By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s contemporary art museum is supporting local artists and sharing their work with the public by buying hundreds of works of art and letting people enter a lottery to take that art home for up to a year for free.

art 3 Octopus Initiative Allows Contemporary Art Fans To Take Pieces Home

(credit: CBS)

“It literally took us five minutes to come up with this idea as soon as we started with the question, ‘What can we do for artists?” said Adam Lerner, the Mark G. Falcone Director of MCA Denver. “Let’s buy the works from the best artists in the city and let’s give it away to our visitors and let them take it home with them for up to a year.”

The Octopus Initiative is the first ever “art library” for Denver. Like an octopus, the idea is to reach out to those that create art and those that want to experience it directly and personally. The MCA is buying 150 works of art this year and will display them at the museum. The public can view them in person or online and select the works they would like to bring into their own home. A lottery will determine the winner for each piece of art.

art 1 Octopus Initiative Allows Contemporary Art Fans To Take Pieces Home

(credit: CBS)

“Every one of the works that we have on display now is something that we would display at the museum,” said Lerner. “It’s museum quality work.”

The initiative comes as Denver experiences tremendous growth but many in the art world may not be able to enjoy that success.
“The artists of our city maybe feel like they aren’t entirely a part of that prosperity,” said Lerner. “So we wanted to do something to support them.”

art 2 Octopus Initiative Allows Contemporary Art Fans To Take Pieces Home

(credit: CBS)

The MCA has fundraised for this project so it can continue year after year with an initial commitment of 500 works of art.

“We felt like that was like the most democratic thing we could do,” he said. “The best way that we can really get art into our city.”

LINK: Octopus Initiative | MCA Denver

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


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