In the past, Boulder has been named the happiest city in the U.S., the best city to raise an outdoor child and the No. 1 place to live — if you’re a Janus Supercomputer.

More recently, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, Boulder was tagged as the city with the third-highest concentration of artists, just behind Los Angeles and Santa Fe, N.M.

Though Boulder is by no means the best city to live in for starving artists — the median monthly cost of rent is $2,800, according to Zillow’s latest numbers — the city’s undeniable natural beauty is a top selling point for creatives searching for that extra bit of inspiration.

“There’s a lot of good reasons to be here as an artist,” said Todd Morton, one of said creatives. “You’ve got the foothills and the nature and the scenery to inspire [you].”

Morton, a theater director, moved to Boulder from Boston during the pandemic, and his latest production, “Every Brilliant Thing” is set to be featured in the upcoming Boulder Arts Week — a seven-day celebration showcasing all that the city’s vibrant art scene has to offer.

Kicking off Friday and running through April 15, Boulder Arts Week will feature art exhibitions, theatrical performances, mural displays, musical events and everything in between from area artists.

According to Morton, Boulder Arts Week offers a perfect opportunity to bring theater to Boulder’s downtown.

“I live a couple of blocks away from Pearl Street, and there’s always so many people walking around on Pearl,” Morton said. “There’s a couple of music venues, but there’s no live theater.

“A lot of people go to Pearl Street without wanting to commit to anything — they go for dinner, for a stroll, to people watch. I thought to myself, ‘Well, maybe a play is something that people would be inclined to see as a spontaneous purchase.”

“Every Brilliant Thing” is a play about a child being raised by a mother who is battling chronic depression. The mother attempts to commit suicide several times throughout the main character’s life, so the character creates a list of every brilliant thing worth living for in an attempt to comfort the mother.

A unique thing about the play, according to Morton, is that the script — authored by renowned English playwright Duncan Macmillan — is written so that the protagonist can be played by a person of any gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical ability.

The play is also interactive, so members of the audience will have the opportunity to participate in the play themselves, and become a part of the story.

“It’s a dynamic and duplicitous piece of theater,” Morton said. “Right now, our society is in great need of moments where we’re immersed in other people and we connect with other people. I think people are going to leave this show grateful for having spent time in a room with others. The message of this play is that you can always work to develop a perspective that there are many, many things in life worth living for.”

The play hit the stage at the R Gallery, 2027 Broadway, in downtown Boulder last weekend and will be staged there on weekends through May 14. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 1 and 4 p.m.

Strolling through sound

The Ars Nova Singers’ latest work, which will also be featured as part of Boulder Arts Week, was — like Morton — also inspired by scenic Boulder. The iconic a cappella vocal ensemble collaborated with Boulder-raised composer Divya Maus to bring listeners “Ascent: A Boulder Soundwalk” — an immersive, unconventional and deeply personal musical experience that guides listeners through a walk along the Boulder Creek to Scott Carpenter Park.

Listeners can tune in via an app that is then triggered by GPS. As the listeners begin to move, different musical pieces are prompted by a specific location. The app also offers two different versions of the concert — a walking version and a wheel-friendly version.

The concert is broken up into three main movements: “Ascent,” “Vista” and “Comes the Water,” which are all correlated with and were inspired by different features of Scott Carpenter Park.

Kimberly Brody, Ars Nova Singers’ executive director, said that the self-prompted soundwalk gives listeners the freedom to experience a concert at their own pace.

“We loved the idea because there’s a certain way that classical music is performed, and a way that it’s listened to,” Brody said. “Typically, you expect to go into a concert hall and sit in a seat quietly for 45 minutes and listen to the performers and clap in between — there’s just kind of a typical and formulaic way to do it. We loved the idea of something completely out of our usual scope of doing things. And to make it more accessible to so many more people.”

Maus has composed two other soundwalks, one of which was installed in Cheeseman Park in Denver, and the other in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

According to Brody, Maus approached Ars Nova Singers with the idea for a soundwalk to pay homage to Boulder’s natural beauty.

“It’s cool that we’re a Boulder organization, its music composed by a Boulder native, so it’s a very Boulder-specific event and composition,” Brody said. “We want listeners to see how beautiful Boulder is, and we want listeners to hear how beautiful Boulder is.”


Further up the road from Scott Carpenter Park, Boulder High students will be showcasing several different art pieces at University Hill’s Spanish- and Moroccan-inspired restaurant Cafe Aion, 1235 Pennsylvania Ave., as a part of Boulder Arts Week.

“It’s All In Your Head” features work from 16 Boulder High juniors and seniors who have used their creativity to portray what is going on inside of their minds. The exhibit, according to local artist Rick Dallago, is a testament to the talent and mastery demonstrated by this young generation of emerging artists.

“It’s All In Your Head” is an invitation for viewers to peek into the minds of the students through their art that depicts everything from dreams to nightmares and expressions of mental health issues.

“These pieces are incredible and so conceptual,” Dallago said. “The things that these kids did, this work is very, very personal, raw and revealing. It’s a very powerful show that these kids did.”

Dallago, who curated “It’s All In Your Head,” is also hosting an art critique group at the R Gallery and Wine Bar.

The critique group, according to Dallago, will be a live version of an online art group that began during the pandemic as a way for artists to support one another during lockdown.

“We would meet religiously every Saturday morning at 11, and it’s grown in the past couple of years,” Dallago said. “Now we have members from Virginia, Brazil and New England.”

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the online critique group will meet again — but this time, in person. Although, some members will still be joining from afar on Zoom.

“I believe that Boulder should be more recognized as an arts destination than it is, but it can only happen if we do it from the bottom up, and from the artists up,” Dallago said. “We have a lot of groups and organizations in the area, and Boulder Arts Week is a great place for these artists to intersect and interact.”

For a full list of the events going on at Boulder Arts Week, visit