Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Answer the Call for the Open For Design Challenge

This summer, the Denver Art Museum is opening the doors to its largest temporary exhibition space, the Anschutz gallery, to share your design solutions with the world. If you make it, we will show it (although, you’ll have to play by a few rules ).  We want everyone to be part of the Open For Design exhibition; any age, skill level, groups or individuals in Colorado can take part.

Design challenges are all around us, from the simple task of fixing a wobbly table to creating a community garden with your neighbors, identifying design issues and creating smart solutions has become a part of everyday life.

To celebrate a summer of design, the DAM is issuing a creative challenge to the community: Transform an everyday object or material into something that makes your neighborhood a better place.

Answer the call by making a design and we will exhibit it from August 4-September 2 in the museum—along with a few hundred of your fellow Coloradans. We are hosting the submission drop-off day on July 28.

We want you to take a look at the places you know best, right in your own ‘hood and look for design issues that needs fixing. Maybe it’s creating signage to point out those potholes you always hit on your bike, or doing something to improve the lonely look of a bus stop. Make a bird feeder for your local park or get together with neighbors to design a communal tool shed.  Whatever the solution, big or small, we want to share your great ideas with the world.

Your submission can take any 2-D or 3-D form, whether it’s an object, a model, a sketch or a photo of the design in action. You’ll also have to keep it within a 2’ x 2’ x 2’ footprint (maximum space, smaller designs are welcome too).  So if you are planning to go big, bring in a model of your idea or take a photo of the design installed on your block!  There’s also the friendly reminder that these submission will be displayed in the museum, which means no soils, liquids, living, hazardous or unsafe materials.  Keep it clean, folks.

We hope you are excited to take the challenge—we can’t wait to see what you create.  If you need some ideas or inspiration, check out our Open For Design Facebook event page for lots of photos, or just to ask us a question. Post a pic of project in progress or let everyone know you are hosting a design meet-up at your local coffee shop. Before the July 28 submission drop-off day, pre-register your creation by July 27 at 4 pm, and look at the FAQs we put together to hopefully answer all of your questions. Email us at openfordesign@denverartmuseum.org if you need help with something.

We’ll also keep you updated on events we’ll be at around town to get the design juices flowing. Now get designing, Colorado. We’ll be here patching the gallery and building the shelves for your big show!

Jaime Kopke is the adult and college program manager in the education department at the Denver Art Museum. She has been with the DAM since 2011 and is always scouting for community creatives to collaborate with for A&C programs. Send her an email.