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"Arts District" is an entertaining and imaginative weekly arts program from Rocky Mountain PBS that collects and curates some of the best art stories from across the country, including right here in Colorado.

Thursdays at 7:30pm • Fridays at 2pm • Sundays at 10:30pm

April 18

The world premiere of ‘Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: The Musical,’ is being staged at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts from April 5th  to May 26th.  It’s the classic tale of romance, wit, gossip and high society-  all designed for a modern audience - even the costumes were fashioned by a project runway all star. Jane Austen’s classic novel is being brought to life with the musical stylings of Jeffery Haddow and Neal Hampton. Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Sense and Sensibility combines unforgettable songs with Austen’s wit. The Denver Center Theater Company performs the classic tale of the Dashwood sisters as they experience romance, heartache, gossip and everything that goes with high society following the death of their father. 

Denver artist HEIDI JUNG has been creating artwork for as long as she can remember. Her lifelong love of nature and insects has serves as her inspiration and subject matter for her work. Trained as a photographer, Jung brings her experience from the dark room to her work, which often resembles daguerreotypes. Jung maintains an active studio at Ironton Studios, where she works with charcoal, ink and vellum materials to create her pieces. Her solo exhibition at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, titled Black and White, opens on April 4th and closes on May 5th

Award winning harmonica virtuoso JOE POWERS has toured the world, playing a variety of musical genres including tango, classical, blues, and jazz. His most recent CD, Just Duet! can be purchased online at his website. While Powers does not have any upcoming tour dates, live jazz performances abound in DenverNorthern Colorado and remember, you can always get your jazz fix by tuning into the public radio station, Jazz 89, KUVO.

Where others see items as junk or trash, artist RICHARD BIRKETT sees inspiration and potential. For over thirty years, this artist has been collecting various objects – from broken VCRs to typewriters – and has created fantastical clocks from them. In Colorado, check out the Colorado Chapter of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.


April 11 - Watch full episode here »

Considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Clyfford Still, is famous for not being famous, yet he was among the first generation of abstract expressionist artists who developed a unique approach to painting abstract forms … Documenting the fascinating life & art of Clyfford Still is the local filmmaking duo -- Amie Knox of ‘A Bar K Productions’ and Chad Herschberger of ‘The Milkhaus.’ The Clyfford Still segment is excerpted from an hour-long documentary that was awarded the 2012 Heartland Emmy Award for Best Videography.

Handcrafting acoustic guitars since 1970, CHARLIE HOFFMAN has made over 600 of these instruments thus far in his career. Fans of his work include Leo Kottke, Tim Sparks, Ann Reed, and Charlie Maguire. Although Hoffman is located in Minneapolis, local luthier’s Edward Victor Dick and Robert O’Brien custom build acoustic guitars, complete repairs, and even teach classes on how you can build a guitar yourself.

Artist GARY KACHADOURIAN sketches cut-and-fold artwork. He also draws and creates larger-than-life pieces that take over an entire room. His love of things modest and utilitarian forces us to rethink what we know about function and sometimes homely objects: cars, dumpsters, fences, vacant lots, worn down furniture. While the Maryland artist has yet to hold an exhibition in Colorado, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver hosts a slew of exhibitions that are equally thought provoking.

Playwright and poet Ed Bok Lee grew up idolizing the martial artist, Bruce Lee. But his impression of the movie star changed when he began to see the actor beyond the glow of the silver screen. In this art story, Ed Bok Lee performs his “Ode to Bruce Lee.” His most recent book Whorled has gained praise and accolades, include the 2012 American Book Award and a Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. His first published collection of poetry and prose titled Real Karaoke People contains the short story “The Man From Guangdong,” a tale that takes place in Pueblo, Colorado.


April 4 - Watch full episode here »

Since 2002, jeweler Andrea Li has been designing modern and wearable art from vintage pieces that she finds and collects. Her adherence to create unique and timeless pieces gives each design its own individuality. Li’s inspiration comes from nature, as she attempts to capture the depth of color and texture of gemstones. Li has been featured in Elle (April 2011), 5280 Magazine “Top of the Town – Best Jewelry Designer” (2010), and PaperCut Magazine (Nov 2011).

