Behind the Scenes at the DAM

All Your Open For Design Submission FAQs Answered Here

Now that you’re ready to get creative to submit something for Open For Design, here are a few important things to keep in mind as you begin to brainstorm, design, and transform. If your question is not answered here, please email so we can help.

Creativity & Planning FAQs

What is the challenge?

Transform an everyday object or material into something that makes your neighborhood a better place.

Will my submission be displayed?

Every submitted work, which meets the conservation department's requirements and size guidelines, will be displayed in the DAM’s largest temporary exhibition space, the Anschutz Gallery, for all to see. The Open For Design exhibition will be on view August 4–September 2.

Who can participate?

Anyone in Colorado! Everyone has the ability to positively impact where they live. Participants can be:

  • any age
  • any skill level
  • from anywhere in Colorado
  • groups or individuals

What form can submissions take?

Designs can take any 2-D or 3-D form, but must fit inside a 2-by-2-by-2-foot space—maximum size, smaller sizes are welcome too. Your submission can be an object, model, sketch, or even a photograph of your design in action. Please note that electrical, audio and video components in submissions cannot be accommodated. The work must also meet the conservation department's requirements.

Is there a size limit?

We have limited space, so your design must fit into a 2-by-2-by-2-foot space –maximum size, smaller sizes are welcome too. If your submission is larger, take a picture of your installed design in action and we’ll showcase the photo. Please note that electrical, audio and video components in submissions cannot be accommodated.

Can a group submit a piece?

Yes. You can work on your design as a family, with friends, or as a neighborhood. Group submissions are welcome.

Is there a selection process?

No, everyone who submits a work that meets the conservation department's requirements listed below and fits within the 2-by-2-by-2-foot maximum space limit will be put on display. Please read the list of prohibited materials carefully; any designs that are deemed unsafe will not be allowed in the museum.

Can I submit more than one piece?

Due to limited space, only one submission per person is allowed.

I am designing a 2-D work. Should I frame it?

That is up to you. However, framing your sketch or photo will help us in hanging it. All designs will be displayed as they are submitted; works will not be mounted or framed by the DAM.

I am designing an object, but it’s hard to understand what its function is out of context. How will it be displayed?

All designs will be displayed as they are submitted. If you want to add materials to help make its function clear, feel free to do so. For example, a bird feeder made from a tea cup could have a paper bird perched on its edge to illustrate its new function.

Every submission will also have an accompanying label (PDF of example), which you will fill out on drop-off day.

I need some ideas—help!

If you need some inspiration, check out the photos, videos, and chats happening on the Open For Design Facebook event page. We will be updating it regularly with new ideas and hope you do the same. Whether you want to share a picture of your design in progress or announce a neighborhood design meet-up at your local coffee shop, this page is the Open For Design creative hub.

Are there materials that I cannot use?

Yes. We want to protect the artwork that is already on display in the museum, so some materials are off limits. This includes soil, living, liquid, hazardous, or unsafe materials. If you want to design a community planter from an old tire, that’s great, take a picture to show off what you made rather than bringing it in.

Full list of prohibited materials based to our conservation department's requirements:

  • Water/liquids/pastes/gels
  • Plants—living, fresh, or dried
  • Animals and insects
  • Feathers and fur
  • Soil
  • Food items
  • Balloons
  • Hazardous materials (highly flammable or explosive materials, asbestos, solvents, biohazards, heavy metals, etc.)

Due to the risk of infestation with harmful insects that may spread to other artworks, we ask the following:

  • All textiles and fabrics used must be new and freshly washed or dry cleaned.
  • Any wood or lumber used must be clean, dry, and free of bark, and it must show no evidence of damage from termites or other wood-boring insects. This includes small holes or the presence of “frass” – sawdust, insect parts, and insect waste.

Conservation department staff will be on hand during the drop-off day and will inspect each submitted piece. The DAM reserves the right to deny access to any submission deemed unsafe for any reason.

What are the important dates to make plans for?

  • Submission drop-off day: Saturday, July 28, 9 am–4 pm. Participants must be in line by 4 pm for their piece to be considered for inclusion.
  • Preview for DAM members: Friday, August 3, 5–8 pm
  • Open For Design on view: Saturday, August 4–Sunday, September 2
  • Submission pick-up day: Tuesday, September 4, 10 am–8 pm

Submission Drop-off Day FAQs

What do I need to do prior to drop-off day?

Please take a few minutes to pre-register your submission by July 27 at 4 pm. This will save you time on drop-off day, as we will already have all of your contact information and completed release forms. Pre-registration makes drop-off more efficient both for you and for us.

Where do I go?

Drop-off will take place in the North Building at the DAM, north of 13th Avenue. The address is 100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy, Denver, CO, 80204. The museum is open on this day, so be sure you receive a sticker for Open for Design as you enter. This will allow you entry for drop-off, but is not a general admission ticket to the museum.

Where do I park?

There are several parking options.

  • Cultural Complex Garage: The most convenient place to park, the garage at 12th Avenue and Broadway, opens daily at 6 am. Enter the garage from 12th Avenue just west of Broadway. Parking rates, which start at $1 per hour, are posted inside the entrance.
  • Parking lots and meters: Several unattended parking lots and hundreds of metered parking spaces are located within walking distance of the museum.
  • Visit our Hours, Location & Parking page for a complete list of parking and transportation options as well as driving directions.

What do I need to bring with me to the DAM that day?

