Media Advisory: Summer of Play Launches at the Denver Art Museum with a Day of Free Admission, Opening of the New Paint Studio and More

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will launch its Summer of Play on June 1, 2019, on Free First Saturday, with free general admission for all, access to seven unique exhibitions, two new family-friendly spaces, hands-on programming and more.

There is plenty to do during #SummerofPlay2019 at the DAM, where kids receive free general admission every day, including family-friendly artmaking in the galleries and in the Paint Studio (opening June 1). Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space (opening June 1) and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition The Light Show.

Don’t miss this summer’s main exhibition, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, which opened May 5. Children are invited to play in the Free Play Zone at the end of the exhibition where they can try on bold masks and bring them to life in a colorful theater, climb on a wavy playscape by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and creatively combine the pieces of the Tyng Toy.

WHAT: Summer of Play Kick Off

WHEN: Saturday, June 1, 2019, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

WHERE: Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.

The following Summer of Play exhibitions and hands-on programming are also free for youth 18 and under every day thanks to the Free for Kids program:


  • Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America presents the concept of play in postwar American design as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This exhibition will explore how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children’s toys and play spaces, and corporate identities.
  • The Light Show examines physical and symbolic representations of light in art through a thought-provoking narrative. The exhibition features about 250 objects drawn from the DAM’s nine curatorial departments. Portions of this exhibition, which will fully open on June 2, are already open to the public.
  • Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze features 29 large-scale paintings by Denver-born artist Jordan Casteel, who is now based in Harlem, New York.
  • Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection showcases about 60 paintings gifted to the museum by the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) in 2018. The exhibition presents 500 years of British cultural history through the stories of its people, captured by the enduring brilliance of artists of the time.
  • Eyes On: Jonathan Saiz presents more than 10,000 tiny drawings, paintings and sculptures, comprising the installation #WhatisUtopia by Saiz, a contemporary artist living and working in Denver.
  • Eyes On: Erika Harrsch features a single contemporary installation titled Under the Same Sky… We Dream by contemporary artist Erika Harrsch.
  • The Incubation Effect by Denver artist Nicole Anona Banowetz is an interactive installation inspired by the natural world.


  • Create-n-Takes
    • Hand in Hand, Hamilton Building, level 1. Take a moment to slow down and notice the colorful details in Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze. Using colors and patterns inspired by Casteel’s work, you can create your own hand portrait that represents you, a loved one or maybe even someone you haven’t met.
    • The Shape of Feelings, Hamilton Building, level 4. Marie Watt’s colorful Butterfly artwork symbolizes two women’s happiness while dancing. Challenge yourself to make a piece of art that describes how you feel with only colors and shapes.
    • Gallery Games in Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection encourage visitors to explore artworks in the exhibition through interesting textures and surprising scents. Seven sensory boards help bring the portraits and landscapes to life through lace, volcanic rock and horsehair as well as fragrances like nutmeg. Read aloud the description on each board to discover fun details in the artworks and insights about the artists.
    • Paint Studio visitors will be invited to experiment with watercolors, create a portrait painting or make an abstract masterpiece of their own. This space will encourage visitors of all ages to explore how painters use color and light to capture the world around them. Demonstrations by local artists will take place from noon to 3 p.m. each weekend.
    • An Architecture and Sculpture Challenge will be available on Martin Plaza on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors can pick up a booklet of cards with fun ways to experience the DAM’s outdoor sculptures and explore the amazing architecture of the Hamilton Building and the North Building.

Media Resources

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Denver metro citizens support Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

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