Anna and John Sie have pledged $12 million to support construction of a new welcome center at Denver Art Museum. Photo courtesy of DAM
Denver Art Museum has announced that Anna and John Sie of Cherry Hills Village have pledged $12 million to support the construction of a new welcome center as part of its North Building revitalization project.
The Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center will serve as a beacon to both visitors and the surrounding neighborhood while creating a clear and accessible point of entry to the North Building. DAM’s North Building project announced in last year aims to unify the campus and make key improvements to sustain operation and relevance.
Designed by world-renowned Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates, the North Building opened to the public in 1971 and houses most of DAM’s permanent collection. Its seven-story silhouette is celebrated as one of the first-ever high-rise art museums and is the only completed building in North America designed by the Italian modernist.
The new Sie Welcome Center takes its inspiration from shapes and volumes originally designed by Ponti for the North Building. The elliptical two-story facility, collaboratively conceived by Fentress Architects of Denver and Machado Silvetti of Boston, will visually connect the campus. The design pays homage to the original Ponti architecture while considering the unique landscape of the Golden Triangle neighborhood in the heart of the city.
At 50,000 square feet, the center will be a significant feature for the museum and will include amenities such as a restaurant, quick-service café, improved ticketing and orientation capabilities, as well as dynamic and flexible program spaces, state-of-the-art event space and below-grade space for art storage and conservation lab.
“Anna and I are grateful to have been part of the pioneering cable industry in this country,” John Sie said. “Having lived the American dream, we are now fortunate to be able to give back to our great state of Colorado and the city of Denver. For us, the Welcome Center sends an important message of belonging to all visitors while also uniting the campus and giving the North Building the entrance it deserves—providing a launch pad for visitors to have a great museum experience.”
John Sie is a longtime supporter of DAM, serving on the Board of Trustees since 2002.
The Sies both emigrated to the United States—John from Shanghai, China at age 14 and Anna from Naples, Italy, at age 11. They met in New Jersey where they raised their five children.
John was recruited to Colorado by John Malone in 1984 to help build Tele-Communications Inc., and with Malone’s backing established the Starz and Encore networks.
The Sie family and its foundation have contributed to many important museum initiatives, most notably the Frederic C. Hamilton Building Capital Campaign, the annual Fund Leadership Campaign, the multi-year fund to support exhibitions and programs, and the 2011 Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting exhibition, which collected more than 60 works by iconic Chinese artists.
The North Building is currently in the design phase. Plans call for construction to begin by the end of the year with project completion by 2021.
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