Coming Attractions

Thornton Arts welcomes the summer

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


The Thornton Arts and Culture Division is emerging from the COVID-19 closedown with several free activities that provide artistic connection and take into account the need to keep attendees safe.

“We’ve been looking for ways to deliver creative experiences to our communities,” said Alisa Zimmerman, arts and culture manager with the City of Thornton. “It’s going to be a work in progress — something we’ll tweak as we go through summer. We want the arts to be a way people can engage in a positive way.”

The first activity, Lumonics Mind Spa: Thornton, runs through Sept. 25 in the OZ Gallery at the Thornton Arts and Culture Center, 9209 Dorothy Blvd. The Denver-based Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery worked to create the installation which, according to provided information, uses “the light sculptures of artists Dorothy Tanner and Mel Tanner, and the video art and music of Marc Ballard and Dorothy Tanner, to create a soothing space for reflection and contemplation.”

As Zimmerman explained, there can be no more than 10 people in the gallery at a time, but while there they can meditate or bring their own art supplies to create in the multi-sensory installation.

“It’s a bit like the Calm app. We want people to come, get out of their homes, mellow out in this space and see how art can be different than a framed picture,” she said. “It’s really a different experience, and people might get something different from it each time. We hope people leave and feel a little renewed, refreshed and not so stressed.”

Thornton Arts is also offering two musical options — the annual Twist & Shout Summer Concerts and Ward ice cream socials and the new Acoustic Tuesdays Concert Series. Attendees will have to follow numerous safety guidelines, and maximum attendance is 250 people per concert, but they will also be live-streamed.

The Twist & Shout concerts run from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Thursdays from July 9 through Aug. 27 at Carpenter Park Field, 11151 Colorado Blvd. Bands will perform in a variety of genres, ranging from patriotic classics to Motown, the 80s and bluegrass. Free ice cream will be served at Ward concerts in August.

As for the new Acoustic Tuesdays Concerts, these run 7-8 p.m., from July 7 through Sept. 15 at Lu Murray Park, 9211 Dorothy Blvd. These performances will focus on celebrating different cultures and holidays through storytelling and dance.

As the summer progresses, Thornton Arts will continue looking at ways to connect residents with creativity. And residents can support them by donating to the Thornton Arts, Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO).

“We’ve been doing lots of sharing on Facebook and Instagram, reaching out with a survey on ways to connect, and are still pursuing public arts projects,” Zimmerman said. “We hope people find a great art escape.”

For details on events, call 720-977-5880 or visit


Celebrate a virtual Junteenth

Marking Juneteenth — which commemorates the ending of slavery and the beginning of African American independence in the US on June 19, 1865 — in 2020 requires bringing all the celebrations to a virtual space on Thursday, June 18.

The online event will feature musicians, merchants, artisans, comedians and other creatives from all over the world, and will also include three virtual competitions: global buckdown dance, barz cypher and comedy club. On Friday, the 19 there will be an #IamJuneteenth celebration campaign and people can get involved with the effort to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

The festival and information can be found at

Clarke’s Concert of the Week - James Brown Live in Boston

Legendary soul-man James Brown was scheduled to perform at the Boston Garden on the day following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, but the city’s mayor wanted to cancel the performance out of fears that it would lead to violence. With the help of African American councilmember Tom Atkins, Brown and the city reached a deal to broadcast the performance on television, in the hopes that people would stay in to watch.

The idea mostly worked and watching the concert now, it’s easy to see why. Brown is incandescent, bringing all his talent, charisma and humanity to bear for a moment when he was needed most. The performance is a quintessential display of the unifying and healing power of music. It can be streamed in its entirety on the James Brown Channel on YouTube.


Streaming style - ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

In 2016 filmmaker Raoul Peck used James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House,” as the basis for his blistering documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro.”

The film analyzes the history of racism in the US (both historic and current) by exploring the lives and deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks to footage from Baldwin’s speeches and television interviews, audiences get to hear from the man himself about all the work still to be done. It stays with you.


The film is available for free streaming on PBS, Jefferson County Public Library’s Hoopla program and for Amazon Prime members.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at


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