Coming Attractions

Arvada Center invites artists to share quarantine creations

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


As a working artist, Collin Parson — the Arvada Center’s exhibition manager and curator — understands the need to create during such a tumultuous time.

But with exhibitions canceled all over the metro area, he wanted to find a way to engage with the creative community while everyone is in quarantine.

“Emily King (the Center’s exhibition manager) and I wanted to do something more, and we asked ourselves, what can we control?” Parson explained. “So, we decided to put a call out.”

The Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., announced a call for entry March 31 for its new ongoing art exhibition, “Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus.” The juried exhibition is open to all Colorado artists working in all media, concepts, and processes. And since it’s an ongoing event, there is no submission deadline or limit to the number of submissions. The Center has also waived submission fees, so artists are encouraged to submit multiple times.

“Usually we spend months and even years fine-tuning our calls to entry, and we’ve considered all aspects of the show, including the concept,” Parson said. “It was a team effort at the Center to put this together so fast, and we don’t quite know what the exhibit will look like yet. We’re hoping to set it up sometime in 2021.”

The aim is to create a kind of “linear time capsule” that provides a window into how artists are adapting. Parson said he’s curious to see what changes when an artist runs out of paint or sculpting materials — how do they innovate and use other materials to create?

The call to entry is not the only way the Arvada Center is connecting artists with the community. Its website,, hosts virtual gallery tours and it launched the first in a series of Living Room Talkbacks on April 6 , which are opportunities to explore the productions in the Black Box theatre with the directors, cast and designers.

“Maybe this will be a good excuse for artists to create,” Parson said. “We’re hoping for a really wide range and overview of submissions.

“We’re hoping artists see this as a way the Arvada Center is trying to help any way we can.”

For more information on the call (and to donate to support the Center), visit

Outdoor activity - visit Arvada’s Volunteer Firefighters Park

First off, I need to remind everyone that when enjoying any outdoor space, it’s of vital importance that you maintain the appropriate distance from other enthusiasts. Gatherings of any kind should be avoided for the foreseeable.

Having said all that, if you’re looking for a gem of a park, I’d recommend the Arvada Volunteer Firefighters Park, located at 9190 W. 84th Ave. While the great playground is closed during the stay-at-home orders, there are plenty of trees for shade and grassy space and for walking running through and exploring. It also connects to similar small parks in the Standley Lake area.

Search Arvada Volunteer Firefighters Park on Facebook for more information.

Clarke’s Concert(s) of the Week - Father John Misty and Hiss Golden Messenger’s new live shows

Two of the best contemporary folk (and folk-adjacent) musicians, Father John Misty and Hiss Golden Messenger, have both released live albums to support those affected by COVID-19.

Father John Misty’s “Off-Key in Hamburg” was recorded at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on Aug. 8, 2019 with the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt, and is a beautiful display of singer/songwriter Josh Tillman’s Randy Newman-esque lyrical style and heady blend of folk and alternate rock music. All proceeds will be donated to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

MC Taylor’s Hiss Golden Messenger works in a more traditional folk style, with elements of country and soul mixed in. His live album “Forward, Children,” features stirring renditions of fan favorites like “I Need A Teacher” and “Heart Like a Levee.” All profits from this album will benefit the Durham, North Carolina, Public Schools Foundation and the teachers and students who are struggling as a result.

Visit to purchase the albums, throw them on at home and have a concert on your couch.

Streaming style - ‘This Way Up’

Many of the best contemporary British comedies are great sources of more than just laughs. Shows like “Fleabag,” “State of the Union,” “Breeders” and “Back to Life,” are also deeply human explorations of the joys and struggles that come with living in our fractured modern world. “This Way Up,” the series from Ireland’s Aisling Bea, is a pitch-perfect example of all the nuance that comedy done right can capture.

Bea stars as Áine, an English as a second language teacher who is recovering from some serious mental health issues. As she struggles to reclaim her life and reintegrate with her family and friends, the laughs come lightning quick, but so do the insights about the importance of acceptance, forgiveness and embracing life’s new challenges. If you let it, it will absolutely rock you back.

The first season of “This Way Up” can be streamed on Hulu.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at


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