focuses on more traditional styles of art — you’ll see a lot of oil paintings there. K Contemporary, as the name suggests, thrives on new, innovative and emerging artists. And Abend sits somewhere in the middle, showcasing both.
Incredible Art Gallery: Providing licensed artwork from Disney, LucasFilms, Marvel and DC Comics, this is the one-stop-shop for fans of movies, comic books and other fantasy art. And yes, they have a Star Wars collection. They also have connections with artists who can create original commissioned pieces for whatever suits your fancy.
Understudy: Coming into the art scene in 2017, Understudy exists in a little annex of the Colorado Convention Center. Exploring unique concepts and groundbreaking art, the “incubator” — as they like to be called — sits high on the list of must-sees in Denver. Exhibitions rotate monthly and local artists are often spotlighted.
Cooper + Dash: At first, Cooper + Dash appears as a gift shop — albeit, the gifts are unique, colorful and perfectly arranged so as to appear artistic — but behind the storefront, there is a small art gallery. Artists have rotated through this space for the last two years, showcasing in various mediums and always in a similar vein as the accessories in the store. Since visitors to this store are often in the mood to buy when they walk in, displaying affordable and original local art is a brilliant way to make that art even more appealing to the public.
As the old school urban neighborhood in Denver, Cap Hill’s galleries aren’t afraid to travel to the artistic brink because the crowds who frequent them show no fear in the face of edgy creativity. Almost all of them are categorized as contemporary, though their focal points differ drastically. Some of these are within walking distance to the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum and Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, making this an ideal destination for out-of-towners or infrequent art gallery-goers.
*Note for simplicity purposes, we have grouped galleries near Capitol Hill into this category. Some of the galleries technically reside in areas like the Golden Triangle and Hale neighborhoods located right outside Capitol Hill. For more a more detailed neighborhood break down, please refer to the above map.
Capitol Hill Contemporary Art
Leon Gallery: Somewhat of a hidden gem, Leon Gallery offers a nice array of emerging and mid-career artists. This is where you’ll see artists before they exhibit at the Denver Art Museum or other big cultural institutions. Often, the gallery offers live music events in coordination with their art exhibits or in addition to. Every month they also host a literary reading series produced by Spring Gun Press.
Dikeou Pop-up: A sister (or daughter) gallery of the Dikeou Collection in Downtown, the pop-up on East Colfax serves as an even more innovative space for contemporary art. Featuring gallery spaces both on the ground level and in a basement, Dikeou pop-up lends a powerful hand to the advancement of modern art in Denver.
Walker Fine Art: With a 3,800 square feet gallery space, Walker Fine Art enjoys plenty of room for exhibiting artists. They operate on a seven-week rotating schedule of themed shows, with international, regional and local artists. No allegiance to a certain medium exists here, so expect anything from photography to printmaking to sculpture and more.
Goodwin Fine Art: Located within two blocks of the Denver Art Museum, Goodwin Fine Art specializes in contemporary art of all mediums and all budgets. They change their exhibits every six weeks and offer a large selection of work from resident artists that can be purchased, viewed or presented at any time. Director Tina Goodwin also appraises art with experience in the art world for over 30 years.
Sandra Phillips Gallery: A gallery aimed at providing collectors and enthusiasts with a “regular” place to shop and view established artists from the region and nation, Sandra Phillips displays painting, sculpture, photography and ceramics. With ample natural lighting and big walls, the gallery showcases many different styles of art in a beautiful way. Sandra Phillips is also an art historian in Denver, sharing her expertise and knowledge through her faculty position at the University of Colorado.
William Havu Gallery: Originally established in Aspen in 1973, William Havu Gallery has been in Denver since the early ’90s. The artists displaying work and represented by the gallery tend to be mid-career or well-known. With seven exhibitions a year focusing on national and international trends in realism and abstraction, the gallery offers a current perspective on some of the best art to purchase in the state.
