Local band Handturkey performs during First Friday in the NoBo Arts District. Photo courtesy of Boulder Arts Week

The idea behind the city’s Boulder Arts Week is pretty simple, says program manager Abra Allan: build more awareness around the local art scene in Boulder by making it more accessible to people across the community. But with Covid-19 restrictions lifting after a tough couple years for artists and venues, the mission is taking on a new shade of urgency. 

“We feel like now is a really important time to remind people to get out there and buy a ticket to that event,” Allan says. “Support local artists, so we can continue to be this incredible, thriving arts community here in Boulder.”

Residents feeling restless after years of canceled gigs and shuttered arts spaces will have plenty of opportunities to follow Allan’s advice when the citywide culture bash returns this weekend, March 25–April 2. From live music to figure-drawing workshops, film screenings and more, you’ll find something for every taste across the nearly 100 events comprising Boulder’s biggest arts event of the year.

“This is really a win-win,” Allan says. “You get out and experience the arts and do something that’s really going to fill you up, while supporting the arts and arts organizations that are going to allow Boulder to continue being the really cool and creative community we all know it to be.”

With that in mind, here are five events on the Boulder Arts Week calendar you definitely won’t want to miss. 

Taj Mahal Sextet with Cary Morin
​​Friday, March 25 (8 p.m.) | $45–57
The Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.

The first night of Boulder Arts Week 2022 opens with a bang as blues legend Taj Mahal brings more than half a century of roots music history to the Boulder Theater. Known for his one-of-a-kind blues fusion drawing from the international sounds of the Caribbean, South Pacific, India, Africa and beyond, the two-time Grammy Award winner is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, having earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in 2014. 

“The blues is bigger than most people think,” Taj Mahal says in the press release for his latest tour. “You could hear Mozart play the blues. It might be more like a lament. It might be more melancholy. But I’m going to tell you: the blues is in there.”

NoBo Art Tours
Saturdays, March 26 & April 2 (1 p.m.) | Free
Various locations, North Broadway

Get up close and personal with the creative process during a two-weekend studio crawl across the burgeoning NoBo Arts District. The self-guided tour features 15 artist spaces, along with various galleries and pop-up locations throughout the North Broadway corridor. Check out the full map to plan your itinerary.

Can’t get enough NoBo? The district has lots of other Boulder Arts Week events in store, like a DIY art scavenger hunt, Month of Print (“Mo’ Print”) exhibitions and First Friday festivities, to name just a few. 

Boulder Ballet Dance Film Festival
Monday, March 28 (7 p.m.) | $20–25
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St.

Movement takes center stage at the Boulder Ballet Dance Film Festival, bringing together artists from across the disciplinary spectrum for an uplifting film program celebrating all things dance. The festival includes 21 short films featuring top performers from around the world, such as Jennifer Archibald, Katrina Wong, Angel Kaba and more. 

Catch the in-person event at the Dairy Arts Center’s Boedecker Theater on March 28 (along with a post-Boulder Arts Week screening on April 4) or grab your tickets to tune in virtually.

UndocuMonologues: Stories from Our Undocumented Neighbors
Wednesday, March 30 (noon) | Free
Naropa University Performing Arts Center, 2130 Arapahoe Ave.

Life in “the crosshairs of U.S. immigration policy” is the subject of a special storytelling event and performance presented by Motus Theater at the Naropa University Performing Arts Center. Visitors will experience moving personal monologues by undocumented Colorado residents, paired with slam poetry from Dominique Christina and a musical response from Uruguayan artist Elisa Garcia.

“I’ve never forgotten the look on my mom’s face as she walked into the darkness of an unknown country,” presenting monologist Cristian Solano Córdova says of his harrowing journey to the United States as a child. “That is when I first realized that the meaning of courage is not to pretend to be immune from fear, but rather to calmly and steadily take action in spite of it.”

B-Cycle Public Art Tour
Anytime | $15 bike rental day pass ($5 per half-hour)
Various locations, citywide 

Art looks better on two wheels. That’s the premise of this citywide tour of eye-popping public art, which you can take any time you feel like it. But the folks at Boulder Arts Week have made it easier to enjoy the view with a handy map of locations where you can find some of Boulder’s best murals, sculptures and artworks incorporated into public spaces across the city.

The B-Cycle Public Art Tour is a fun and eco-friendly way to experience the city’s outdoors and cultural offerings at the same time. Just hop on at one of the nonprofit bike share’s 38 stations across the city and start exploring.

These performances, exhibitions, screenings and tours are just a slice of what you can expect from Boulder Arts Week 2022. For a complete list of happenings between March 25–April 2, check out the full calendar of events.

Archived work by Jezy Grazy for Boulder Reporting Lab.