Galleries are fully back to life this summer, and July’s First Friday should be off the charts, with some events off to an early start tonight.

Then the celebrations continue with shows that take full advantage of the season, from Firefly Music to building with mud to revving up with lowriders at the Denver Art Museum. Let the reveling begin!

Point and Shoot Photography Social: Thursday, July 6, 7 to 9 p.m., free
First Friday Pop-up Production Art Activation: Friday, July 7, 6 to 9 p.m., free, RSVP at Eventbrite
No Vacancy, 2550 Larimer Street
As the No Vacancy death knell approaches, its residents are preparing for the IMAC building’s demise with a kind of wild abandon. It’s a busy space this week, beginning with a Point and Shoot Photography Social led by photographer Shadows Gather, who captures the nightlife underworld with no holds barred. Shadow invited some photographer friends to hang out, talk business and wheat-paste some images in/on the building before it’s demolished sometime after July. It’s free to attend and experience the irony of creating art that will be destroyed.

On July 7, No Vacancy again opens its doors to the public for a First Friday night of resident artwork and performances. It includes a single performance of a signature production by the Denver dance collective Image en Mouvement, as well as a conglomeration of six individual performances that together tell the story of The Adventures of Captain Eon among artist-created sets. And finally, the Japanese Arts Network, in conjunction with the return this summer of its immersive adventure Zotto, will stop in for a pop-up preview of what comes next. Get there while you can.

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Jody Guralnick, “Sonoluminescence,” 2023, oil and acrylic on wood panel.

Jody Guralnick, courtesy of Michael Warren Contemporary

Kris Cox, Process
Jody Guralnick, Sweet Wild

Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, July 6, through August 5
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 6, 5 to 8 p.m.
Michael Warren opens two new summer solos by a couple of artists with separate practices that each require attention to detail. Kris Cox’s show, Process, defines the first thing you need to know about his process-heavy works in one word: The making is what Cox’s aesthetic is all about, spelled out in the heavy layering of materials, such as digital photos, wood panels, putty loaded with pigment, lead, paper treated with wax, fabric and found objects, that in unison infuse finished works with depth and translucent light. Jody Guralnick, on the other hand, addresses life-essential building blocks and the intersection of minuscule microbes, seeds and leaves in organic entwinement across the canvas.

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D’art Gallery members Carol Bivins, Emily Oldak and Vicky Smith share solo shows.

Courtesy D’art Gallery

Carol Bivins, Back in Black
Emily Oldak, OtherLands
Vicky Smith, Drift
J. Bruce Wilcox, Temple. Altar. Self, in Gallery East
D’art Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, July 6, through July 30
Opening Reception: Friday, July 14, 6 to 9 p.m.
A trio of solos by Carol Bivins, Emily Oldak and Vicky Smith have a soft opening on July 6. Bivins weighs in with a challenging series in the simplest of monochromes, using black oil paint in differing consistencies with a touch of white here and there for contrast. Oldak’s work begins as a primordial soup of paint and marks before endowing its emotive space with meaning, and ceramic artist Smith, who “paints” with clay, creates a sense of the beyond through elements of light, shadow and movement. Meanwhile, J. Bruce Wilcox sets up in Gallery East with a big show of new, self-affirming art quilts.

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Watch architect and artist Ronald Rael build the structure Mud Futures using adobe at the History Colorado Center.

Ronald Rael, courtesy of History Colorado

Ronald Rael, Mud Futures
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Friday, July 7, through Sunday, July 9

For his Mud Futures project, artist and architect Ronald Rael, who has roots in the San Luis Valley, utilizes new technology (3-D printing) and the oldest of building materials (adobe) to demonstrate what he believes to be the next big thing in urban construction. Rael will be building live on the History Colorado Center’s porch during a three-day residency, turning a tremendous pile of the clay, straw and sand mixture that produces adobe into interlocking components to form a structure. Drop by and watch him at work; after he’s gone, the finished build will remain on display at the museum.

Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Firefly Music
Friday, July 7, 8:15 p.m., and Saturday, July 8, 8:45 p.m.
Livestream via YouTube
Artist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, known for her collaborations with bees and snails, has long imagined a similar alliance with fireflies. The idea first came to her while living in Ohio, where the blinking bugs are a natural part of rural summers, unlike Colorado, where firefly colonies are rare and hard to find. But once back in Colorado, Murphy didn’t give up. She found Colorado’s fireflies, and now she’s going to make music with them, with help from experimental musician Ben Coleman. In addition to music powered by firefly flashes, theremin player Victoria Lundy will jam with the insects on July 7, and Rare Byrd$ will have the honor on July 8. You can tune in to a live broadcast via YouTube here (July 7) or here (July 8)

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The Denver Papier Mâché Club returns to Alto Gallery for a summer exhibition.