Capitol Hill General
Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC): This is the only nonprofit center dedicated to the art of photography in Denver. Since 1963, CPAC provides resources for photographers and showcases photographic art to the public. With somewhere between seven and 10 exhibitions each year, the center highlights photographers at the height of their talent. It also serves as an educational space — with workshops, dedicated faculty and a darkroom and digital lab.
Art Gym: Another shared workspace, Art Gym offers $100/month memberships for a variety of artists — from printmakers to metalsmiths to dancers to painters and more —and also boasts two galleries to showcase work. The front gallery hosts several exhibitions a year, sometimes from resident artists. Recently, Art Gym opened another gallery, behind the printmaking equipment, called the Common Space Gallery. In addition to viewing art, visitors to Art Gym can also enjoy the experience of watching artists use technical machines in the open-spaced floorplan between the two galleries.
Art District on Santa Fe
There’s almost no doubt that the Art District on Santa Fe takes the cake for sheer density of art galleries. First Fridays throughout the year (even when there’s snow falling) bring throngs of people to the district, where crowds fill the sidewalks and people of all ages spill out of galleries that stay open late and serve free beer and wine. Food trucks also grace the streets, offering art viewers a nice reprieve from all the looking and walking. Heavy on contemporary art, the district also provides a few traditional options and more Latino/Chicano culture than other areas. Don’t forget to check out the street art in this area as well, especially in the alley between Santa Fe and Inca Street.
Sante Fe Contemporary Art
910 Arts: Situated in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, 910 Arts serves as a haven for visual and performing arts, as well as a stop for coffee and fun gifts. With studios, live/work lofts and a handful of galleries, the conglomeration lives and breathes creativity. Find Abecedarian Gallery here, which showcases fine paper arts (that you have to see to understand), or make an appointment with Flora By Nora, who customizes floral designs for any occasion. And those are just a few of the options.
Artists on Santa Fe : This nicely-lit locale offers a fine selection of art from multiple artists at once, with special exhibitions sometimes showcasing a single artist. You’ll find jewelry, ceramics, painting and other mixed media here regularly. Denver artists are highlighted here, perhaps marking the studios and gallery as a mainstay more than galleries searching for national talent. They also have artist studios, with roughly five to 10 resident studio artists at once.
Artwork Network: Founded in 2004 as an “art rotation” business, Artwork Network has been a mainstay on Santa Fe ever since. Alan Kircher started the business after a career in the banking industry, realizing the traditional gallery model was not working. Soon, Artwork Network will lose their brick-and-mortar building but have plans to remain online as an artistic stock exchange.
*Note: this has moved to an online-only marketplace
Access Gallery: Formerly known as VSA Colorado (Very Special Arts), Access Gallery provides much-needed educational programming and exhibition space for artists with disabilities in Denver. Though it started as a space to serve exclusively “youth” with disabilities, it has now grown to a space that nurtures those individuals beyond their high school years. Each exhibition showcases work from various artists working with Access Gallery, with everything available for purchase for a good price and a good cause. Owner Damon McLeese serves as an essential resource in the gallery and for the artists involved and is open and honest with any questions you may have.
BitFactory: With a modern, edgy vibe, BitFactory Gallery solely focuses on visual arts. They also have a handful of artist studios where resident artists are encouraged to collaborate and work together. Usually well-trafficked during First Fridays, BitFactory also participates in “The Art of Brunch” where complimentary brunch bites add motivation for people to look at the current exhibitions at galleries along the Art District on Santa Fe.
Boxcar Gallery: Artist owned and operated for a decade, Boxcar serves as a place for both emerging and established talent. Located right in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, it’s a must-see during your First Friday stroll. It’s also known for being affordable, approachable and low key.
