Year-round sunshine, an array of world-class golf courses, and a number of nightlife venues are just some of the features and attractions that make the desert city of Phoenix such a popular destination, both for those who live there and for the large number of visitors who come to Arizona’s capital city each year in search of fun and adventure.
At the center of this urban activity is the downtown area, a busy hub of commerce, arts and culture that has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years with the addition of several new mixed-use commercial buildings that feature a diverse mix of stores and restaurants. For those keen to check out some of the area’s lesser-known attractions, we’ve compiled a list of downtown Phoenix’s most unique spots.
Late Works: Clifford Steele in Maryland
A new exhibition at the Clifford Still Museum surveys the artist’s late work after he moved to rural Maryland in 1961. It marks a period of prosperity for Steele; he produced more than 375 oil paintings and more than 1,100 works on paper in Maryland until his death in 1980 at the age of 75. The exhibition includes approximately 40 oil paintings and 30 works on paper. It also represents the culmination of a nearly 10-year inventory, research, and conservation project that unfolded, catalogued, and extended many of the later works in this museum, mostly for the first time.
Location: Clifford Still Museum, Denver Dates: September 18, 2020 – February 21, 2020
Brave Women, Changing History
As women’s rights issues continue to make waves in the political, cultural and social spheres, this timely exhibition aims to highlight Colorado women’s struggle for suffrage and fairness – a struggle that led to the state becoming the first in the United States to extend voting rights beyond men. With topics ranging from grassroots organizing to the influence of the news media and the impact of racism in political advocacy, visitors will gain a fresh perspective on the importance and power of voting rights.
Colorado Women’s History Place Center, Denver Dates: March 7, 2020 – February 28, 2020
Process and Printing
Process and Print takes an in-depth look at the process used to create fine art prints for review. This exhibition features selections from the Kirkland Museum’s permanent collection, including original printing plates, study drawings, and printing equipment. Associate Curator Christopher Herron has selected a group of lithographs, intaglio, relief prints, and screen prints created by Colorado and local artists to showcase the wide variety of images created using these methods.
Location: Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Arts, Denver through 2020
What’s Excavated is Yours
In an effort to preserve and interpret the rich mining history of Colorado and the American West, the Western Museum of Mining has curated a fascinating exhibition that invites visitors to discover the challenges and dangers faced by early miners. Featuring an immersive mine walk, the exhibit forces you to marvel at the brave ingenuity of Chilean miners’ rescue pods while learning about the ongoing significance of mining in our daily lives.
Location of the Western Museum of the Mining Industry, 2020 Colorado Springs
The Art of the Brick
Legos may be considered the preserve of children, but one artist challenges that notion by giving these iconic toys an adult and incredibly creative twist. Renowned contemporary artist Nathan Savaya has recreated some of art’s and culture’s masterpieces with Legos, such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Venus de Milo. Other highlights include a life-size sculpture of a man with thousands of yellow Legos spewing from his chest and a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton made up of 80,000 Legos.
Location: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism
Featuring more than 150 works by renowned artists Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Gunther Guezso, María Izquierdo, Carlos Merida, and others, this exhibition delves into the role of national identity and the emergence of a creative spirit after the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920. The exhibition pays special attention to important women artists of the period, including 20 paintings and drawings by Frida Kahlo that are inspired by personal experience, Mexican folk art, and a worldview often referred to as magical realism.
Location: Denver Art Museum Dates: October 25, 2020 – January 24, 2021
Railroads and the American Industrial Landscape
The railroad played a key role in the history of Central America, inspiring some of the most talented and important artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Ted Ross. Ross produced many striking black and white photographs of the 20th century American industrial landscape. For this exhibition, the Center for the Art of Railroad Photography and the Colorado Railroad Museum have joined forces to present a wide variety of the artist’s photographs, as well as a selection of watercolors and other works.
Location: Colorado Railroad Museum, prime time through December 31, 2020
Citizenship: A Social Practice
In 2016, in response to growing political tensions in the United States and around the world, a group of artists began creating a series of artworks in response to specific political crises, such as the opioid epidemic and the battle for clean water supplies in Flint, Michigan. This fall, some of these works, along with some new commissions, have been collected and turned into an exhibition that demonstrates how artists can play the role of citizens by inspiring civic engagement and debate.
Location: Denver Museum of Contemporary Art Dates: October 2, 2020 – February 14, 2021
Mental Health: Psychological Issues
This groundbreaking exhibition aims to build a deeper understanding of the importance of mental health and to encourage dialogue around mental illness. Hands-on experiences throughout the exhibition are designed to bring visitors closer to the facts, feelings and issues surrounding this topic that touches so many aspects of our lives. Visitors can view miniature dioramas of significant moments in the history of mental health, play a quiz to test their knowledge of a list of common misconceptions about mental illness, and hear about the experience of mental illness.
Location Fort Collins Discovery Museum Dates October 3, 2020 to January 10, 2021
The Big Picture from the Universe
Featuring abstract paintings by American artist John Torreano, this exhibition transports viewers into the mysteries and wonders of the universe through images from the Hubble Space Telescope.In the early 1970s, Torreano discovered plastic gems, wooden balls, paint and plywood while walking in New York City, and in this exhibition, these trinkets are used to capture the universe as one reflect light and change as they move around them.
Location Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art Dates September 3, 2020 to January 17, 2020