October 6, 2023

The Octopus Initiative, MCA Denver’s Art Lending Library, is Back!


The Octopus Initiative Program is back! MCA Denver's Octopus Initiative offers any resident of the Denver metro area the chance to borrow and live with a work of art made by a Denver-based artist for ten months. The Program took a brief hiatus, but starting this month, artworks will be available again for favoriting and hearting. Our first lottery drawing will be in November. So get ready, get registered, and get excited!

But before you do, meet the curator of our first lottery, Gabriel Hutchings. Hutchings was born in Houston, Texas in 1994 and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He acquired his BFA at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is a multidisciplinary artist whose work connects the spaces between culture, sexuality, and gender. Being Filipino-American, queer, and transgender has a large impact on how he experiences life and influences the voice he uses throughout his work. Hutchings’ mission is to explore and bridge connections between the complexities of intersecting identities.


Headshot of Gabriel Hutchings, smiling with his arms crossed and posed against a brick wall.

Below is Hutchings’s curatorial statement surrounding his selection for the upcoming Octopus Initiative lottery:

The Soil of Identity

Land and identity have long been intertwined, reflecting the deep connection between individuals and their surrounding environment. This curated lottery explores the impact that land has on shaping and defining one's sense of self, whether through ancestral ties, geographical belonging, or personal narratives.

Carbon on paper artwork by Chris Oatey depicting an abstracted landscape in black, white, and gray.

Artist Chris Oatey contemplates the complexities of the US-Mexico border, national identity, and access, providing a profound exploration of interconnectivity. He was inspired by a surveyor team’s attempts to depict the diverse landscape of the border.


Suchitra Mattai’s work explores the role of land and environment in shaping identity, which transforms landscapes and cultural artifacts to evoke narratives of "the other" and reclaim historically rich objects.

Painting on vintage print that depicts a scenic, colorful landscape image.
Acrylic and polymer on paper depicting pink foliage covered by blue netting.

Jaime Carrejo bridges the connection between place and identity through the use of pattern and color. He draws inspiration from plants, textiles, and the Southwestern landscape to depict the collision between immigrants, the land they inhabit, and their existence within a challenging political environment.


This collection sheds light on the nuanced interplay between place and self. It invites the viewer to consider how the landscapes we inhabit not only serve as physical spaces but also act as mirrors, reflecting and echoing our individual and collective identities. Ultimately, this curated lottery serves as an invitation to contemplate the profound ways in which land not only shapes us, but also holds the power to heal, connect, and provide a sense of rootedness.

We can’t wait to start lending artwork again! Learn more about the Octopus Initiative Program and the artists featured here.