Try It: Denver ‘Trade School’ Offers OR-Themed Events

In Denver this week? Brands, artists, athletes, and enthusiasts convene during Outdoor Retailer for five days of ‘outdoor-themed’ events. And you can go!

trade show art

Most of the outdoors world will flock to Denver for Outdoor Retailer this week, stampeding through the Colorado Convention Center. Media, brands, and retailers will discuss new product launches and industry news. But if you’re not accredited, you won’t be in on the action.

A coalition of Colorado-based art, education, and commerce organizations want the public in on the fun too. So during the same five days Outdoor Retailer caters to professionals, “Trade School” will host outdoor-themed artist exhibitions and “inspirational talks.”

Included in the Trade School events are brand-hosted happy hours, live podcasts, panel discussions with government officials, and more.

OR Alternative: Trade School Events Open to the Public

trade school art

Conceived by Something Independent, the Denver Theatre District, and the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, Trade School will take place at Denver’s Understudy gallery Jan. 24–28. Everything will be free and open to everyone, but each session operates on a first come, first served basis.

While organizers note “Understudy is an intimate venue with limited seating available” for about 40 patrons, all talks will stream on Facebook and air live at The Commons on Champa adjacent to the Trade School.

Those interested in attending should check out the full schedule here. Below are some highlights from each day.

Wednesday, Jan. 24

Maintaining Soul through Growth: Representatives from Burton, Topo Designs, and Oskar Blues Brewery will talk about how brands “stay true to your roots” after successful growth. Best of all, Oskar Blues kicks off a happy hour afterward!

Thursday, Jan. 25

Crazy 8s: The State(s) of Outdoor RecreationOfficials from eight state outdoor recreation offices – Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming – pull back the curtain on how state governments serve their outdoor industries.

Friday, Jan. 26

Inclusion in the Outdoors: Members of the Keystone Policy Center and cityWILD discuss tools to increase diversity in outdoor programs. As part of the presentation, the group will highlight the Next 100 Coalition, an organization aimed at creating racial and ethnic diversity around public lands.

Shamans of the Shack: The Quiet Work of PatrolFour ski patrol veterans talk about the camaraderie, friendship, and pride that comes with the job. What is it like to be on patrol? Can other groups discover the same unity? Who should be a patroller? Everything you’ve wanted to know about these “snow angels” will be at this event.

Saturday, Jan. 27

Tools of the Trade: ‘Juicy Bits’ Live PodcastJen Gurecki, Coalition Snow’s “Juicy Bits” podcast host, sits down with BoldBrew‘s Amanda Goad to look at “the state of women in the outdoor industry and beyond.”

Sunday, Jan. 28

Idaho Springs: Mining the Future: How does rural America fit into the outdoor industry? Members of The Argo redevelopment and Clear Creek RapidGrass Bluegrass Festival will look at the impact of creative endeavors and community outside city limits. Plus, enjoy a short acoustic set to follow.

Art of the Outdoors at ‘Trade School’

In case you can’t grab a seat or are looking for more to do during Outdoor Retailer, Trade School will host a gallery show throughout the event.

Original works from Colorado artists Sarah Uhl, Jack Ludlam, and John Fellows include paintings, photography, and collage.

Trade School adds to the new culture of Outdoor Retailer in Denver. Along with these events, the public can attend OR presentations and panel discussions, a movie night at the Bellco Theater, and an Outdoor Industry Association concert at Red Rocks dubbed Winter on the Rocks.

And who knows, maybe we’ll see you out there!

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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