The Stanley Marketplace will welcome its first large-scale art exhibition this summer as it recreates Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes from Renaissance master Michelangelo.
“I visited it when I was in college in the late ’90s, and when you’re there you’re sort of straining upwards and looking from far away in a really big crowd,” said Bryant Palmer, chief storyteller at the Stanley. “These reproductions are life-sized and you’ll be standing a few feet in front of them, so producers have told us people respond really well to seeing the details up close — like peoples’ faces.”
Created by Las Vegas-based SEE Global Entertainment, which has also toured exhibits around painter Frida Kahlo and the Titanic, the event — called “Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” — is running July 6 through Aug. 13 as part of its Colorado debut. It will occupy the 10,000-square-foot Hangar in the 23-acre Stanley complex, which opened in 2016 after being refurbished from the former Stanley Aviation space — a design and testing facility for military aircraft ejection seats.
The Stanley’s owners are hoping to draw about 40,000 people over the six-week run, although they cautioned they have no point of comparison for this type of attraction. The idea is to route visitors back toward the 50-odd local food, drink, fitness and retail shops inside the Stanley proper, on the eastern edge of Denver in Aurora, just south of Stapleton at 2501 N. Dallas St.
“This would be the first real art exhibit we’ve done, and the longest event in that space,” Palmer said of the exhibition, which includes panels such as The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment. “But it’s done well at other spots like Houston and Dallas and around the world.”
The Stanley has been experimenting with artistic programming since it opened in December 2016, from stand-up comedy the third Wednesday of every month to the annual CherryArts Festival and pop-up art galleries. The last artistic program in the Hangar was the 30-day residency of “The Wild Party,” an immersive musical from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off Center company.
“A lot of (‘Wild Party’) was sold out, but that was around 200 people per night, and this is more like a museum in that it’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week,” Palmer said.
Stanley officials were impressed after visiting other area Renaissance exhibitions, such as “500 Years of Genius,” which opened at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in March to celebrate the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
“I learned more about the Mona Lisa in that exhibit than I’d ever known before,” Palmer said of “Genius,” which devotes a large room to studying the art and science of that famous portrait. “That’s the same idea here. Michelangelo painted these frescoes in about four years and there are 34 of them, so this is about appreciating their intricacy up-close and personal.”
The exhibition is a co-production of SEE Global and the Hangar, which are sharing the shipping and installation costs of “Sistine Chapel.” Palmer declined to say what those were, but added, “it wasn’t inexpensive.”
An optional guide is available with narrative accompaniment in four languages. General admission tickets are $11 through May 21 and $16 thereafter; $12 for seniors, active military, and students with valid ID; and $10 for groups of 10 or more. Same-day tickets will be for sale at the box office throughout the exhibit’s run.
Visit etix.com/ticket/v/14892/the-hangar-at-stanley to browse dates and times for the exhibit.