Center for Visual Art: Serving as the off-campus gallery for Metropolitan State University in Denver, the Center for Visual Art (CVA) exposes students to leading modern artists and also displays their work from time-to-time. Though its role as an artistic laboratory for MSU students ranks high on the priority list, the center also showcases significant contributions to contemporary art for anyone who wants to visit.
Core New Art Space: Dedicated to fostering a close-knit artistic community that is both non-judgemental and competitive, Core New Art Space is always upping their game with each new exhibition. Membership to Core offers a network to discover opportunities in Denver’s creative community and comes with over 25 years of experience. As a nonprofit organization, Core is more about the artists than making money on the artists.
Michael Warren Contemporary: Owned by Mike and Warren (hence the name), this gallery showcases work that speaks personally to the duo. Anything from colorful abstract masterpieces to contemplative sculptures. The couple also specializes in consulting services with ArtLook and often find the perfect piece for interested buyers.
SPACE Gallery: Exhibitions at SPACE Gallery pivot on new and innovative surface-treatment techniques as well as abstract and contemporary art. With pretty regular changes in exhibitions, SPACE is always offering a varied perspective via many mediums. Two floors offer twice as much gallery space, and as the name implies, there is plenty of room to stand back and enjoy the art. They have no exclusivity with who they represent or display and so you can expect to see emerging, mid-career and established artists, sometimes comingled.
Spark Gallery: Founded in 1979, and according to them, the oldest artist cooperative in Denver, Spark Gallery highlights its member artists the most. With Member Shows, Supporting Members’ Shows and at least one juried or open call show, Spark is highly loyal to its resident artists and provides a solid and consistent foundation for their careers. The North Gallery is open to members of the public (or nonmember artists) who want to display their work.
Sync Gallery: Presenting 12 exhibitions each year, Sync Gallery has been operating strongly in the Art District on Santa Fe since 2009. Also an artist cooperative, Sync holds 20 spots for artist members, all of whom are represented in the gallery during their membership. Each month for the exhibitions two member artists share the limelight in the front gallery while the remaining artists share the space in the back.
RULE Gallery: Housed in a small building, RULE Gallery tends to suck you in once you’re inside. Expertly curated exhibitions push the boundaries of art in Denver, sometimes even bordering on risky and risqué. This gallery was the first home to the “Wish You Were Her/e” neon sign by Denver artist Scott Young (a piece that had a stint on the top of the MCA too).
Mai Wyn Fine Art: Both a gallery and working studio of Denver artist Mai Wyn Schantz, Mai Wyn Fine Art showcases regional talent as well as Mai Wyn Schantz’s own paintings on stainless steel. Light and airy, the gallery feels more comfortable with the addition of furniture and working stations, easels and other studio-based tools.
Niza Knoll Gallery: Focused on conceptual art, Niza Knoll Gallery is big on entertaining and engaging the public. With a heavy emphasis on First Fridays, monthly salons, private concerts and guest speakers, the gallery feels welcoming to art lovers of all degrees.
701 Gallery: Just off Santa Fe Drive, a little art gallery provides a perfect home to Colorado emerging artists. Curated, directed and founded by Todd Duane Miller, 701 Gallery has served as a steady heartbeat for all kinds of contemporary art, mostly due to Miller’s community advocacy and passion for supporting the arts and artists. As it may be fitting in Denver, 701 Gallery highlights glass artists and Miller also has a habit of painting the back wall of the gallery with different murals — making this a great stop for lovers of alternative arts.
*Note: This gallery is closing permanently
Sante Fe Traditional Art
Donna Lovely Fine Art: Dedicated to the art of just one artist — Donna Lovely — this gallery may surprise viewers with its diversity. Lovely uses primarily watercolors and sumi-e ink, producing paintings that express movement and energy. Some are figurative and others are more realistic. Lovely also studies Chinese brush painting under Shanghai-born artist and master calligrapher, Yunn Pann — an experience that shows in most of her work.
