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COVID In Denver: Clyfford Still Museum Among Cultural Destinations Ordered To Close Under Level Red

DENVER (CBS4)- Some of Denver's cultural treasures will shut down again Friday evening. The Clyfford Still Museum is one of the smaller cultural sites that has been ordered to close as part of Denver's position on the COVID-19 dial- Level Red.

"Obviously we were very disappointed when we found out we needed to close again," said Sanya Andersen-Vie, director of marketing and communications for the museum. "This is typically our busiest time of year; November, December, you know with people visiting for the holidays, they bring their friends, their family."

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But not this year. The museum will remain closed for at least a month as COVID-19 has hit the city hard.

"We understand that cases are going up," said Andersen-Vie.

The Clyfford Still and the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art down the block will both shut down at 5 p.m. Friday. The Kirkland announced it plans to have some weekend hours. The Clyfford Still Museum will go entirely online. They hope to keep staff on.

The smaller museums are covered under the closure order because they are listed under the title of "Indoor Events."

"As opposed to gyms and other places that may operate at 10% capacity," said Andersen-Vie. "We are looking to change that at the next go around."

Some of the larger cultural facilities in Denver will remain open, like the Denver Zoo, The Botanic Gardens, the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Nature and Science. The State said in a reply to a CBS4 inquiry that when counties go to Level Red, variances "will be reevaluated." But did not elaborate on if that had already been done. The Botanic Gardens is opening its "Blossoms of Light" holiday display Friday night.

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Many cultural attractions in the city are already working to put out online content as the Clyfford Still plans to do. "

We have our entire collection online and you can actually drive through the museum virtually… But it doesn't replace coming and seeing the huge colorful canvases on the wall and being able to experience our beautiful architectural wonder here in Denver," said Andersen-Vie.

Some of the last visitors to the museum came in Thursday, which was one of the museum's monthly free days.

"You are really losing the arts when you close everything down and then you're not able to visit these spaces," said museum-goer Desiree Simpson.

Rachel Dodd noted online visiting was harder and she felt the in-person experience more important, "You have to be there presently. On a screen it's something completely different. There are other venues still allowing large crowds, like Broncos games, where thousands are still permitted to watch."

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"There's something there that's a little unbalanced with that. You know shutting down something like this," said Simpson.

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