Arts & Culture

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6 Places Around Denver to Take Your Kid in Need of a Play Date

Navigating the last two-plus years of pandemic twists has been taxing on everyone, but parents: We see you. We hear you. (We are you.) From constant quarantines to canceled play dates, we’re guessing you’ve exhausted your reserve of backyard activities—and maybe your sanity. We’re all for family bonding, but with school out and summer in, we’ve rounded up some warm-weather ideas for getting your offspring to mingle with someone their own size. Let the play dates commence.

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Our Happy Place: The Lifestyle We Live And Love [cover story]

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s to appreciate the place we live—because, well, we’ve all been spending a lot of time here. We found ourselves rediscovering what we love about the institutions, venues, businesses, restaurants, parks, and people that make up our (suddenly smaller) world. Sure, the way we go about crafting our lifestyle has been—and will continue to be—outside the norm these past months, and the places that infuse the personality of our neighborhoods may operate differently or more intermittently than they ever have, but their contribution to the character of our city remains.

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The Lay of the Land

Nancy Friese’s landscapes are more than snapshots of inspiring locations. She uses the term “composite” to describe her technique: a blending of her feelings, interpretations, and memories of a place. A self-described perceptual landscape artist, the Providence-based painter, drawer, and longtime faculty member of the Rhode Island School of Design works outdoors in what she calls an open-ended fashion over multiple sessions—sometimes taking a month, or even up to a couple of years—to gather the sum of her experiences into one piece.

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Fabric of Our Lives

Karen Henderson’s artwork isn’t what it seems at first glance. From a distance, the canvases look as if they were layered with brushstrokes in muted, natural shades to create delicate landscapes: a fog-shrouded field or a forested path or a sunrise over a pond. Each is hazy yet familiar, like a vision in someone’s dream. But a few steps closer and you realize the evocative imagery isn’t simply painted on a canvas...

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Underneath it All

In any suburb, behind the neighbors’ closed doors and neat shutters are unspoken feelings, thoughts, and struggles that the rest of us can’t see, and that’s exactly what inspires McGonagle’s edgy paintings, wall coverings, and installations. “The idea is, everybody looks perfect from the outside, but family dynamics and relationships might be filled with dysfunction,” she says. “We are all imperfect. That’s what I’m really trying to express.”

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Booked Up

Four-year-old Rachel Vlietstra takes a deep breath and reads aloud from her picture book. “Mom said, ‘Make your bed,’” she says, and then glances at the illustration of a little boy in his messy bedroom. There’s a pause as she turns the page—but there’s no rustle of paper. In fact, there’s no physical book. Instead, Rachel’s mouse arrow hovers over a button on her computer screen. Click. “So I made my bed into a library and read and read and read.”

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Wellness: A Place At The Table

Nearly six years ago, I examined one of our state’s—and America’s—most pressing problems through the eyes of six Coloradans in “The Face of Hunger.” These individuals came from different backgrounds, lived in different corners of the state, and had very different life experiences. They all had one thing in common, though: food insecurity. I learned that it’s not a stereotype relegated to the panhandler on the corner with the cardboard sign.

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