Grace Gallery Fine Art: Touted as an “art gallery and urban patio,” Grace Gallery presents three floors of art and events every month. Their “urban patio” includes a wishing well fountain and enough space to hang out during the warmer months. Mainly, catch the most art and artists on First Fridays and for Third Friday Collector’s Night. Expect to see landscape paintings, some abstract paintings, photography and a few other mediums. Everything is displayed salon-style.
Sante Fe General
Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Gallery: This serves as the mainstay for Chicano/Latino art in Denver, with vibrant and diverse works that show off the culture.
Kanon Collective: Artist-owned and operated, Kanon Collective uses its gallery space to display the work of local artists. All profits from art sales go entirely to the artist responsible, making this a great choice for supporting local talent and keeping it around. Because the artists are in charge, the exhibitions differ in style and organization depending on the artist displaying. Typically, Kanon Collective showcases colorful and contemporary art, though the mediums are always changing.
Denver Art Society Cooperative: The goal of Denver Art Society centers on bolstering a creative community for people of all ages. With open public discussions on topics like local opportunities, upcoming events and general announcements (or complaints), artists or art lovers are encouraged to attend and join in on the dialogue. This is a great place to start for emerging art-lovers who are intimidated by the more serious galleries.
Prism Workspaces: Not located directly on Santa Fe but near enough to include in the neighborhood, Prism Workspaces house 62 individual “creative units” that are studios for a big variety of artistic mediums. For artists, Prism stays open 24 hours. As a visitor though, you can stop by during regular business hours to see work from many different artists — including furniture designers, fashion designers, painters, light and technology experts and more. First Fridays offer the prime time to visit Prism and meet the most artists.
In an area known for punk bars, thrift stores and restaurants, the galleries of South Broadway shine. Perhaps it’s because they have less competition than RiNo or Art District on Santa Fe, but whatever the reason, each of these spots is a must-see for die-hard locals. Stop by during an opening reception to see each gallery packed to the brim, or stop in on a calm weekday afternoon and talk with the owners or docents.
South Broadway Contemporary Art
Gildar Gallery: Started in 2012, Gildar Gallery works hard to cultivate careers of emerging contemporary artists, as well as maintaining the power of historical figures in art. Though the curatorial efforts of Adam Gildar are often impactful, the gallery reaches out to other curators and galleries to bolster their exhibitions occasionally. Gildar Gallery might be small (expect under 30 works to be shown at any given time), but the art tends to hold heavy messages and big dreams.
Black Book Gallery: Tom Horne and Will Suitts founded Black Book Gallery in 2010 and it has grown into one of the most popular contemporary galleries in Denver. The relationships Horne and Suitts create with artists, both local and national, provide a consistency that is often missed in galleries who don’t have resident artists or studios. Most of the exhibitions at Black Book Gallery do a commendable job at selling the art, and more than once an opening reception has nearly sold out of pieces before the night is over.
Melon Gallery: Owned and operated by artists Annie Carlson and Victor Machado, Melon Gallery doubles as a live-in space. Rotating exhibitions feature contemporary artists in solo and group format.
Cabal Gallery: Owned by Mar Williams, Joshua Finley and Corrina Espinosa, Cabal is a place to find and appreciate underground art that embodies the spirit of South Broadway. Since 2014, this DIY space has given a platform for underrepresented artists in Denver.
South Broadway Traditional Art
Barbara Froula Collection: Appealing to those who love history, architecture and the landscape of cities, Barbara Froula’s paintings depict her travels and love of different places around the country and world. Her Denver collection includes paintings of the skyline as well as specific areas in the city.
Open Press.: A studio for printmakers, Open Press also serves as a space to showcase the printmakers both emerging and established. Started by master printmaker Mark Lunning almost 30 years ago, the gallery and studio have seen hundreds of artists throughout the years. It’s a no-brainer to stop by for those interested in the art of printmaking.
