Black in Denver

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Artist Bio:

Denver-based photographer, Narkita Gold has been honing her skills in digital photography since 2009. She’s passionate about arts and culture and finds inspiration in the human experience, city life, and architecture. She’s currently profiling the city’s movers, shakers, and every day folks about the Black experience in the Mile High City in her portrait and interview series, Black in Denver. Learn more at www.blackindenver.com.

Artist Statement about Collaboration with Leon:

The Black experience in Denver is unique, complex, and often overlooked. I’ve always believed representation matters, and seeing ourselves on the walls of museums and galleries is impactful, especially to our little ones. I am excited to bring my series to Leon Gallery to continue to celebrate diversity in blackness, shed light on our connectedness, and raise awareness about the power of being oneself.⁣

Originally, these portraits graced our front window, during the pandemic shutdown of the gallery, with plans to create a semi-permanent display on our flags, to bring the many truths of Denver’s Black community through Narkita’s project. We encourage you to learn more and hear the stories of our community members showcased here by visiting @blackindenver on Instagram. You can also follow Narkita @narkitagold⁠⠀

“Blackness is a Spectrum. We are all connected. We are here”. – Narkita Gold

Mural being created for Denver woman who was fatally shot while walking dog

KCVR – Fox 31 | 6/16/2020

Thomas Evans, a popular artist who goes by the name “Detour,” is painting the mural in Isabella Thallas’ honor.

“I wanted to use street art as a way to give a gift to the family and sort of help the healing process and grieving process,” Detour said.

The mural is going up on the side of the Leon Gallery at 17th Street and Park Avenue in Denver’s Uptown district.

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Leon Gallery grapples with representation among its artists and board

Denverite | 06/11/2020

Photographer Narkita Gold has been chronicling what it means to be Black in Denver in images and words in a project that went online in late 2018.

As protests against racism that are sweeping the country make her feel her work is even more important, Gold was asked to turn her Black in Denver photographs into banners to fly over Leon gallery. They will declare, she said, that “there are Black people here and we are amazing.

Photo by Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

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Being a nonprofit gallery means art and artists, not money, are the priorities at Leon

Denverite | 05/21/2020

Leon gallery’s directors are feeling fairly confident about finances. For now.

But “we will need to stay ahead of this so we don’t find ourselves another wonderful arts organization that had to close for various reasons, in this case the pandemic,” said Eric Dallimore, artistic director of the nonprofit art and event space at 1112 East 17th Avenue in the City Park West neighborhood.

Photo by Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

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Please Stand By

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A small gift of beauty & art for the world in our windows along 17th and Park Avenue.

Ongoing through mid July

Jared David Paul Anderson: April 22nd – May 4th

*Live Performances with Darkness & Stars

Venmo: @JDPboomboom

IG: @jareddavidpaul

Camille Rose Shortridge: May 6th -May18th

Venmo: @Camille-Shortridge-1

IG: @camill_ionaire

Michael Dowling: May 20th – May 28th

Venmo: @ifoundleon (Michael is generously donating all proceeds back to Leon)

IG: @michaeldowlingstudio

*Artwork will be available for purchase on a donation basis through each artists’s Venmo. 100% of donations go towards the artists.⁠

Although we cannot invite people to gather at Leon, or even go out of your way to come by, starting April 22, if you are in the neighborhood, perhaps on the way to or from picking up essentials or taking your daily walk, we will have something beautiful to offer if you glance our way. ⁠

Jared David Paul Anderson

If You Lay in a Bath as it Drains You Will Feel the Weight of the World

It is easy feeling the weight of the world these days. Nothing is black or white, it is all gray. That is the hardest part for me, the unknowing of it all. I do know these microscopic beings are much bigger than all of us and so I have surrendered. In quarantine I have found solace in full throttle art making. No answers here, just pause from a global pandemic painted in black and white, no gray.

Half of this exhibition is donation based art. I do not expect many people to be buying art at a time when jobs are lost and landlords still want to be paid rent. A simple act of appreciation to anybody practicing humanity.

JDP will be collaborating with Stephen Daniel Karpik (@sdk.forsale) for a live performance as Darkness & Stars during random moments of his installation, which you can tune in and view live on IG.⁠ In the spirit of surprise beauty, we may drop a hint when this is happening via Instagram, or you may just have to happen upon on your walk around the block.

Camille Rose Shortridge

It’s a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

I see many similarities between Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and my own. I live in Uptown, just two blocks away from Leon. From my windows overlooking the cross streets of 16th and Park Ave., everyday I see my neighbors outside enjoying walks or riding bikes with family and friends. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And yet, there is juxtaposition in that there is an underlying current trauma at the core that needs to be addressed. We’re not sure how to address it, we’re all trying to understand it.

For my installation as part of “Please Stand By”, I will be setting up my entire art studio inside the front window at Leon, where you can find me working daily. I want to give my neighbors a behind the scenes look inside the artists’ studio. A personal space that few ever get to enter into, and a space where as an artist I create work that is influenced by the realities of everyday. In sharing my space and practice with my neighborhood, I hope to offer a new experience that can perhaps bring us together in healing as we all learn how to adapt to these changing yet opportunistic times.

Michael Dowling

Isolation Collaboration

A series of eight collaborations set in our time of isolation. Each one will be a unique experiment in communicating and creating together with the physical barreir of a window between the artist and the viewer. Inputs will be exchanged from the viewers/collaborators, which will serve as the jumping off point for Michael’s new work and as moments of diversions for the current direction he may be painting in.

PLEASE NOTE – WE DO NOT encourage people to go out of their way, travel outside of their own neighborhoods, or violate the Stay-At-Home orders put in place by Governor Polis or Mayor Hancock. However, if you live in the neighborhood and are out getting exercise or en route to the grocery store, feel free to walk by and have a look. You can stand on the sidewalk outside the gallery and watch. But please remember to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.⁠

An artist at Leon Gallery connects with his audience live despite the limitations of these coronavirus times

Denverite | 05/14/2020

Playwright Brenton Weyi was ready for a change of scene.

Leon’s executive director Eric Nord had lined Weyi up for a performance art series that was to have taken place in the gallery last month. The six-performances series, titled “Was, Is, Will Be,” was shifted online and delayed until May because of the novel coronavirus.

Photo by Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

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