For the past six weeks, painter Michael Gadlin has been working with a group of six- to fourteen-year-old budding artists to put together a show, Essence & Elements, for PlatteForum. He's the latest in a long string of artists who have participated in the organization's goal of introducing low-income youngsters to the liberating influence of the fine arts by inviting artists from the community to serve as "creative residents."

A Denver native, Gadlin studied at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute and has been exhibiting — and selling — his artwork since he was in high school.

That work, along with that of his young collaborators (Ashley, Rayann, Ariana, Andrew, Olivia, Jaime, Jerry, Maria, Anhelica, Danielle, Isaac and Terry), will be featured in the exhibit, which opens tonight at PlatteForum,1610 Little Raven Street. All of the kids were referred to the program by the Colfax Community Network, an advocacy group for families who live in transient housing.

The opening reception starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 8; the show continues through January 8. For information, call 303-893-0791 or check out
Dec. 17-Jan. 8, 2009