All you need is your submission. If you pre-register your submission by July 27 at 4 pm it will ensure a much quicker drop-off. There will be two lines; one for people who pre-registered and one for day-of registration. Pre-registration only takes a few minutes online, but will save lots of time on drop-off day.

What time should I arrive?

We will begin accepting submissions at 9 am and all participants must be in line by 4 pm. Please allow plenty of time to get in line before 4 pm.

How long will drop-off take?

This depends on whether you pre-register your work and how many submissions are received. By pre-registering and following all of the conservation department's requirements you can minimize your time in line on drop-off day. There will be two lines on drop-off day; one for people who pre-registered and one for day-of registration. Registration only takes a few minutes online, but will save lots of time on drop-off day.

Each submission will be accompanied by a label (PDF of example) that will be filled out on this day. Minimize time spent at drop-off by brainstorming how to fill out the label before coming to the DAM.

Can I drop off a submission for someone else?

Yes. However, you must have all their information ready. Keep in mind that labels for each submission will be completed during drop-off, so you will also be responsible for filling out their label as well.

I can’t make it on Saturday, July 28. Can I mail my submission in, bring it in early (or e-mail a photo)?

Unfortunately, we can only accept submissions dropped off on July 28 in person. This ensures that we have all the proper forms filled out, including the submission’s label. Conservation department staff must also check each submission in person. The DAM cannot accommodate printing participants’ submissions via e-mail. If you cannot make it, we suggest asking a friend, family member, or neighbor to drop off your piece for you!

Exhibition FAQs

Where and when will Open For Design be on view?

The exhibition will be on view Saturday, August 4–Sunday, September 2, in the Anschutz Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building, the DAM’s largest temporary exhibition space.

If I submitted a piece, can I visit the DAM for free?

Entrance to see Open For Design will be included in general admission. The DAM offers free general admission on the first Saturday of every month. There will be two Free First Saturdays during the run of Open For Design—August 4 and September 1. The museum will be open during regular hours, 10 am–5 pm, on these days. At all other times, entrance will require a general admission ticket. For more information about admission or to purchase tickets, visit our Ticket Information page. Members always receive free general admission.

Will there be a members’ preview for Open For Design?

Yes. The preview will be held on Friday, August 3, 5–8 pm for DAM members.

How will I be able to find my submission in the display?

Each submission will be accompanied by a label, which will be filled out on drop-off day so everyone will know who made each work. The DAM will also generate a column listing to help participants locate their work in the gallery. This will be available online and also in-gallery.

Will there be programming related to Open For Design?

Yes, Untitled #50 (Jet Set) on Friday, August 31, from 6 to 10 pm, will feature programming related to Open For Design. Check the website for updates about this final Friday event.

Pick-Up Day FAQs

What should I expect on Tuesday, September 4, pick-up day?

Submitted works can be picked up anytime between 10 am and 8 pm on September 4. We will accommodate pick-up on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to bring your receipt from drop-off day and a photo ID.

What if I can’t get there on September 4?

Unfortunately, this is the only day for submission pick-up. The DAM has limited space and submissions cannot be stored after September 4. We suggest making arrangements with someone else to pick up your submission if you will not be able to be there for pick-up.

After this day, any unclaimed submissions will become property of the DAM to retain or dispose of at its discretion (see Why do I need to sign a disclosure agreement? below). This day is extremely important and should be taken into account for participation.

Can I pick up my submission early?

No, the show runs through Sunday, September 2, and your submission will be on view for the entirety of the exhibition. Tuesday, September 4 from 10 am–8 pm is the ONLY day for pick-up.

PLEASE NOTE: We will not be able to return your work by mail or store them after Tuesday, September 4th. Please mark September 4, 2012, on your calendar for pick up. If you are unable to make it on this day, please make arrangements with someone else to pick up your piece for you. We cannot store submissions and any items left after September 4, 2012 will become sole property of the DAM to retain or dispose of the submission as it sees fit.

This day is extremely important and should be taken into account for participation.

Agreement FAQs

Why do I need to sign a disclosure agreement?

This is primarily a precaution in case any harm would come to your object while on display. It also allows the DAM to use images (pictures, videos, etc.) of your submission. In the event you do not claim your object on pick-up day, that object will become property of the DAM.

Here is the disclaimer in its entirety, as stated on the registration form:

  • Documentation Agreement: Documentation and Copyright: Participant agrees to permit DAM to document participant, submission and all activities during the exhibition by any and all methods for archival, promotional, educational and other purposes as determined by the DAM. Any and all such documentation, including but not limited to photographs, video and digital footage, and any copyright therein, shall be property of the DAM. Participant retains ownership of the copyright for any artwork produced at DAM as part of the exhibition. Participant hereby grants DAM a non-exclusive license to reproduce and distribute photographs of the submission and all exhibition activities, to transmit or otherwise communicate the same to the public in any media (including but not limited to slides, digital images, film, video, television, internet and other electronic or broadcast media) and to authorize others to do the same.
  • Installation and Liability Agreement: The participant hereby authorizes DAM to oversee repair, replacement and/or attachment of hanging hardware as deemed necessary to the submission’s safe installation and display. The Denver Art Museum is not liable for damages to or loss of any submission.
  • Pick-up Day Agreement: If the submission is not claimed on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 the participant hereby authorizes the DAM to retain or dispose of the submission at its discretion. Failure to reclaim submissions shall result in the loss of all rights in said property.

Is my submission copyrighted?

For more information on copyright law go to

Jaime Kopke is the adult and college program manager in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. She has been with the DAM since 2011 and is always scouting for community creatives to collaborate with. Send her an e-mail.