The ArtReach 7th Annual Dine & D’Art proved once again that the passion of Denver artists, long-time supporters, volunteers, and donors are more important than a fancy, sophisticated venue. Creative artistry (or wizardry) converted an old, abandoned Walgreen’s on Colfax Avenue in Lakewood into a kaleidoscope of colorful artworks from some of Denver’s most creative painters, mixed-media artists, sculptors and ceramicists, to name a few.

Some 300 guests attended the event for ArtReach, a 41-year old non-profit that provides access to Denver art venues and exhibits with its free ticketing program and arts education through after-school programs and summer art camps.

Established  nearly a decade ago, the Dine & D’art event allows participants to review artworks during a cocktail hour, enjoy dinner and at evening end get called in an auction system to run or “dart” to select their selection.

This year more than 60 artists donated nearly 100 pieces with a minimum value of $400 for auction.

Emcee Lauren Whitney of CBS4 introduced guests to the proceedings while artists Lonnie Hanzon and Brad Ramsey worked throughout the night on live paintings on multiple canvases spread some 30 feet across the back of the room.
Executive Director Karla Johnson-Grimes thanked guests and urged them to be polite as they raced to claim and capture a favorite painting or customized wooden furniture piece, ceramic platters or mosaics.

ArtReach Board Member and Event Chair Jeff Horvorka of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts described the organization’s impact and Board Member Brad Ramsey provided first-hand stories of working with at-risk youth. Auctioneer Tracy Weise lead the live auction and coaxed multiple bids from long-time supporters.

This year’s sponsors included CBS4, 92.5/The Wolf , Mix 100.3, Kool 105, Jay’s Valet, Callahan & Associates, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, The Denver Post, Frame de Art, The Wizard’s Chest, Liberty Waste Management, Table Mountain Inn, Scott and Shannon Pope, Cindy and David Hayes, Swingle, and Mesch Commercial Real Estate.

ArtReach’s unique ticketing program works with local schools and other organizations to access to the visual and performing arts and venues throughout Denver by providing free tickets to various cultural events including theatre, concerts and exhibits. ArtReach also funds and organizes after-school programs, art workshops, and summer camps to increase exposure to the arts for at-risk youth, developmentally disabled, seniors and other groups.

Hovorka announced the return this December of ArtReach’s Festival of Trees, a key signature event and popular citywide Denver attraction in the 1980s and 1990s. On hiatus since 2005, guests cheered their approval for the revival of the December holiday exhibit/fundraiser that auctions off decorative holiday wreaths and Christmas trees created by Denver artists. For more information about the organization visit artreachdenver.org.