May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Denver Art Museum’s Martin Building, renovated and ready, centers its vast art collection in the city once again

4 min read

Rising within sight of Broadway, just off Civic Center Park and awaiting visitors, the Denver Art Museum’s Martin Building has been undergoing renovations since 2017. This month, the museum will once again be reunited with a vast portion of its collection and offer new attractions and exhibitions when it reopens to visitors ahead of the Martin Building’s 50th anniversary. 

Between its newly designed rooftop to the Ponti restaurant on the ground floor, and its link to the new Anna & John J. Sie Welcome Center,  the remodeled structure will offer seven levels of expanded galleries for the museum’s collection. Each level will offer collections of indigenous art and works from Latin America, Asia, and Europe. This includes one of the museum’s oldest collections, Western American Art, which sits proudly next to impressive views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. 

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Art in ReVisión: Art in the Americas inside the Denver Art Museum’s newly opened Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
“The Scream” by Kent Monkman on display in a contemporary Native American art exhibit in the Denver Art Museum’s newly opened Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.

Photography, architecture, design, textile art and fashion will have their own spaces in the building not far from works and artifacts centuries older. On the ground floor, a newly expanded education center features local Denver artists Moe Gram and Frankie Toan. The new design makes it one of the largest museum educational centers in the country. 

Museum director Christoph Heinrich said the building is central to the organization’s mission in his opening remarks at a press preview this week. “The completed canvas expands the museum’s ability to serve our community, welcome guests to our city and preserve and present priceless works of art from around the world for generations to come.”

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A sculpture depicting a character in the Ramayana inside the Denver Art Museum’s newly opened Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A fashion exhibit inside the Denver Art Museum’s newly opened Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.

Heinrich also included land acknowledgements to the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute people, which feature prominently in the museum’s indigenous collection. He later added that the additional space spurred new acquisitions. 

“The Denver Art Museum was named a world museum, and you will encounter in all our brand new galleries, many collection favorites, but as well, many new acquisitions,” Heinrich said. “I think that’s something that always happens when you work towards a new building. When you work towards new galleries, you really get energetic and incentivized to bring in new artwork, to bring in new collections and new gifts.”

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A view of the Denver Art Museum’s newly renamed Martin Building from a welcome center below. Oct. 13, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director for the Denver Art Museum, speaks during an opening ceremony for the museum’s new Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock was also on hand to acknowledge the city’s role in helping fund the expansive project, which included the new addition of the Anna & John J. Sie Welcome Center, an addition to the Martin Building that includes the Ponti restaurant, a cafe and a multipurpose space for events that faces Broadway with its curved glass view. 

“I am absolutely jazzed by this new facility and have been since Andrea Fulton, the museum’s deputy director] came to the office and shared with me the design that was being worked on here,” the mayor said. 

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A seventeenth-century cabinet from Mexico inside the Denver Art Museum’s newly opened Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Mayor Michael Hancock attends a ceremony to open the Denver Art Museum’s Martin Building. Oct. 13, 2021.

“I am proud to represent a city that understands the true power behind arts and culture. Not only is it a great economic impact, well over $4 billion a year, that our arts and culture contribute to our economic vitality as a city,” he added. “Denver is, and many people don’t realize this, but we are, the number one city when it comes to patronage of arts and culture. The National Endowment of the Arts said Denver is a trend setter.” He said the newly refurbished Martin Building was a testament to the investment of the city and its community. “We see the true power of the appreciation that people Denver have for arts and culture, and you treat them well with great facilities.”

The Martin Building will open to Denver Art Museum members on October 21, 22 or 23. The general public can reserve tickets ahead of time for the museum’s free reopening day on October 24th on its website.

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