Denver Art Museum Gets ‘Transformational’ $25 Million Gift From Martin Family

The Denver Art Museum has received a massive lead gift of $25 million from J. Landis and Sharon Martin that will be used to revitalize the institution’s North Building, a structure designed by Gio Ponti and opened in 1971.

Proposed architectural rendering of an aerial view of the North Building at dusk. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti

Proposed architectural rendering of an aerial view of
the North Building at dusk.
Courtesy of Fentress
Architects and Machado Silvetti

The museum called the gift “transformational” and said the revitalization will be led by Fentress Architects and Machado Silvette with a completion goal by the building’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

The overhaul will “unify the Denver Art Museum campus, celebrate Gio Ponti’s iconic design and ensure the building’s relevance and stewardship for the next 50 years,” said museum director Christoph Heinrich. The Martin’s lead gift, he said, “[W]ill launch a new era for the museum.”

The North building is one of the first-ever high-rise art museums and is the only completed building in North America by Ponti.

Philanthropist and donor Lanny Martin said in a statement: “Our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring [the North Building] into the 21st century.” He added that the Denver Art Museum is “a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region.”

The entire project for the North Building is expected to cost roughly $150 million in total. Key project elements include bringing the institution’s educational programs to the center of the campus, expanding gallery spaces for growing collections such as Design and Western American art, and completing Ponti’s original vision for visitor access to sweeping 7th floor views, as well as exterior site improvements.

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