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DU Field Notes: Celebrate Local Artists at First Friday on Santa Fe

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Nika Anschuetz

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Nika.Anschuetz@du.edu

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303-871-2711

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Campus Life  •
two hands making a heart in front of street mural

Nestled just south of the city center lies Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, and on the first Friday of every month from 5:30-9:30 p.m., the district turns into a street exhibition, spanning the area between 5th and 11th Avenues.  

The First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe is a celebration of art, culture and community, drawing locals and visitors to step into the Denver art scene. An area rich in Latinx and Chicano history, the Art District on Santa Fe was one of the first state-certified art districts. And while the First Friday Art Walk has evolved in the decades since its inception, it strives to remain true to its original intent—an accessible foray into the arts community.  

Stroll Through Galleries  

Start your evening by exploring the numerous galleries that line Santa Fe Drive. Grab a map of participating galleries and embark on a self-guided tour. Each gallery showcases a diverse range of artistic styles from traditional to contemporary. As you wander through the exhibits, immerse yourself in the art and interact with artists as they share their stories.  

Live Art Demonstrations 

From painting to sculpting to caricature drawing, watch the art come to life as local artists lift the curtain on the creative process.  

Shopping and Vendors 

Apart from the art galleries, Santa Fe Drive is home to boutiques and specialty shops. Explore these quaint stores for one-of-a-kind pieces. For a more street-feel, you’ll find smaller vendors in parking lots on the main thoroughfare.  

Food and Beverages  

There’s no shortage of unique food in the area. In addition to the dozens of restaurants that line the Art District on Santa Fe, food trucks, offering a taste of the Denver food scene, line the streets, too.  

Capture the Moments  

As thousands pour into the city’s main art district, be sure to capture the moments with friends. From striking art installations to lively street scenes, there are plenty of photo-worthy opportunities waiting to be immortalized or Instagrammed.  

Know Before You Go 

While the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe is a short 15-minute drive from campus, the area has limited parking options. To avoid traffic and parking, you can use your DU-provided RTD Eco Pass to access Santa Fe Drive.  

From the University of Denver Station, you’ll get off at 10th and Osage Station, a 10-minute walk to Santa Fe Drive.   

Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious newcomer, this monthly celebration has something for everyone, providing a unique way to get acquainted with the city of Denver.