Join the Leadership Arts Alumni Network for an exclusive after hours experience at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, a century-long anchor in our cultural community. We will ground ourselves in its history and treasures that continue to reveal more about our society and natural surroundings. This event is your opportunity to learn more about some real hidden gems at the museum, as well as a peak behind the scenes.
See the only collection of the remarkable Vasily Konovalenko gem sculptures on public display outside of Moscow. Dr. Steve Nash, curator of archaeology and resident Konovalenko expert at the museum, will be available to share oodles of fun and little-known facts about these treasures. You’ll also have an opportunity to go inside the Botswana waterhole diorama and hear stories from Dr. John Demboski, curator of zoology! And, you’ll be enticed to return to the museum with two complimentary tickets to explore the special exhibit, Vikings: Beyond the Legend. That’s a lot to do in between mingling with fellow Leadership Arts graduates and enjoying delicious food and drinks (first drink is free, then cash bar).
This is the second event in the 2017 LAAN Event Series: A Tour Through the Elements. These quarterly events are designed to keep graduates of Leadership Arts connected to each other, to CBCA and to unique opportunities in our cultural community.
About the Konovalenko Gem Sculptures
Vasily Konovalenko (koh-noh-vuh-len-koh) was born in 1929 in Petrivka, Ukraine (just north of the Black Sea). After earning a degree in art and architecture, he became a stage designer for the Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. He worked on productions of Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and other classic operas and ballets. In 1957, while working at the Mariinka Theatre in St. Petersburg, Konovalenko produced sets for the ballet Stone Flower, in which the protagonist is a stonecutter. Konovalenko’s gem carvings for the ballet earned rave reviews, and he became smitten with the art form. Konovalenko continued to make gem sculptures throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Around 1974, American wholesale diamond dealer Jack Ortman saw the sculptures on display and offered Konovalenko a house in the United States, machinery, and minerals with which to work. In pursuit of freedom, Konovalenko and his family quickly emigrated. In the early 1980s, Museum trustee Alvin Cohen purchased 20 of the Konovalenko sculptures and made them available to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where they have been on display ever since.