$25 million will launch art museum renovation
It’s obvious now why invitations to the 36th Collectors’ Choice were shaped like the Denver Art Museum’s North Building.
The design was a hint of what was to come.
At the stroke of 9 p.m., the record 500 guests attending this Dec. 8 gala learned that the 2016 honorees — DAM board chair J. Landis “Lanny” Martin and his wife, Sharon — had pledged $25 million to launch an extensive remake of the iconic 1971 structure designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti, in cooperation with the Denver-based firm James Sudler Associates.
As a means of saying thank you, the building will be renamed in the Martins’ honor.
Museum director Christoph Heinrich lauded the Martins for their longstanding commitment to the DAM, noting that their support has “elevated the museum into a national and international destination.”
“Their $25 million gift will launch a new era … and ensure the highest quality programs and service to our 700,000 annual visitors.”
Collectors’ Choice 36 was chaired by three couples who are among the Martins’ closest friends: Chris and Joy Dinsdale, William Matthews and Laura Martin and Fred and Jana Bartlit. Gov. John Hickenlooper and his wife, Robin Pringle Hickenlooper, were the honorary chairmen, along with Jane Hamilton, widow of another of the museum’s major benefactors, Fred Hamilton.
The $830,000 that was raised was the most in Collectors’ Choice history.
News of the Martins’ gift wasn’t the only surprise that night.
Lanny Martin, the founder and managing director of Platte River Ventures, received both his bachelor of science in business administration and juris doctor degrees from Northwestern University and so organizers of the gala thought it would be pretty cool to have Northwestern’s marching band travel to Denver and do a number or two.
The Martins are also big fans of opera — Lanny is president and chairman emeritus of the Central City Opera, titles he also holds with the Houston Grand Opera, and Sharon is a past president of the Central City Opera Guild — so it was only natural to include some arias in the evening’s entertainment.
Lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani, who has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House and the San Francisco Opera, came in from his home in New York to perform.
From left: Mike and Karen Long, Chris and Joy Dinsdale (Collectors’ Choice 36 gala chairs) and Marilyn Coors.
From left: Jorge Silvetti of Boston-based Machado Silvetti Architects, and honorees Sharon Martin and Denver Art Museum Board Chairman J. Landis (Lanny) Martin. Steve Peterson, for the Denver Art Museum
Tom and Michelle Whitten and Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer director of the Denver Art Museum.
William Matthews and Laura Barton, Collectors’ Choice 36 gala chairs.
Jana and Fred Bartlit, Collectors’ Choice 36 gala chairs.
Chris and Lu Law.