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In the spirit of the Halloween season looming over Colorado, with changing leaves and brisk, dreary mornings, The Downtown Artery kicked off this spooky month with a First Friday reception of “Visions of Dracula,” a group art exhibition paired with live performances–an imaginative ode to vampire lore.

Attendees munched on assorted hors d’oeuvres as they funneled through the upstairs gallery and perused over 25 different artists’ devilish creations, whose works are available for purchase. Represented artists included Robert Zilla Riffey, Kelly Raeok, and Todd Cookman. Each work provided uniquely bloody interpretations of the night’s Dracula-inspired theme while maintaining a uniform bone-chilling artistic voice.

“You are standing at the entrance in the south wall of Dracula’s tomb…it is 30 minutes before sunset…” read a sign introducing the gallery. “Armed with only your seven silver stakes, you must now brave the horrors that lurk within…”

Although it is intentionally chilling, the reception posed as both an eerie kickoff and a philanthropic event. Sponsors of First Friday included Suerte Tequila and Vampfangs, and many Artery employees sporting sets of seemingly-authentic vampire fangs as they poured cocktails for spooky art enthusiasts. Proceeds of the night benefited Colorado Bat Rescues. Tables lined up in The Artery’s front room provided education on bat conversation and issues, as well as opportunities to donate.

Nicholas Lofaro of LoFaro Metalarts, the host and co-curator of the exhibit, contributed to the gallery his “Vlad Bathory Chiroptera,” an immense piece of amalgamated metalwork in the image of a bat. With an 8 foot wingspan of reclaimed steel and marble, illuminated with embedded LED lights, the auction for the piece started at $4000. 50% of the sculpture’s proceeds will benefit Colorado Bat Rescues and Colorado’s BatCREW, an association of Colorado licensed wildlife rehabilitators and volunteers dedicated to bat rescue, rehabilitation, and education.

On the downstairs stage, shrouded in smoke, the band Spaceman began the musical entertainment of the night with a psychedelic set. Dressed in celestial garb including alien masks and skin-tight one-pieces, members excited First Friday goers with a dreamy sound and vigorous dance moves performed on and off stage. Acts of the night also included the easy listening “cosmic country” band Bison Bone, who brought their folky, out-of-the-box sound, and the spirited Denver-based alternative rock group The Hollow, who, despite early sound issues, charmed audiences with energetic riffs and playful interactions with both the crowd and with The Artery’s sound engineer.

“We’re going to play for 42 more minutes,” said The Hollow frontman Spencer Townshend Hughes three minutes into the bands set, “So let’s get weird, yeah?”

The event continued deep into the evening with tracks provided by local DJ Echo. The exhibition remains open until the 27th of October to honor Dracula’s legend and arcane mysticism and to continue to bewitch art enthusiasts with dynamic interpretations of blood-thirsty legends.