South Broadway General
Lowbrow: Primarily an art supply store, Lowbrow also occasionally displays art in a gallery setting. As a supply store, Lowbrow sells an eclectic and downright fun bunch of goods, including graffiti supplies, collectible art toys, coloring books, pins and more. It’s worth a visit just to see what’s available (and made by local artists).
Art Students League of Denver: Modeled after the Art Students League of New York, ASLD primarily serves as an educational facility, with students learning from nationally and regionally-recognized artists who are masters of their craft. ASLD believes that art is for everyone and welcomes anyone as a “student.” Currently, over 900 students a month participate at ASLD with over 200 artists teaching and helping out. ASLD often partners with other creative institutions in town to put on exhibitions in their gallery space.
Dicronix: Specializing in functional glass, Dicronix also provides a nice (and heady) selection of original art and decorative glass. Expect to see pieces made with watercolors and other traditional paint mediums and also be prepared to encounter more alternative art styles, like wood burning.
Even though it’s on the west side of I-25, the Highlands neighborhood should not be missed when scouting Denver art galleries. In fact, galleries in this area seem to close as quickly as they open, so it’s imperative to show them some love. However, a few gems have remained in business and thriving, offering affordable and high-quality art. Since you won’t be able to walk between them, make sure to stop by the many delightful Highlands restaurants, bars or coffee shops to reward yourself for supporting the arts.
Highlands Contemporary Art
The Crown Collection Gallery: Ryan Rehbock started The Crown Collection in 2011 as a way to shed light on a personal passion of his. With a heavy emphasis on one-of-a-kind gems and minerals — both specimens and jewelry made with them — he also features paintings, photographs, functional glass, sculptures, clothing and more. Most of the art he showcases come from artisans, which means most of the pieces are functional in some way (more than hanging on a wall). Everything in the gallery verges on psychedelic and definitely fulfills any cosmic cravings.
Zip 37 Gallery: A co-op gallery with 16 artist members, Zip 37 Gallery consistently offers affordable art. The 16 members rotate exhibitions every three weeks throughout the year in the main gallery space. But, a visit to Zip is not complete without a peek into The Back Room, where all 16 artists are continually showcased. This is where the most affordable art is found at Zip and possibly in the general area.
R2 Gallery & Studio: As Ryan Rice states on his website, “my artwork can be seen in many of the renowned galleries and museums worldwide — granted you have a computer and internet connection.” That’s true, but R2 Gallery & Studio offers a first-hand look at the artist’s work in an exclusive setting. His pieces are nearly photorealistic, but with a mood that lends itself to comic books and graphic design. He’s also fond of portraiture and specifically of painting famous people in humorous or beautiful situations.
Alto Gallery: Opened in 2016, Alto Gallery is the visual headquarters for the artist group Birdseed Collective (headed by well-known Denver street artist Anthony Garcia Sr.). “Alto” means “high” in Spanish — a reference to the Mile High City and to “the heights for which we strive” according to the website. Birdseed Collective’s mission is to serve Denver’s urban communities with art programming, entrepreneurship and food drives. These missions are often reflected in the art showcased at the gallery.
Highlands Traditional Art
Westward Gallery: Located on the corner of 44th and Tennyson Street, Westward Gallery displays up to 12 artists in their vast gallery space, all with the Colorado lifestyle in mind. Owners Patti Klapish and Michelle Courier treat the gallery as a passion project, with Klapish serving as the art collector and lover and Courier as the resident artist. Courier’s paintings are well-sought after, even outside of Colorado. The duo also help homeowners and interior designers choose the right piece for a space with consulting services.
Tarazzovo Gallery: Another single-artist gallery, Tarazzovo showcases the reclaimed custom art of Colorado native, Brett Matarazzo. His pieces come from reclaimed wood furniture, clothing and other sources. Coining his style as “vintage original” Matarazzo fulfills that label with an aesthetic both unique and familiar. Find one-of-a-kind furniture, wood art, wearable art and other surprising and well-executed creations.
