All around Denver, the vibrant energy of summer is finding a home in art galleries and museum experiences throughout the city. Denver’s art scene is rising to the occasion by breaking the rules of how traditional art and museum exhibits look and feel. Check out our guide to the must-see immersive art experiences of the season.
Where: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th St Mall, Denver
Cost: $24.99 – $29.99
The Lowdown: VERSE is a new virtual reality experience run by Enklu on the second floor of the Denver Pavilions. The VR experience immerses guests in art through headsets with audio and augmented reality displays.
The Denver experience first opened in April 2022 with VERSE – The Art of the Future, a digital art gallery displaying NFTs – non-fungible tokens – through the use of virtual reality headsets.
On June 15, The Unreal Garden opened in the same space. This experience allows guests to enter a fantastical neon garden and underwater realm full of hidden crystal gems, interactive stories, and otherworldly beings – such as a massive glowing slug. The Unreal Garden welcomes visitors of all ages over the age of five to try out their immersive experience that blurs the lines between reality and technology.
Mazes and Brain Games
Where: Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver
Cost: $14.95 for youth, $19.95 for adults
The Lowdown: At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Mazes and Brain Games exhibit also boasts a kid-friendly environment.
The traveling exhibit, which opened in May and runs through September 25, features mazes of all types and difficulty levels to engage the brain during summer break.
“It works the brain through puzzles, games, and illusions. There are even puzzles within puzzles,” said Kelsi Cowan, a program coordinator at DMNS. “We’re trying to prevent the summer slide by exercising our brains.”
Operated by Minatuar Mazes, the experience seeks to entertain every guest in a new and unique way through maze-themed artwork, finger mazes, floor mazes and a build-your-own maze section. Headlining the experience is The Maze of Illusions – a massive indoor labyrinth filled with visual illusions and dead ends.
“There’s definitely something for everyone,” said Cowan. “It’s not a traditional exhibit, but an experience. It’s more about play than big chunks of information.”
For the DMNS, this distinction is important. The museum is constantly looking at ways to change up exhibits and experiences to fit their space.
“We try to make [the exhibits] better through interactive elements like adding actors and volunteers or by localizing them to our environment,” Cowan explained. Though Mazes and Brain Games has a few more months of run time, she’s already looking forward to the DMNS’s next experience.
Denver Public Art Tours
Where: Various locations in Denver
The Lowdown: Outside of galleries and museums, immersive arts have also hit the streets of Denver in the form of Denver Public Art Tours offered through Denver Arts & Venues and the Public Arts Program. The program offers both guided and self-ran tours, including virtual art experiences and a self-guided art run from Paco Sanchez Park to the Denver Animal Shelter.
The guided tours offer insight into public art installations throughout Denver’s neighborhoods, including City Park, Golden Triangle and the 16th Street Mall. The tours run monthly throughout the summer months at 6 p.m. Tickets can be reserved on their website. Children 10 and under are free.
Other Art Experiences
Outside these experiences, the Denver area offers several other immersive events, each with its own individually unique approaches to art and culture.
THE END: A Bus Tour of Denver’s Climate Future is an equal-parts performance and educational tour of Denver’s changing climate scene. Earth Illuminated: Dark Mode, an interactive photography experience also at the Denver Pavilions, invites technology into art with colorfully neon sets designed for photo shoots.
However you want to experience art brought to life, there’s a way to do it in Denver.