ORI GERSHT’s most recent exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, illustrated the breadth of the artist’s work. His work explores the relationship between culture, politics, memory and history, beauty and violence. While his work is not currently on display in Colorado, the Denver Museum of Art’s Photography exhibitshowcases both Robert Adams, whose landscape photography documents the conflict between the beauty of nature and modernity, and Garry Winogrand, a street photographer whose photos capture society’s brutality and elegance (often in the same photo). 

Contemporary artist GREGORY EUCLIDE’s use of mixed media in work gives his work a depth not usually seen in landscape paintings. His use of paint, ink, paper, styrofoam and more give his work another dimension, and transcends any one category of art. Euclide’s work is currently on display at the David B. Smith Gallery in Denver. His art can also be found as the cover art for the band Bon Iver’s albums and CDs. 

Opera tenor AARON CASEY has already sung with some of the greats - and he's still a college student. Casey’s experience on HBO’s documentary series A YoungArts Masterclass can currently be viewed on HBO. If Aaron’s story has inspired you to have an evening at the opera, be sure to check out local opera houses across the state: Opera Colorado (Denver), Central City Opera (Central City), Opera Fort Collins (Fort Collins), and Opera Theater of the Rockies (Colorado Springs).


March 28 - Watch full episode here »

Filmmaker Brian Malone captures the beauty and heartache of the behind-the-scenes creation of Colorado Ballet and the Light /The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Making its Denver debut, this one act contemporary ballet in five movements is inspired by the poignant journey of one Holocaust survivor. Set to the music of five notable contemporary composers including Philip Glass and Arvo Part, Light is a powerful, moving and uplifting experience.

Photographer Terry Gydesen has spent her career photographing some of the country's iconic political and cultural figures, from Jesse Jackson to Prince. Photography plays a huge part this month in Denver because March is "Month of Photography". Galleries all over the city are presenting local and national photographers with works ranging from the absurd to the political. 

Art philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil are featured. They culminated their worldly gifts all in one building, The Menil Collection, a museum regularly on many top-10 lists of best new architecture. Another modern museum that was built for the sole purpose of displaying artwork is Denver's own Clyfford Still Museum, where visitors are given the opportunity to experience nearly 94% of the Still's artwork. Learn more about the Clyfford Still Museum in the April 11th edition of Arts District. 

Musician Don McLean is famous for lamenting "the day the music died" in his hit song "American Pie" ... but the singer found that even after the song dropped off the charts, his career lived on and he recently finished a 40th anniversary tour through Europe.


March 21 - Watch full episode here »

Local metal artist, Arabella Tattershall specializes in steel sculptures of life size dresses in her Lafayette, Colorado studio. These extraordinary works of art compliment her smaller, signature style of making leaves, branches and birds. It's a walk down memory lane with one of America's top hit makers, Bobby Vee who has 38 singles in the Billboard Top 100. Billboard magazine named him "one of the top 10 most consistent chart-makers ever."  Amy Sackett is a hip hop dancer and choreographer who uses music and dance to bridge cultural divides between her world and mainstream culture. Check out these local dance studios in town that teach hip hop (Streetside South, Cherry Creek Dance, Highlands Dance Studio, X-treme Dance Force, B-Boy Factory). Wood sculptor, David Knopp, takes basic sheets of plywood and shapes them into smooth, sloping works of art that actually double as furniture.


