After more than three years of construction, not to mention last year's pandemic delays, the Denver Art Museum's $175 million renovation is, at last, complete.
What's next: Doors open to the public with a free admission day Oct. 24.
Why it matters: The pricey project could help put our city on the map as a cultural destination, boosting tourism, driving economic growth and even accelerating its population boom.
The big picture: Based on the designs of the late Gio Ponti, who helped plan the museum, the expanded campus offers a chic, brightly lit welcome center, numerous upgraded galleries, two high-profile restaurants, a sunken pavilion, rooftop terrace and massive learning center.
- The revamp also features a complete reconstruction of the Ponti Building — now called the Lanny and Sharon Martin Building, thanks to the couple's $25 million donation.
- The major renovation added the Sie Welcome Center and 35,000 square feet to the museum's famed, half-century-old North Building.
How it happened: The facelift was funded by private donors and Denver voters, who in 2017 approved the Elevate Denver Bonds to provide $35.5 million in upgrades. The museum also matched public investment dollars with privately raised capital at a 3-to-1 ratio.
Zoom in: Some of the updated collections include the Northwest Coast and Alaska Native galleries; Indigenous Arts of North America galleries; Latin American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas galleries; and Asian Art galleries.
- The entire museum now features bilingual art labels in English and Spanish.
- The Sie Welcome Center is expected to be a particular draw with its two new Jennifer Jasinksi-directed restaurants, along with a state-of-the-art education center — one of the largest in any art museum nationwide.
The bottom line: The Denver Art Museum serves as a top cultural attraction in the metro area, averaging about 800,000 visitors annually in recent years, according to the museum. And that number could grow a lot larger, thanks to the revamp.
- Yes, but: Only time will tell if the cash infusion will be a worthwhile investment.
What to watch: The museum's reopening coincides with the Martin building's 50th anniversary.
- Guests must reserve tickets online.
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