#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.
The Denver Art Museum is an iconic institution in Denver, and one of the largest art museums between the west coast and Chicago. Because Julie Penrose was a great enthusiast of both the performing and visual arts, El Pomar’s Trustees established “arts and culture” as one of the Foundation’s five grant making areas and provide support to numerous Colorado arts organizations each year. The Denver Art Museum is El Pomar Foundation’s 20th-highest grant recipient to date.
Grantee Spotlight: Denver Art Museum
First established as the Denver Artists’ Club in 1893, the Denver Art Museum was renamed in 1923 after the acquisition of its first permanent home in 1922. This first home was the Chapell House, a mansion in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and the Museum has had a variety of homes since, including: the public library, a portion of the Denver City and County Building, various galleries on 14th Avenue Parkway, and finally the iconic North and Frederic C. Hamilton buildings in which it resides today. The North Building, designed by Gio Ponti in collaboration with James Sudler Associates, opened in 1971 as one of the first high rise museums in the country. The unique exterior wall features more than one million custom-made, reflective glass tiles that create dynamic patterns of light and shadow throughout the day.
In 2002 El Pomar Foundation made a $3 million grant in support of the expansion of the Denver Art Museum. The Frederic C. Hamilton building opened in 2006 with an avant-garde structure that allowed the museum to nearly double in size. The building provides space for three temporary exhibits, increased gallery space for the Museum’s permanent collection, art storage, and public amenities. The Denver Art Museum is now one of the largest art museums in the American West, boasting a collection of more than 70,000 works of art between 10 permanent collections. It is also among the top 20 most-attended art museums in North America.
As of 2016, the Denver Art Museum announced the North Building renovation project to allow for upgraded infrastructure, a new welcome center, and space to bring education programs to the center of campus. The plan is to complete the upgrades by 2021, the North Building’s 50th anniversary.
On December 4, 2018, the Denver Art Museum will celebrate its 125th birthday, a notable celebration of an institution that has benefitted the Colorado community since its inception.
El Pomar in 2002:
In 2002 El Pomar made 554 grants, distributing more than $15 million across the state. One significant change to the Foundation’s grant making in this year was the establishment of the Wildland Fire Fund in response to the devastating wildfire season across Colorado. El Pomar led an effort to supply front-line volunteer fire agencies with various supplies, including personal firefighting equipment, radios, hoses, and pumps. Since the Fund's inception, El Pomar has continued to address emergency needs for volunteer firefighters and first responders across the state each year. Notable support has included funding during the Black Forest, South Fork, and Lake George fires.
Spotlight by Janni Conrad
Images courtesy of the Denver Art Museum