Fifteen best Denver ART moments in 2011


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9. Colorado Photographic Arts Center and Working With Artists announce merger, June

As Month of Photography proves, the local community of photographers can pull a thing together. Here's a hard example of that collaborative nature at work. Now the New Colorado Photographic Arts Center and operating under the leadership of former CPAC head Rupert Jenkins, the Belmar-based enclave will serve that group in every way possible, by offering classes and well-picked exhibitions throughout the year.

8. Denver County Fair, July 28-31

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What can't one say about the Denver County Fair? Not strictly an art event, it was itself a work of art -- a come-on to all other county fairs to raise the bar to a whole new, totally contemporary and urban 21st-century level, that Dana Cain and Tracy Weil curated to a "T." A big, messy affair with a million cultural and pop-cultural references, the DCF proved not only that everything's better with a ribbon on it, but that it's good to celebrate who we really are here in Denver: We bake pies, raise goats and grow tomatoes, but we also make art and fashion, delight in life's little oddities and love to eat. This thing can go nowhere other than up. See ya'll at the fair!

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7. Thinking About Flying, MCA Denver, August-December

While Jef Otte, our defensive correspondent-in-a-jam, did famously partake in a pigeon-racing challenge to mark the opening of this clever exhibit (making him the first person to officially check out a pigeon), the real point of the "exhibit" was totally in line with the MCA's dedication to off-the-wall programming: During the project's run, museum-goers were allowed to check out pigeons and later release them for a return homing journey. As Jonathan Shikes described in advance of the show, it represented "an effort to redefine the relationship between museums -- who are the caretakers of art objects -- and their visitors." Keep it coming, MCA.

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