February 28 - Watch the full episode here »

Floyd D. Tunson is one of the most highly regarded and influential artists and art teachers in the Rocky Mountain region. In his 40 year career retrospective at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, his extraordinary artwork addresses concepts such as race, cultural identity, American social history, pop culture, art history, and the beauty of pure abstraction. Explore the dynamic and improvisational style of Baltimore-based beatbox artist and vocal percussionist Shodekeh. Cowboy photographer Scott Baxter has driven across Arizona to photograph ranchers whose families have been ranching in the state since 1912 or earlier. The Colorado Cattleman Association was created in 1867 (nine years before Colorado became a state) and has provided support for ranchers all over the state. Allen Birnbach   and John Fielder are some of the Colorado photographers who specialize in Colorado ranches. Check out Allen Birnbach's upcoming documentary @ www.ahandfulofdustdocumentary.com. Islamic calligrapher Uzma Mirza transforms the names of God from the Koran into musical notes in her paintings. Blacksmith Christopher Poor handcrafts Medieval and Renaissance arms and armor replicas in the old world way.


February 21 - Watch the full episode here »

Local painter, graphic designer, and skateboard artist, Walt Pourier of Nakota Designs, is the artist in residence at the Denver Art Museum. As an Oglala Lakota, Walt uses art, design, and skateboarding as creative empowerment for the youth he works with in Denver and in Indian country. He is executive of the stronghold society, which encourages youth to take action to live a healthy life in mind, body, and spirit through the diverse means of skateboarding, arts, and creative movements. A profile of dancer/choreographer Jennifer Nugent, who is currently with Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company and discusses her life and work. Locally, from ballet to burlesque, and classical to contemporary, Colorado has dance companies performing nearly every week.


February 14 - Watch the full episode here »

Tony Furtado is a world-class performer on the banjo and slide guitar, but also has a hidden talent as a sculptor. His sculptures are featured in Carbondale's The White Dog Gallery and in an interview with the Dream Weaver radio program, archived on KDNK in Western Colorado. One of the most respected figures in Russian contemporary art, visual artist Oleg Vassiliev belongs to the generation of the Unofficial Artist Movement in the Soviet Union during the 1950s, `60s and `70s. His work hangs in the Sloane Gallery in Denver and is internationally recognized as one of the major dealers in contemporary and modern Russian art. New York native Faith Ringgold grew up in Harlem among many famous artists of the time, now she has honored those figures in her subway art. Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi-American poet who was forced to flee Iraw in the mid-1990s. Here she reflects on her poetry and what she has left of her home country.


February 7 - Watch the full episode here »

A look at the extraordinary art of the beaded Volkswagen beetle (Vochol) created by the Huichol people of Mexico on display at the Denver International Airport. A profile of clarinetist David Krakauer. The theater production"Soultime at the Apollo" pays tribute to the legendary Apollo Theater. An interview with singer Melinda Watts, the 2008 winner of the American Idol-style reality show Gospel Dream.


January 31 - Watch the full episode here »

Features the Denver Art Museum's "Now Boarding: Fentress Airports + The Architecture of Flight Tour," the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Crossing the Delaware" exhibit, a Yale Repertory Theater production of Marie Antoinette, painter Gregory Kondos, and artist Tom Otterness.


January 24 - Watch the full episode here »

Features the retrospective of international artist El Anatsui at the Denver Art Museum, an interview with the Who's Pete Townshend, behind-the-scenes of the hit play, "War Horse," and an exhibition on Andy Warhol.


January 17 - Watch the full episode here »

Features the Denver Art Museum's "Becoming Van Gogh" exhibit, renowned pianist Jeremy Denk, aerial photographer Alexander Heilner, and artist Karen Gustafson

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Host- Carrie Saldo
Executive Producer- Lisa D. Olken
Series Editor- Janine Trudell, Daniel Mercure
Set Design & Wardrobe Consultant - Angela Forster
Lighting Director - Laszlo Varga
Lighting Assistant  & Camera - Paul Cywilko
Graphic Design - Ryan Conley
Jib Camera - Paul Drexler
Director of Production - Michael Reynolds
Production Assistant - Carly Jerome

For questions, comments or to send us an Art Quiz or Art Fact, email: arts@rmpbs.org

Additional sources for information about the arts in Colorado:

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See what else is playing around the country: 

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