One of the first things a visitor to Denver sees as they leave the airport is the infamous Blue Mustang sculpture. Football fans cheer for the Denver Broncos and plenty of students go to schools where they root for the mustangs.
Even if we don’t have the same relationship with horses that we did back when Colorado was a young state, the animals still capture our hearts and imagination. And History Colorado’s latest exhibit explores the roles - both past and present - horses play all over the state.
“We were really looking at how horses have shaped Colorado history across time and how people still engage with them today,” said Julie Peterson, public historian and exhibit designer. “The exhibit spans a broad history, starting way back in ancient times to the horses of today. We get to explore things like the modern therapeutic workhorses do with people.”
The Power of Horses runs at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver, through May 9. The new exhibit, which fills the Ballantine Gallery, Anschutz Hamilton Hall and the Makerspace, is included in general admission at no extra charge.
According to Peterson, the stories showcased in The Power of Horses are drawn from stories shared by community organizations and individuals from across the state, covering everything from horses as working animals, transportation, symbols and sources of entertainment. Among the historic items visitors can check out are a traditional charro suit, a Ute saddlebag and memorabilia from a National Western Stock Show from 1919.
“We also wanted to showcase the stories of Black and Hispanic cowboys as well,” Peterson said. “We have some photos and more from the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo that are really fantastic.”
Delving into the cultural and contemporary, the exhibit delves into the Colorado connections to the aforementioned Blue Mustang and the Broncos’ Bucky. And then there are national characters like the Budweiser Clydesdales, My Little Pony, “Parks and Recreation’s” Li’l Sebastian and more.
“One of the things we thought about was the question of what would we lose in a world without horses? They are so powerful and shaped our culture so much, especially in the west. We would have a different culture without horses,” Peterson said. “The hope is people, even if they don’t already love horses, can find something they connect with and connect us all as Coloradoans.”
For information and tickets, visit historycolorado.org/horses.
Get an up-close view of `Y/OUR Denver’ architecture
The winners of the 4th annual Doors Open Denver Photography Competition, “Y/OUR Denver,” highlight the skill it requires to capture the unique design of the city’s architecture — and the public can see the works online through Monday, Feb. 28.
According to provided information, from Sept. 23 through Oct. 28, participating photographers were invited to find and photograph their favorite areas of Denver, focusing on Denver’s vast and unique architecture. The winners — Alan Ford, Joshua Palmeri, Nancy Bratton and Risa Friedman — were selected out of 216 entries and their work will be highlighted among 26 other finalist images for the online exhibition.
Check out the photographs at https://denverarchitecture.org/y-our-denver-online-photography-exhibit-2021/.
Spend an afternoon at the ARTcade
Arcade games aren’t really made the way they used to be anymore, but you’d be hard-pressed to ever find games like the ones on display at the ARTcade exhibit.
On display at Under Study, 890 C 14th St. in Denver, the exhibit highlights games that were designed or customized by artists, including pinball tables, claw machines, gashapon-style vending machines, a coin pusher and more, according to provided information. Even the prizes were created by artists and included enamel pins, coloring books, miniature paintings, jewelry, tea towels, art prints, small sculptures and more.
The gallery is open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Get all the details at https://understudydenver.com/portfolio/artcade/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — My Morning Jacket at the Mission Ballroom
Going to a concert for Near Year’s Eve is a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new year without all the pressures of going to a New Year’s party. And Kentucky’s My Morning Jacket have you covered whether you want to rock out on the actual evening or in the nights leading up to it. The group is performing at the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver, on Wednesday, Dec. 29 through Friday, Dec. 31.
The group will be joined by a different opener each night — first Neal Francis, then Flock of Dimes and finally Shannon and The Clams — which means each performance will be a special treat. And when you add My Morning Jacket’s epic catalog of country-tinged psychedelic rock, you really can’t go wrong. It doesn’t hurt that lead singer Jim James has, to my ear at least, one of the best voices in modern music.
Get tickets to one or all of these shows at www.missionballroom.com/upcoming-events/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.