The Casa Bonita Art Show accepting entries until Feb. 6, opens Feb. 17

Do gorilla shows get your creative juices going? Do sopapillas send you? Does Black Bart’s Cave bring out your inner Botticelli? If so, then you have five days to enter your Casa Bonita-themed artwork into the 6th Annual Casa Bonita Art Show at NEXT Gallery in Lakewood.

Dreamt up in 2017 when the gallery moved from its former home in Denver’s West Highland neighborhood to 6501 W. Colfax Ave. – just a block-and-a-half from Casa Bonita – the show welcomes artwork from anyone, and in any medium. Pieces in previous years have been painted, sculpted and embroidered. They’ve crafted out of legos, gingerbread and ceramic (that last piece was a Cheez Whiz fountain using dyed-orange milk).

“Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I’m just blown away. People are so clever,” said artist Dolla B, who created and judges the show with fellow artist Andrew Novick. So far this year, NEXT has received around 40 submissions, which is more than last year.

“Some are working artists and some have never entered an art show in their life, said Dolla B, whose real name is Betsy Rudolph. “That was part of the idea after we moved. … Art galleries can come across as snooty and unapproachable so we put out a call for entries. The Casa Bonita theme isn’t as scary. It was a nice way to attract people, people who had never been a part of the art community, as well as patrons of Casa Bonita.”

And it worked. At an opening night a few years later, Dolla B overhead a woman say, “My favorite holiday is the Casa Bonita art show opening. It’s that fun.”

This year, the show opens on Feb. 17 and runs through March 4 at the gallery, which is in Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District. Casa Bonita itself, which has been closed since March 2020, is slated to reopen in May under the direction of its new owners, “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and with James Beard-award nominee chef Dana Rodriguez in the kitchen.

To submit, and for more information, go the the Casa Bonita Art Show online application website.

Previous shows have had themes, but this year, artwork simply needs to tell the tale of Casa Bonita — “the fables, the facts, the fictions, the legends,” according to the entry guidelines.

“It has to directly relate to Casa Bonita,” Dolla B said. “It can’t just be Mexican food. It can’t be too vague. Has to have a direct correlation.”

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