In this package, you'll come across a few high-dollar events. So we wanted to make it clear that you don't have to spend a dime to take in some of the best art our city has to offer.
First Friday is the ultimate gratis experience. Not only can you hop from gallery to gallery, seeing new work, meeting artists and curators, but you can squeeze a little dinner out of it, too, since most places serve drinks and appetizers.
The Old Colorado City ArtWalk is worth a trip, with businesses like Kathleen McFadden's Range Gallery, Hunter-Wolff Gallery and about 10 others offering the above amenities during extended hours. Other choices include Pueblo's First Friday Art Walk, Woodland Park's Art Walk, held on the third Friday of every month, and the Monument Art Hop, which switches it up by happening on third Thursdays. Keep in mind that most art walks are seasonal: OCC's ends in December, Pueblo's and Monument's, October. Woodland Park's is the hardiest of the bunch, running year-round.
Downtown spots like Smokebrush Gallery (with neighboring Commons and Bridge galleries) keep consistent First Friday openings for their monthly shows as well. Second Fridays are the usual M.O. for Rubbish Gallery and Modbo. The I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College and UCCS' Galleries of Contemporary Art — GOCA 1420 and GOCA 121 are located at the college on Austin Bluffs Parkway and downtown in the Plaza of the Rockies, respectively — debut shows less predictably, but when they do, they schedule plenty of related talks, film screenings and other events.
The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center offers free public receptions when opening new batches of shows. The next two will be held Thursday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Nov. 17, both 5 to 7 p.m. (Normal Sangre admission runs $3 to $4, a steal in itself.)
For film screenings, check out the Manitou Springs Public Library for weekly classics as part of its Nickelodeon Film Series. You can bring a covered, non-alcoholic drink and munch on complimentary popcorn from Patsy's Candies while viewing films such as The Old Man and the Sea, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Mummy and Dracula.
Students get a ton of freebies and discounts. Attractions from theater shows to exhibit admissions can usually be discounted for students with an ID, so be sure to have yours around when off-campus. (Or dig out your old one, and let me know if it works.) Last week's Student Survival Guide features some great tips on the whens and hows of flashing the ID card.
Be on the lookout for random free events, too. The Independent Film Society of Colorado's Short Circuit Invitational Film Series #3 on Sept. 23 is free, as are some of the society's regular film screenings. Shuga's Cinemaholics serves up Tuesday film nights at no charge. Literati can hit Modbo's guest-led, last Friday-of-the-month BYOB Poetry open mics, or the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series at Black Cat Books in Manitou Springs. Writers of all levels and stripes can share whatever work they like, and then catch the featured writer afterwards. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center offers free admission to all downstairs galleries and discounted prices for special shows upstairs on the third Tuesday of every month.
Be aware that some of these events do happily accept donations, but whether you drop a few bucks or not is totally up to you.
Two final notes: You can keep tabs on all of this with the listings in each Indy issue. And regardless of what you do, be sure to pencil in some people-watching while you're at it — downtown's a great place for this ultimate spectator sport, especially on weekend nights.