Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Clyfford Still Museum to Hold Its First PechaKucha

[NOTE: This event is sold out. For information about other PechaKucha events in Denver, scroll to the list at the bottom of the page or check out pechakucha.org/cities/Denver.]

On May 1, the Clyfford Still Museum will host its first PechaKucha as part of its program series related to the exhibition 1959:The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibition Recreated (held in conjunction with Modern Masters at the Denver Art Museum). Local scholars and specialists from the fields of architecture and design, graphics, history, archaeology, literature, theater, and gender studies will join us to represent key themes of the era in the PechaKucha format.

I interviewed Martha Weidman, co-founder and CEO of NINE dot ARTS and chief organizer for PechaKucha, to learn a little bit more about PechaKucha. 

Victoria Eastburn: We’re excited to have a PechaKucha at the Clyfford Still Museum. Tell me about PechaKucha—what is a PechaKucha and how did it get started?

Martha Weidman: PechaKucha means “chit-chat” in Japanese and PechaKucha nights involve rapid-fire presentations in the format of 20x20: 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. The slides advance automatically so presenters must keep up to get through their concept in six minutes and forty seconds even.

PechaKucha started in Tokyo in 2003 at Klein Dytham Architecture when the leading architects were looking for a creative and succinct platform for community members to share their ideas and inspiration. Rather than have a single headlining speaker or a networking cocktail hour, they decided to feature ten speakers in the 20x20 format, each focused on the speaker’s own unique topic that piqued his energy and interest. The event was such a resounding success that they decided to host it again and again and again.  PechaKucha Nights are now trademarked events that have spread to more than 700 cities in the world. The events are always free, always unique, and always creative.

VE: What other types of PechaKuchas have you done in Denver?

MW: One of my favorites was our PechaKucha Night in the MCA Denver alley. This event was the a finale to Denver Startup week as well as Global PechaKucha night, which meant that nearly 700 cities around the world hosted PechaKucha Nights in a  back-to-back, 24-hour global marathon. Since we are in the Western hemisphere, we were one of the last cities to present. We live streamed 250 Denverites yelling “Yee Haw” to Tokyo, which was quite a spectacle!

VE: That sounds like a lot of fun. Why are you excited to partner with Clyfford Still Museum?

MW: Because I love the building and I love the architect, Brad Cloepfil. When Brad speaks about designing this museum, he is grounded, humble, and intelligent. For me, this is the most exquisite environment for viewing paintings in the state of Colorado. The quiet space and ambient light let the giant abstractions take center stage. The whole design works to highlight the art. The archive of Still’s personal artifacts provides an excellent historical context for his work. And I love the benches that look like stone but are actually weirdly soft felt that you melt into. All of this makes the Clyfford Still Museum a destination spot for any world traveler.

Other PechaKucha Nights this summer:

June 19 with CityBuild in Skyline Park between 16th and 17th on Arapahoe. Picnic at 6 pm and presenters at 8:20 pm.

July 24 with OhHeckYeah on Champa Street, from the 16th Street Mall to 14th Street. Gaming and fun at 6 pm and presenters at 8:20 pm. 

 

Victoria Eastburn is director of education and programs at the Clyfford Still Museum.