Courtesy Alto Gallery

Denver Papier Mâché Club: Summer Sequel
Alto Gallery, RiNo ArtPark, 1900 35th Street, Suite B
Friday, July 7, through July 29
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 6 to 10 p.m., RSVP here
RedLine Satellite Saturdays: Papier-mâché and printmaking workshop with the Denver Papier Mâché Club: Saturday, July 15, noon to 4 p.m., free, RSVP here

The Denver Papier Mâché Club, which normally hosts free open work sessions in RedLine’s Community Studio on the last Sunday of every month, will make a return visit—the first since before pandemic restrictions began—to show off masterpieces by a dozen or so artists this month at Alto Gallery. Club facilitators Kyra Weinkle and Steven Frost organized the show, called Summer Sequel. Beyond this weekend’s reception, Alto and artists will host a free hands-on papier mâché workshop for RedLine’s Satellite Saturday series on July 15, if you’d like to get your hands sticky.

Miguel Aguilar, “Te Quiero Fea,” 2023, oil and acrylic on canvas.

Miguel Aguilar

Miguel Aguilar, ghetto kids have dreams too
Diana Harper, Home Work
Bell Projects, 2822 East 17th Avenue
Friday, July 7, through July 30
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 6 to 10 p.m.

For Miguel Aguilar, who was raised in Southern California, graffiti art was a part of the daily landscape, with a few early murals going up, too. Street art caught his eye and finally his heart as he found a calling in art, leaving California to study at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in 2015. But his time there turned his whole art practice around, learning to use oil paint instead of spray cans and painting his culture in a style harking back to classical painting. The work in ghetto kids have dreams too, opening Friday at Bell Projects, blends the heritage of his life in the streets into a figurative painting practice. In the Living Room space, Diana Harper’s Home Work comprises a collection of hand-tufted rugs that nod both to the functional element of crafting and the higher expression of fine art. Not only is it presented in a living room setting, but viewers are expected to touch the art.

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Jordan Garelick (above) teams up with Daphne Sweet for A Taste of Reality at Lane Meyer Projects.

Courtesy Lane Meyer Projects

Jordan Garelick and Daphne Sweet, A Taste of Reality
Lane Meyer Projects, 2528 Walnut Street
Friday, July 7, through August 27
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 8 p.m. to late

Both Jordan Garelick and Daphne Sweet share freewheeling moves as artists; Garelick draws in swirling calligraphic lines alive with motion, while Sweet fills in thick female nudes and a recurring vase shape with fauvist swatches of hot color. Their contrasting styles seem to strike up an ongoing, sympatico conversation that’s both charming and deeply independent.

Polished: The “Candy Coated” Works of Sonny Valdez
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue
Friday, July 7, through August 27
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 8 p.m. to late

The McNichols Building’s first-floor gallery refills its walls on a dime with the closing of a fine Pride-related show with one focused on Chicano/Latinx pride by showcasing the abstract works influenced by the candy-coated car culture of lowriders and hot rods. The artist, Sonny Valdez, trained for these pin-striped and painted metal works as a garage owner and automotive painter; it’s not only a fine companion to the Denver Art Museum’s Desert Rider that opens a few days later, but it also coincides with the annual La Raza Park Day celebration and lowrider cruise on August 27.

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Luis Eades, “Retrospective,” 1988, oil on canvas.

Image provided by the family of Luis Eades

Luis Eades Centennial Art Exhibit
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
Friday, July 7, through Sunday, July 9
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8, 4 to 8 p.m., RSVP at Eventbrite

The late Luis Eades, born in Madrid and teaching art in the states for decades at the University of Texas and the University of Colorado, would have turned 100 this month. He started out painting in an expressionistic style, but later turned to collage-like works of color blocks interspersed with mixed imagery and references in a fusion of European and contemporary American trends. Eades’s family organized the three-day pop-up centennial show of more than thirty works at the Dairy, reaching deeply into his oeuvre by cherry-picking private collections.

Artist MG Bernard studded with plastic jewels.

MG Bernard

Unfettered Recognition, Friday, July 7, through August 18
Micah Bazant: Art of Trans Liberation, Friday, July 7, through September 29

East Window, 4550 Broadway, Suite C-3B2, Boulder
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 7 – 9 p.m.
Performance by MG Bernard: Friday, July 28, 7 to 9 p.m.

Closing Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, August 18, 7 to 9 p.m.
Two new exhibitions open Friday in conjunction with Disability Pride Month at the East Window, giving voice to the diverse yet overlooked niche of artists living and working with disabilities. Unfettered Recognition, curated by disabled, queer Boulder artist Alex Stark, showcases a handpicked group of artists creating in the Denver-Boulder region. The second show, artist Micah Bazant’s Art of Trans Liberation, is a statement supporting liberation, social justice and collaboration among queer and BIPOC factions against the wave of patriarchal majority. In addition to the opening reception Friday, East Window will host a performance by contributing artist MG Bernard on July 28, and a combined artist talk and closing reception on August 18.

