Adrian Molina at a podium outside delivering his poetic invocation at the Martin Building reopening

Watch Adrian Molina's Poetic Invocation

Poet and artist Adrian H. Molina, also known as Molina Speaks, wrote and performed a poetic invocation for the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Denver Art Museum’s Opening Day Celebration of the reimagined Lanny & Sharon Martin Building and new Sie Welcome Center last fall. As we were planning the moment we would reopen the building to the public, we knew that incorporating many voices and community members into the celebration was essential. Additionally, we decided it was important that the final word spoken during the ribbon-cutting event come from a member of the community, not from the museum, as a symbol of welcoming visitors back to their Denver Art Museum.

The Sie Welcome Center was envisioned as the wide-open arms to the Denver Art Museum, highlighting a space for creative expression and community building, and so we wanted the performances at the ribbon cutting, especially that final moment before the ribbon was cut and doors were opened, to speak to the power of creativity and connection.

Heather Nielsen, Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, and I met with Adrian in the museum to talk about the ideas and processes that informed the renovation, design choices, and gallery reinstallations. We shared a story of architect Jorge Silvetti using a classical still life painting to demonstrate his vision for the welcome center—in one slide he showed the painting, a rather muted table setting, but something was clearly missing; in the next, he returned the element he had removed, a bright, fresh orange that drew all the objects together and made the scene more lively, more complete. The museum campus needed an orange, he told us, to draw the Hamilton Building and Martin Building together. Adrian creatively incorporated that story into the invocation with a line about the welcome center being inspired by a fruit.

During the course of the next week, Adrian visited the museum many times—sometimes by himself, other times with family (he shares a story in the poem about his experience in the Latin American and Art of the Ancient Americas galleries with his son)—to observe details, experience the atmosphere of each new space, and witness “all of the spirits housed on the second, third, and fourth floors escape from their platforms and boxes and glass cases…[to] convene on the rooftop and…dance together wildly.”

The result of those moments spent in the new galleries was “A Poetic Invocation to Re-Imagination,” which Adrian shared live at the ribbon cutting event. To share the poem with audiences near and far, now and in the future, we commissioned Adrian, along with videographer Mary Grace Legg, to recreate it in a video format that brings Adrian’s words and inspiration to life. Watch below—we hope you enjoy it!