With an impressive collection of more than 60,000 works of art, the Denver Art Museum is regarded as one of the pre- mier institutions of its kind in the western United States. From its Native American crafts to Asian and African artwork to modern sculpture, the museum houses a diverse range of master- pieces from around the world and offers engaging programs that appeal to both novices and art connoisseurs. The museum 9s rich history dates back to 1893, when a group of Denver paint- ers and sculptors established an arts association to exhibit the work of local artisans.
The Artists 9 Club, which was renamed the Denver Art Museum thirty years later, received strong support from municipal and cultural leaders, and one year later, became the official art agency of the city. In the early years, temporary exhib- its and educational programs were the major focus of the organization as it struggled to settle into a permanent location. The museum 9s collections were moved around from the public library to the historic Chappell House, and later to the City and County Building.
It was DENVER ART MUSEUM While the exterior of the museum evokes a sense of grandeur, the inside is ... more. less.
warm and welcoming with a friendly staff and an eye-pleasing arrangement of collections. In fact, enhancing the art experience for its visitors is a primary objective of the museum 9s directors. Through tours, classes, and various in- teractive programs, people of all ages and backgrounds discover that a trip to the Denver Art Museum is both edu- cational and fun.<br><br> not until the 1940s that the museum was finally able to gather all of its col- lections under one roof at a site south of Civic Center Park. The Denver Art Museum moved into its current home on 14th Avenue Parkway in 1971. The two-towered, seven-story build- ing is a work of art in itself.<br><br> Designed by Gio Ponti of Italy in cooperation with James Sudler Associates of Denver, this castle-like structure has twenty-six sides covered with more than one million shimmering gray tiles specially made by Dow Corning. cPonti Finished d 4Covered in more than 1 million gray glass tiles, the North Building anchors the southern end of Denver 9s Civic Center Park alongside the Denver Central Library. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.<br><br> The Denver Art Museum 9s display of Pre- Columbian artwork is termed a cstudy gallery d because most of the department 9s 7,000 objects are on view and available for study by researchers and scholars from around the world. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum. The Denver Art Museum has one of the most comprehensive and important collections of American Indian art in the world and was the first museum to collect these objects for their artistic value.<br><br> Dream Shields / No da khi/ho ma ni yoo , 2003, by Gordon Yellowman and William O 9Connor. Photograph; 35-1/2 x 38-1/2 inches. Collection of the Denver Art Museum.<br><br> 288 COLORADO cFrom young school children to se- nior adults, from first time visitors to art aficionados, we want to reach out to everyone in the community, d said Andrea Fulton, Public Relations Direc- tor for the museum. cSome people feel they have to be educated about art be- fore they can come to a museum. Our philosophy is the exact opposite.<br><br> We say come even if you don 9t know a lot about art, and you will learn while you are here. d Eight curatorial departments make up the museum 9s permanent collection: Architecture, Design, and Graphics; Asian; Modern and Contemporary; Native Arts; Pre-Columbian and Span- ish Colonial; American and European Painting and Sculpture; the Institute of Western American Art; and the Depart- ment of Textile Art. The Native Arts department houses what is considered one of the largest and finest collections of North American Indian handicrafts in the world. The 19,000 objects make up the principal group of works in the museum, and rep- resent all aspects of American Indian life and culture.<br><br> From utilitarian objects to fine art, the ever-growing collection in- cludes Navajo weavings, Pueblo pottery, Eskimo ivory carvings, Plains beadwork, contemporary art, and much more. The Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial collection is also highly re- garded and contains over 8,000 objects from the ancient cultures of Central, South, and Mesoamerica. Paintings, sculpture, furniture, and an exceptional collection of silver and decorative ob- jects from the Spanish Colonial Period are all on view.<br><br> the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) was created by voters in the seven-county metropolitan area to help support over 300 nonprofit orga- nizations involved in the arts, sciences, and cultural activities. A penny sales tax on every $10 spent goes directly to the SCFD and is distributed to qualifying organizations in proportionate amounts. Funding for approximately one-third of the operating budget for the Denver Art Museum is derived from this program.<br><br> Exciting times are ahead as the mu- seum undergoes a major expansion that will nearly double the size of the exist- ing facility. The 146,000-square-foot Frederic C. Hamilton Building will span the length of a city block and is slated to open in the fall of 2006.<br><br> It will be situated south of the North Building, with the two structures connected by a second-story bridge. Clad in titanium with a series of an- gular forms likened to origami, the Hamilton Building 9s striking architecture will become a celebrated landmark on the Denver cityscape. It was designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, designer of the Jewish Museum Berlin and other current projects in Canada, Germany and Japan.<br><br> Once completed, the Hamilton Building will house three changing exhibition spaces, fea- ture new galleries, and offer magnificent mountain vistas from its third floor sculpture garden. The Denver Art Museum is an architectural gem in the heart of downtown Denver, offering two of the most unique structures in the state. With collections span- ning the world and activities for all ages and levels of art experience, it is a worth- while destination for all types of culture-seeking visitors.<br><br> Activities for children and families can be found throughout the Denver Art Museum, including the cEye Spy d game seen here, which lets visitors search the galleries matching the clues on the games to paintings or objects in the museum. Dream of Arcadia by Thomas Cole, collection of the Denver Art Museum. This rendering shows the completed Denver Art Museum complex, including the 146,000-square- foot expansion designed by Daniel Libeskind on the left, and the North Building completed in 1971.<br><br> Image by Miller Hare. Inside the museum gift shop, a vari- ety of art-related merchandise, books, and jewelry are available for purchase. A restaurant and a café are also located on the site.<br><br> With so much to see and do, a num- ber of innovative programs can make a tour of the museum engaging for fami- lies and school groups. The cJust for Fun d Family Center offers hands-on fun at seven play stations, where children can learn about various world cultures through interactive games and activities. Especially popular with children are the cEye Spy Games, d in which kids of all ages can play detective, and the cFamily Backpacks d program, which leads chil- dren on a voyage of discovery as they use the items in their backpack to learn about objects of art on display in the galleries.<br><br> The backpacks are free and can be checked-out near the Kids Corner on the first floor. Like other cultural institutions in Denver, the museum has reaped the ben- efits of being part of a community that places a high value on the arts. In 1988 289 CHRONICLES OF LEADERSHIP<br><br>