Praise flowed as freely as fine Silver Oak wine at âUnveiled,â the Oct. 15 gala celebrating the completion of the $ 175 million renovation and expansion of the Denver Art Museum.
The project, which has been underway for over a decade, resulted in a ‘reinvented’ campus with an elaborate remake of the 50-year-old North Building, which was the only completed building by Italian architect Gio Ponti in America. du Nord and the addition of the magnificent Sie Welcome. Center.
The $ 1.5 million gala was as unique and elaborate an event as the venue itself.
It was a night where 600 guests, all dressed as new, were able to explore the magnificent new spaces and where the architects, gallery designers, construction team and museum staff were able to savor the praise for a job well done. .
It was also a joyful evening to be part of a crowd that appreciates and supports the important role that art plays in the well-being of everyone. And, a night when generous souls who have given millions, thousands or hundreds of dollars could bask in the knowledge that their generosity will be appreciated for generations to come.
“It’s really beautiful,” said Jane Hamilton, as she stopped to admire the ground floor of the Sie Welcome Center. Hamilton’s late husband, Fred, was a past chairman of the board of directors of DAM and the one who gave his Hamilton building his name. She also donated 22 Impressionist paintings from her husband’s collection to DAM, “And now we have the right ground to exhibit them,” said museum director Christoph Heinrich.
The new and expanded spaces, added Heinrich, were designed to be both welcoming and inclusive. âArt unites us all,â he said. âIt opens up a perspective on the joys and intricacies of life. “
His wife, Kira van Lil, assistant professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of Colorado Boulder, wore the red dress she wore when she and Cristoph married in Frankfurt, Germany 27 years ago .
Their wedding, she recalls, took place “on a similar fall day” and because the wedding and the gala were “very special occasions,” the decision to take the dress back on was an easy choice.
âI love, love, love this building,â exclaimed Deborah Jordy, district manager of science and cultural facilities, whose artistic career began at DAM. She started as an assistant to the exhibition design team and rose through the ranks to become an associate curator of modern art.
Barry Hirschfeld described the design of the Martin Building, by the architectural team of Jorge Silvetti and Stephanie Randazzo Dwyer of the Boston firm Machado Silvetti and Curtis Fentress and Fentress Architects of Denver, as “a complete knockout”. It is, he added, âa great tribute to Gio Ponti. Sometimes people don’t like someone playing with their stuff, but (if Ponti was still alive) he would have loved it.
Hirschfeld and his wife, Arlene, funded the family atrium A. Barry and Arlene Hirschfeld, located on the first floor of the Martin Building. Barry is a former chairman of the board of directors of DAM and Arlene is the longest serving director of DAM.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock predicted that the Sturm Grand Pavilion atop the Sie Welcome Center would become “Grand Central for weddings and other celebrations.”
DAM’s initial plan for a $ 150 million expansion and renovation, which grew to a $ 175 million project, was started with a voter-approved bond issue of $ 35.5 million and a fundraising campaign generating donations including gifts from Lanny and Sharon Martin ($ 25 million). Anna and John J. Sie ($ 12 million) and $ 25 million from a donor who chose to remain anonymous.
Lanny Martin is Chairman of the Board of Directors of DAM, former Managing Director of NL Industries and Founder / Managing Director of Platte River Ventures. John Sie founded the Starz television network and, along with his wife, has donated millions of dollars to Down syndrome research and treatment, inspired by granddaughter Sophia Whitten, born with Down syndrome.
Anna Sie said the completion of the Visitor Center is “a dream come true and (John and I) are so happy to be here to see it”.
The public reopening of the DAM is on October 24.