Anne Evans (arts patron)

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Anne Evans
Anne Evans.jpg
Anne Evans, age 15, around 1886
Born (1871-01-23)January 23, 1871
London, England, United Kingdom
Died January 6, 1941(1941-01-06) (aged 69)
Denver, Colorado
Occupation Arts activist, philanthropist
Parent(s) John Evans

Anne Evans (January 23, 1871 – January 6, 1941) was an American arts patron. She devoted her life to the founding and support of some of Colorado's largest cultural institutions, including the Denver Art Museum, the Central City Opera, and the Denver Public Library.

Anne Evans was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in 2016.

Early life

The daughter of the second territorial governor of Colorado, John Evans, she became interested in the arts from an early age.[1] John Evans moved to Denver in 1865. Art was Anne's passion.


In 1893, at the age of 22, Evans and her mother became two of the earliest members of the Denver Artists' Club, which later became the Denver Art Museum. Evans became a professional member of the Denver Artists' Club in 1895, and began serving on its governing council in 1896, both while she continued her own artistic studies at the Art Students League of New York.

In her service to the Denver Artists Club, Evans pushed for an exhibition space at the new Carnegie library in Denver in 1910. She also encouraged members of the Denver Artists' Association (name changed in 1917 due to an idea Anne had) to expand its collection. Notably, she organized the first showing of Native-American art in 1925, and she donated a significant portion of her own private collection of Native American Puebloan art, and Spanish Colonial art. The Denver Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the country to show Native-American work. Evans assisted in appointing the first curators to this collection, Edgar C. McMechen and Eric Douglas.[2]

Evans served on several committees throughout her life, notably the Denver Public Library Commission and Mayor Robert W. Speer's Municipal Arts Commission. She was appointed to the Denver Public Library Commission in 1907, and began a four-year term as its president in 1910. During her time as president, Evans spearheaded the creation of branch libraries. Four new libraries were built under her watch: the Warren Branch, the Woodbury Branch, the Decker Branch, and the Dickinson Branch. Her key project on the Municipal Arts Commission was the creation of Civic Center Park. Mayor Speer was inspired by the City Beautiful movement and charged the commission with the creation of beautiful public spaces, including Civic Center, which is today a National Historic Landmark.[2]

Evans was involved in the restoration of the Central City Opera House and the establishment of the Central City Opera Festival in 1932. Evans, along with her friend Ida Kruse McFarlane, secured the funds to save the opera house from demolition. It reopened with a production of the play Camille, starring Lillian Gish in 1932.[3]


Her family home in Denver, Colorado, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Denver landmark. Today, it is known as the Byers-Evans House and is a museum operated by History Colorado.

Her summer home near Evergreen, Colorado, designed by Burnham Hoyt, is also on the National Register of Historic Places, and is privately owned.

See also


  1. ^ Halaas, David Fridtjof (1989). "The House in the Heart of a City" Colorado Heritage.
  2. ^ a b Sternberg, Barbara (2011). Anne Evans – A Pioneer in Colorado's Cultural History. Colorado: Buffalo Park Press 2011
  3. ^ "Gold Boom Days to Live Again in Central City". Record Journal of Douglas County. July 11, 1932. p. 8.
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