For many of us, we don’t know exactly what makes a piece of architecture or interior design appealing. There’s just something about it that we’re responding to.

Fortunately, there are organizations like the Denver Architecture Foundation and its annual Doors Open Denver event, which offers the opportunity not only to peek into exclusive spaces, but also to understand why we love a piece of design so much.

“This year, we explore the ways major institutions have influenced Denver architecture and design,” Pauline Herrera, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a statement provided. “Attendees will have privileged access to incredible spaces and will be encouraged to ask big questions at some of our most important educational and cultural campuses.”

Doors Open Denver returns Monday, September 26 through Sunday, October 26 and features both new in-person and virtual tours as well as an archive featuring virtual tours from previous years.

The 2022 event features 24 in-person tours that highlight Denver’s cultural and educational hubs, including the Denver Zoo (which is being featured with tours for the first time), University of Denver, Auraria Higher Education Center and the Denver Center of the Performing Arts Complex.

In addition to in-person options, sightseers can use eight new free virtual experiences to explore spaces in the metro and Colorado Springs area, including the Historic Elitch Theater, Red Rocks and the United States Air Force Academy.

In addition to the tours, there’s the annual Y/OUR Denver Photography Contest, which is hosted by the Architecture Foundation and the Colorado Photographic Arts Center. It is open to all photographers and participants are invited to submit their photos of architectural spaces in the metropolitan area that capture their imagination. According to the information provided, all forms of architectural imagery are welcome: black and white, color, exterior, interior and detail images. 30 images will be selected from submissions to be featured in an online exhibition in December.

No matter what kind of space you are in, you are bound to learn something and get a healthy dose of inspiration. For all the necessary information, visit denverarchitecture.org.

Dance the night away with Miners Alley Playhouse

If you have paid attention to the enormous work of Golden Miners’ Alley Theater done over the past few years, then you know how innovative and welcoming a true community theater company can be. And that was just the first act.

To kick off the company’s next act, celebrate all that’s been accomplished so far, and honor the current production of “Hair,” Miners Alley is launching its Gala “Let the sun in” fundraising at the Colorado School of Mines Green Center (Freidhoff Hall)924 16th St. in Golden, 6-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.

Attendees will be treated to live entertainment from the “Hair” cast, dancing, a full buffet dinner and cocktail reception, and more. Get all the details at https://minersalley.com/.

Walker Fine Art examines the natural world

It only takes a simple newsreader to see that there is a reason why so many people are worried about the state of the climate and the environment. Mixed in with all the beauty the world has to offer, there is danger and fear for the future of the planet.

“Environmental Thoughts” the last exhibition Fine Arts Walker300 West 11th Ave., No. A, in Denver, gives six artists – Theresa Clowes, Elaine Coombs, George Kozman, Bryan Leister, Heather Patterson and Zelda Zinn – the opportunity to explore their understanding and appreciation of landscape, climate and habitat.

The exhibition runs at the gallery until Saturday, November 18. Find all the information on www.walkerfineart.com.

Clarke Concert of the Week – Jackson Browne at Red Rocks

I’m of the opinion that if you write a song as good as “These Days”, you should be able to stay calm for the rest of your life. The fact that Jackson Brown wrote that song when he was 16 and went on to have a decades-long career full of other mind-blowing songs just isn’t fair – I mean, “For A Dancer?” “Works empty? “The suitor?” Just bulletproof.

It’s a treat that one of rock’s greatest songwriters will be playing at red rocks18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 25. Don’t miss the chance to see one of the best around – buy tickets at axs.com.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears weekly. He can be contacted at [email protected]