Denver Art Museum To Bring Education To The Heart Of New Campus

Morgridge Family Foundation, Schlessman Family Foundation and Singer Family Foundation gifts totaling $8M to support education experiences designed by Mexico City-based design firm Esrawe + Cadena

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced three significant museum donations totaling $8 million for its new Bartlit Learning and Engagement Center in the Martin Building (formerly North Building), which will help fund an expansion of spaces and visitor experiences. Set to reopen to the public starting June 6, 2020, the museum’s large-scale construction and renovation project will unify the campus and create a welcoming and engaging experience for visitors of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

The Morgridge Family Foundation contributed $4 million and the Schlessman Family Foundation and Singer Family Foundation each gifted $2 million in support of the DAM’s $150 million capital campaign for construction and renovation. The funds will contribute to expanded public spaces for school and youth group visits and educational opportunities for all visitors. International design team Esrawe + Cadena, based in Mexico City, Mexico, will bring these spaces to life in support of DAM’s welcoming environment, community connections, creativity for all ages and the power of harnessing early childhood education inventiveness.

Esrawe + Cadena has been working with museum staff during the past year to reimagine education and community experiences at the DAM. The new education center will welcome visitors with flexible spaces that inspire experimentation and engagement with their own creativity, while simultaneously connecting visitors with one another and Denver’s creative energy through local artist collaborations. When the museum begins its phased reopening this summer, the new Morgridge Creative Hub, four workshop areas, sensory garden and Wonderscape Singer Community Gallery will offer these new experiences. Combining the principles of participation, flexibility, creativity and spontaneity, as well as incorporating the use of delightful colors and design, were a focus for the museum and the Esrawe + Cadena teams as well.

Esrawe + Cadena also designed custom modular furniture for the Creative Hub and workshop areas that will be flexible enough to create multiple types of educational environments. Visitors will be able to reimagine and reconfigure the furniture with the ability to move between spaces to support creativity and programs. Tables and multiple seating arrangements in each of the spaces will be able to be arranged both collectively and individually to facilitate collaborative and independent activities. Additionally, mobile activity carts will give visitors the ability to take hands-on projects to multiple areas.

Designed more than 50 years ago by world-renowned Italian architectGio Pontiand Denver-based James Sudler Associates, the Martin Building first opened to the public in 1971. By the time the renovation project is complete in 2021, the transformed Martin Building tower structure will house the majority of the DAM’s permanent collection galleries. The contributions made by the Morgridge, Schlessman and Singer Family Foundations will help the museum bring its exemplary educational programs to a more central location of the building and expand opportunities for visitor creativity and engagement.

The Denver Art Museum is a leader in the field of museum engagement, and these generous contributions will help expand our ability to welcome the community, celebrate creativity and create connections between people, their communities and a larger humanity through art,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “We are also grateful to be collaborating with international design firm Esrawe + Cadena to further the museum’s efforts to engage and inspire visitors of all ages.

Morgridge Creative Hub

The Morgridge Family Foundation’s contribution to the Martin Building project is being recognized in the renovated building’s Creative Hub. The Morgridge Creative Hub will be a dynamic educational space in the location formerly known as Ponti Hall on level one of the Martin Building. It will facilitate school group visits, feature hands-on artmaking activities inspired by the creative process and serve as a location for creative communities to convene for discussion and participation in DAM programs.

We are pleased to support this important project at the Denver Art Museum and, especially, to help create spaces that will transform the way the community can participate in creativity at the museum,” said John Morgridge, president of the Morgridge Family Foundation. “We hope this will be an engaging space for every visitor to explore their own creativity.”

The Morgridge Family Foundation was granted charitable status in April 2008 and is committed to making investments that transform communities by working with nonprofit partners. At the DAM, the Morgridge Family Foundation has supported the museum’s Creativity Resource program, an online art education resource center for classroom teachers, home-school educators and families since 2008. The Foundation has made numerous contributions to the Denver community, including to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, National Jewish Health, University of Denver and Mile High United Way.

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