This year, Anne Evans, one of the founding members of the Denver Artists Club, is being recognized by two Colorado organizations. She was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame on January 28 and will be inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame on March 16.
Anne Evans’ work endures in institutions that helped transform Denver into a viable modern city. Among them are the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Public Library, the restoration of the Central City Opera House, and the development of the Central City Summer Opera Festival. All of these cultural jewels required tireless and ingenious fund raising.
The Denver Art Museum benefitted from Anne Evans’ influence from the very start. She served in any needed capacity, including serving as interim president 1929–1932. Anne Evans served on the board 1896–1940. An early pioneer in working for the recognition of the art of American Indians as fine art, Anne Evans started the native arts collection from her own holdings. She encouraged others to collect as well, as Caroline Bancroft stated in 1935, “So we began to collect–blankets, pottery, basketry, jewelry, and the like. We did not collect them as curios nor for any archeological interest. We collected for beauty and form. We believed… that they had real art value. (Caroline Bancroft, “She Created an Indian Cult,” Independent Woman, Vol. XIV, No. 11: Nov 1935.)
Serving on the board of the Denver Art Museum as well as other art organizations, the Denver Artist Guild and Denver Allied Arts, Anne Evans was a supporter of local artistic talent. She accomplished this through financial support and crucial introductions and commissions. This is reflected in a letter from the Fine Arts Committee of the City Club of Denver from January 1941, “We recalled the many young and talented artists she has assisted by the purchase of their work and then presenting it to the Denver Art Museum, invariably as a gift from an anonymous donor.”
Anne Evans is also largely responsible for less well-known endeavors. She organized hundreds of volunteers to get the bond issue passed which allowed the land to be purchased for the City and County Building, providing space for the emerging Denver Art Museum on the fourth floor. Anne Evans was truly a business woman of her time whose many contributions helped define Denver as the business and cultural center it is today.
Learn more in Anne Evans: A Pioneer in Colorado's Cultural History.