Expanding Modernism, The Mutiny of Mediocrity 2023
931 Gallery, 931 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, July 7, through August 6
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Denise Demby pulled together a diverse group of fifteen familiar Denver artists interested in Modernist composition for a new iteration of Expanding Modernism, The Mutiny of Mediocrity 2023.

Solo Exhibitions: Jennifer Hope, Louis Recchia and Laura Phelps Rogers
FoolProof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
Friday, July 7, through August 19
Opening Receptions: Friday, July 7, 6 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 8, 2 to 6 p.m.
Laura Phelps Rogers pared down the newest show in FoolProof’s main gallery down to three solo exhibitions in place of a themed group show. Rogers heads the trio with a selection of her mixed-media repertoire, from sculpture to photography; Jennifer Hope will hang super-sized abstract expressionist canvases; and Recchia brings another round of his inimitable pop-culture nostalgia imagery.

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Check the skate decks by Viv Rus at Rising Gallery.

Viv Rus, Rising Gallery

Far in Between
Rising Gallery, 4885 South Broadway, Englewood
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Christian Millet opens the doors of Rising Gallery for Far in Between, another street-artist blockbuster that includes work by such names as Viv Rus, aka Virus, who’s got skate decks sporting women in Batman masks; J.M. Rizzi, with graffiti-derived paintings; Marquis De Rabbit, a jack-of-all-trades surrealist, and oh, so many other pop-art practitioners of the alleys. In addition to the art, Rising is hosting a free raffle; the winner will receive a surprise.

Pilar Beall: Las Cruces De Corazon
Bella Luna Gifts and Gallery, 2045 Downing Street
Reception: Friday, July 7, 5 to 7 p.m.
Albuquerque-based artist Pilar Beall, who paints and makes crosses, shadowboxes and other assemblage works using hollow cylinders of chola cactus wood, will stop by Bella Luna for one night only, bringing lots of new creations with her.

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Dorothy DePaulo, “Raven,” colored pencil on drafting film.

Dorothy DePaulo

Dorothy DePaulo, Yard Birds
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Lakewood
Through July 30
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 4 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 8, 2 to 5 p.m.
Dorothy DePaulo’s eye for realism breathes life into drawings of animals and botanicals, generally rendered in colored pencil on drafting film. See the next leg of her artistic journey in Yard Birds at Valkarie Gallery, an exhibition of avian imagery both painstakingly scientific and purely gorgeous.

Side Hustle Pop-Up Local Art Show
Odell Brewing, 2945 Larimer Street
Friday, Jul 7, 7 to 11 p.m.

The nine artists showing work at Side Hustle aren’t really only in it for the money. Like every other artist in town, they just want to have an audience for their artistic efforts. Cherry-picked out of fifty applicants, they are likely to have something affordable for everyone between them. Head to Odell Brewing Five Points, grab a brew, check the art and schmooze.

Allyson McDuffie, Tomboy and Old Salty
Bus Stop Gallery, 4895 Broadway, Boulder
Friday, July 7, through July 29
Opening Reception: Friday, July 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Allyson McDuffie’s story paintings for Tomboy and Old Salty are about her own discoveries while growing up a tomboy in Springfield, Ohio…and chickens. In particular, a dead chicken named Old Salty, whose body was eaten by a bear. It happens. Along the way, the narrative rambles through memories and lawn furniture, telling a mature tale through a child’s eyes. Tomboy and Old Salty opens on First Friday at Bus Stop Gallery in Boulder’s NoBo Art District.

MOV Exhibition: Cadence: Works by Vanessa Renwick
Galapago Space, 923 Galapago Street
Saturday, July 8, through July 31
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8, 5 to 9 p.m.
The garage gallery Galapago Space welcomes Month of Video’s Cadence: Works by Vanessa Renwick, a solo exhibition of two video works, “KESH” and “layover,” curated by MOV founders Adán De La Garza and Jenna Maurice. What to expect? As an example, “layover” captures a flock of Vaux’s swifts beating their wings in a cloud of murmuration around a defunct industrial chimney representing the winding down of the factory age. After the opening on Saturday, the venue will be open Sunday, July 9, from noon to 4 p.m., and Monday, July 10, through July 31, by appointment only (here).

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Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion opens at the Denver Art Museum


Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion
Hamilton Building, Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Sunday, July 9, through September 24
Lowrider Show and Shine: Sunday, July 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There’s something about the Southwest that belongs solely to its Latinx, Chicano and Indigenous denizens, something about the dusty adobe houses in rundown towns on dirt roads that invite the hardscrabble sound of wheels that can take you away. Wheels are the vehicle of freedom in the desert, deeply embedded into the culture of place. That’s the gist of the DAM’s newest exhibition, Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion, which covers both the rural and urban automotive symbolism of wheels, hot rods and lowriders in the Southwest. The show opens on a museum free day, and as if that wasn’t enough, the DAM is also hosting a free Lowrider Show and Shine out on the plaza, which might be a first in the Golden Triangle.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to [email protected].