For the finest tastes, Cherry Creek offers galleries focusing on collectors. These galleries fit in nicely alongside the higher-end shopping options in the area. Most of the employees at these galleries will be able to help serious collectors with their decisions and purchases, whereas other neighborhoods center their artistic community around exhibitions and public receptions. Most of these options are within walking distance to each other.
Cherry Creek Contemporary Art
Gallery M: Almost exclusively advertised to serious art collectors, Gallery M has graced Cherry Creek with fine art and sculptures since 1996. They were also one of the first galleries in the area to start selling online. With in-house specialists, Gallery M makes it their priority to find the perfect piece of art for anyone interested in buying.
Clayton Lane Fine Arts: Displaying artwork from over 50 international and regional artists, Clayton Lane Fine Arts specializes in realism, abstraction and impressionistic styles.
Cherry Creek Traditional Art
Cherry Creek Art Gallery: Featuring only Colorado artists, Cherry Creek Art Gallery provides a local place to appreciate local art. Most of the styles rely heavily on that well-known Colorado scenery, though you’ll also find some contemporary sculpture and abstraction as well.
Saks Galleries: Family owned and operated for 50 years, Saks Galleries showcases oils, watercolors and bronzes from the 19th to 21st Centuries. With a strong emphasis on American Western art, the gallery often includes work from Native Americans such as weaving, jewelry and pottery. Saks Galleries hosts several one artist shows each year, where well-established artists who fit into the general theme of the gallery display work. This spot is a good place to stop by if you are interested in history as well, as it’s been a Denver art gallery since 1957.
Masters Gallery: Including both traditional and contemporary art in their collection, Masters Gallery is a place to find art for your home or business more than it is a place to peruse up-and-coming artists. Only established artists show work here and the employees focus their attention on helping curate collections rather than exhibitions.
Cherry Creek Other
Fascination Street Fine Art and Frame: No boundaries exist at Fascination Street Fine Art — you’ll see everything from traditional still life to pop art. With over 25 years of experience in the art world, the gallery and framing shop does not have the same exclusivity principle that many galleries live by, making it a great place to start for beginner art lovers.
Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery: Showcasing the incredible nature photographs by Thomas Mangelsen, this brick-and-mortar location offers over 100 limited edition artist proofs and other valuable pieces, in a variety of display options.
Gallerie Rouge: Unlike any other art gallery in the city, Gallerie Rouge only sells and showcases vintage European posters. These posters (mostly advertorial) come in styles ranging from Art Deco to Art Nouveau to Avant Garde and more. The subject matter is even more varied, with food and beverage, travel, entertainment, sports and even some from wars.
Arts at Denver: If you want to get your Colorado fix, look no further than Arts at Denver. The wonder and scenic beauty of the state are represented by fine paintings, plus there are over 30 Colorado-based artists showcased. They bring their style to a variety of different paintings, including still lifes, portraits and animals.
Sand Dollar Studio & Gallery: Established in 1975 by now-owner Nancy Condit and her father William Condit, Sand Dollar Gallery showcases watercolors, porcelain, jewelry and photo cards. All of these are made by Nancy, who shares her love of art through workshops and classes.
Gallery 1505: Coined as a “late night art gallery,” this spot has a little of every medium, from jewelry and ceramics to fine paintings and prints. They’re dedicated to supporting local artists at all points in their career.
And because it doesn’t fit into any neighborhood…
Black Cube Nomadic Gallery: Curated and organized by Cortney Stell, Black Cube Nomadic Gallery is exactly what it sounds like — a traveling art space. Some of the exhibits are shown in established galleries, but sometimes the exhibits happen in places like empty dirt parking lots (the Drive-In Series). Stell’s keen eye for artistic talent shows in her ability to find emerging artists and make people pay attention to them. Black Cube opened a headquarters space in 2019 that sometimes acts as a gallery space.