McNichols Civic Center Building reopens with artistic odes to baseball

The space will premiere three exhibitions curated in collaboration with the MLB All-Star Game.
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The McNichols Building in Civic Center Park, the day before it re-opens. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) mcnichols; civic center park; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;

Denver's McNichols Civic Center Building is reopening to visitors and for event bookings after shuttering last fall because of the pandemic. The building will kick off its programming this weekend with three summer art exhibitions, curated in collaboration with Major League Baseball to celebrate the All-Star Game coming to town.

"We are excited to reopen the McNichols Civic Center Building, one of our community's favorite arts, culture and entertainment venues," Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues' director of Cultural Affairs said in a statement. "A rich partnership with Major League Baseball and local creatives and artists, plus a critically acclaimed collaborative exhibit, are perfect ways to celebrate getting back to business and our commitment to our city's cultural sector."

One of the exhibitions, Shades of Greatness, will take over the first floor of the building and showcase works from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City, Missouri. The museum opened in 1991 and launched an art exhibit also inspired by the Negro Leagues in 2003. It includes 35 original pieces by 28 artists.

"The style and creativity displayed in the Negro Leagues made baseball an art form. This exhibit beautifully captures that spirit," said Bob Kendrick, president of NLBM, in a press release. "It uses the power of the visual arts to enlighten and educate the public about an important but once forgotten chapter of baseball and American history."

Black Love Mural Festival Remix, an exhibition staged in the building's second-floor Boettcher Cultural Pavilion, will showcase works by local artists who've participated in Denver's Black Love Mural Festival. The exhibit will feature 30 new works by some internationally known and other rising artists.

All-Star Alliance: Denver's Cross-Cultural Muralists is a third-floor exhibition highlighting art by some of Denver's most celebrated muralists like Karma Leigh, Tuke One, Detour, LaDopa and Moe Gram. The artists were each commissioned by MLB to create baseball-themed pieces. This exhibition will also host live paintings, including by Casey Kawaguchi and Zaida Sever at 2 p.m. on July 10, and by Kawaguchi and Tuke One at 12:30 p.m. on July 11.

The McNichols Civic Center Building officially reopens on Thursday, July 8, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be a live DJ, refreshments and a panel discussion led by Black Love Mural Festival organizers. The free exhibitions run through October 3, and they will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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