Sharon and Lanny Martin

Mourning the Loss of Lanny Martin and Honoring His Legacy

Dear friends of the Denver Art Museum,

All of us at the Denver Art Museum—the Board of Trustees, our staff, and volunteers are deeply saddened by the passing of Lanny Martin. He will be remembered by all who knew him as a gracious and kind leader who brought a clear vision about the valuable role of arts and creativity in the lives of the people in our community.

Lanny was an incredible mentor and treasured friend. He was instrumental in the success of the Denver Art Museum over the last several decades, setting an ambitious tone for completing our campus, expanding our program and providing spaces for community engagement. This loss will be felt throughout Denver’s cultural and business communities. Along with museum staff and volunteers, we look forward to honoring his vision and legacy as we continue to share inspiration and creativity with our community.

In his decades of service on the Denver Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, Martin guided the museum through major evolutions to better serve the Denver region with exemplary art exhibitions and programming. In 2016, Lanny and his wife, Sharon, presented the DAM with a $25 million lead gift to launch the campaign to revitalize the museum’s iconic building originally designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. Their gift served as a catalyst, supporting the renovation and expansion of the north end of the campus. Renamed the Lanny and Sharon Martin Building in honor of their support, the completed campus reopened to the public in October 2021.

Lanny began his service on the museum’s Board of Trustees in 1994 and was named Co-Chairman in 2011 alongside longtime Chairman Frederic C. Hamilton. In 2013, he was named Board Chairman, and served in that capacity for 10 years. During that time, he indicated the accomplishments he was most proud of were completing the campus, bringing world-class art presentations to Denver and launching the DAM’s Free for Kids free admission program. Earlier this year, the museum elected Sarah Anschutz as Board Chair and Lanny continued to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Beyond his role at the DAM, Lanny loved and supported arts and culture across the region, including serving as a previous board member and Chairman of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in Denver, Chairman Emeritus of Central City Opera and chairman of the Clyfford Still Museum Foundation. He also served as a trustee of his alma mater, Northwestern University. In his personal life, Lanny was an avid art collector and focused on both 20th century works and art of the American West.

The Denver Art Museum, along with all of the communities and organizations that Lanny supported, are lucky to have known him and we are grateful to the entire Martin family for their trust and partnership.