The Denver Art Museum is honored to announce that Anna and John J. Sie have pledged $12 million to support the North Building revitalization project.
In recognition of their generosity, the museum will name the new welcome center in their honor. The Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center will reorient the North Building’s main entrance toward the Hamilton Building, creating a new, central point of entry for the museum. With 50,000 square feet on three levels, it is a significant addition, which will feature visitor-centric amenities such as a restaurant, café, and improved wayfinding, along with dynamic and flexible program spaces and a state-of-the art event hall.
Anna and I are grateful to have been part of the pioneering cable industry in this country. 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 at the Denver Art Museum sends an important message of belonging to all visitors, while also uniting the campus and giving the North Building the entrance it deserves.
Frederick and Jan Mayer Director Christoph Heinrich said, “As a board member, John Sie has been an especially perceptive leader and advisor. He has been aware that the center of gravity of the campus had shifted since the Hamilton Building was built and helped us conceive of ways to balance it. He and Anna have both been so thoughtful and supportive as the vision for the welcome center has developed. It is clear that it is a very meaningful contribution to them for many reasons, and we are so pleased that the Sies have allowed us to recognize them by naming the building in their honor.”
About the Sies
John and Anna Sie both emigrated to the United States, John from Shanghai, China when he was 14 years old, and Anna from Naples, Italy at the age of 11. They met in New Jersey where they raised their five children together. John was recruited to Colorado by Dr. John C. Malone to help build Tele-communications Inc in 1984, and with John Malone’s backing John later established the Starz and Encore networks.
John has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Denver Art Museum since 2002. With his wife Anna and through the generous support of the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, he has contributed to many important initiatives of the museum, most notably the Frederic C. Hamilton Building Capital Campaign, the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the 2011 exhibition Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting, which was made possible through their leadership and support.
The Sies’ philanthropy also spreads throughout Denver and beyond. At the University of Denver, they recently established the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex where the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is housed, along with the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy established in honor of John’s father. At the recently named Sie FilmCenter, they also established the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award in honor of Anna’s parents. The Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, managed by the Sies’ daughter, Michelle Sie Whitten, is one of the major sources of funding for down syndrome research and programs in the country and the founding donor of the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the Anschutz Medical Campus. The Sies’ son-in-law, Tom Whitten, also contributes his expertise and programmatic leadership to the museum’s Asian art department.
Image credits: Anna and John J. Sie, photo by Steve Peterson. Rendering of the welcome center courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.