Coming Attractions

Picture yourself in an oil painting

Recommended activities for the coming week


As someone who has visited countless art galleries over the years, a common question I have is what it takes to be a model for one of these artworks. Who has that special something that inspires an artist to take up their brush and create?

For local artists Jonathan Saiz and Wes Magyar’s 7,000 Reasons Pop-Up Project, all it takes is $143 and a desire to commemorate oneself or something one loves in an oil painting.

“The contemporary art world and society as a whole has become so cynical” Magyar said. “We wanted to do something joyful and optimistic, and these one-of-a-kind commissioned works seem like a good place to start.”

The pair partnered with the Arvada Center to help the project get to its goal of creating 7,000 7-inch by 7-inch oil paintings over the course of seven months. Paintings are $143 and orders are being taken through Aug. 11. Completed portraits will be on display during a special pop-up exhibition at the Arvada Center through Nov. 11.

“A lot of people want their pets painted first, and then end up wanting to add others,” Saiz said. “We just want a variety of people to realize that contemporary art is being created for them, not for rich collectors in big cities.”

Some of the portraits are already on display at the center, and subjects include a couple adorable dogs and curator Collin Parson’s new son.

“As a recent new father, I immediately thought an original portrait of our new son would be a great gift for my wife as I saw Wes and Jon’s 7,000 Reasons project online,” Parson explained. “She immediately burst into tears when I gave it to her, and thought: What if we can bring as much joy to Arvada Center patrons and their loved ones? We’re excited to have the project here, as it’s truly accessible and so optimistic.”

To purchase a portrait and for more information, visit the center at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or visit

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Ray LaMontagne at Red Rocks

There are artists who have been making solid music for years, and after their initial splash is made, listeners start to take them for granted.

Folk-rock singer Ray LaMontagne is one of these artists.

Since he released his debut in 2004, the New Hampshire-born troubadour with a voice that could stop a train in its track has gone beyond the heartbreaking acoustic tunes to more psychedelic rock. His latest album, “Part of the Light,” is one of his most cohesive and rockingest albums yet.

Ray LaMontagne will be performing at Red Rocks, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on July 10.

Opener Neko Case is the perfect partner for LaMontagne — she’s also been a fixture of the alternative music scene since the early 2000s, and in all that time she has kept her howling hurricane of a voice. She also released an album just a month ago, “Hell-On,” and it’s reliably great.

Don’t miss the bulletproof bill — head over to for tickets.

Up on the roof to help young people

As Carole King and Gerry Goffin once wisely observed, “up on the roof/everything is all right.” That’s the same feeling attendees will experience at the Summer Soirée.

Hosted by Speakeasy Soirée Entertainment, the Summer Soirée will be held on the rooftop patio of Cherry Creek’s Room and Board, 222 Detroit St. in Denver, from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, July 15.

The event will feature La Pompe Jazz and Banshee Tree performing original tunes and jazz classics, Swingin’ Denver providing swing dance lessons and performances throughout the evening, and the party rounds out with signature craft cocktails, an assortment of samples from liquor and wine partners, and food from Illegal Pete’s.

The best part? All proceeds benefit Youth on Record, a not-for-profit organization empowering Colorado’s underserved youth to achieve their academic, artistic and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators.

For tickets, visit

Lend Miners Alley a ‘Tenor’

One of the greatest experiences a person can have with other people is laughing together, and that’s what theatrical farces excel in providing. Which means those looking for laughs this summer should start heading into Golden.

Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Ave., is presenting Tony Award-winner “Lend Me A Tenor” as its summer show. Written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Warren Sherrill, the show runs from July 13 through Aug. 19. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

The show takes place during the biggest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. Before a performance of “Otello,” the production’s world-famous tenor goes missing, possibly due to troubles in his marriage. What follows is an evening of madcap fun.

Tickets are available by calling 303-935-3044 or online at

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. A community editor with Colorado Community Media, he can be reached


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