Grounded in her love of family, Ann, daughter of Bruce Benson and Nancy Benson, is a great example of a proud native Coloradoan. In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, Ann has a sense of pride in her involvement with the art community in Denver.
Ann, the Curator of the annual Le Jeune Salon Art Show (which means Young Salon), seems to have the midas touch when it comes to picking the right pieces of art for the Show. Le Jeune, which is part of Salon d’ Arts, is an annual fine art exhibition of notable national living artists, with artwork available for sale between $150 to $2,500. Le Jeune Salon benefits the Denver Art Museum, funding its expansion of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to the Museum.
Ann says: “The inspiration for the Show is to provide the beginning art collector with an affordable way to purchase fine art. It is a lively and much anticipated event, geared toward up-and-coming young professionals who have an interest in learning more about, and collecting, fine art.”
The yearly event attracts hundreds of young professionals and community leaders. Along with Ann as the Curator, the Honorary co-chairs are other young leaders/philanthropists, Sarah Hunt and Anne Hanson.
Just like Ann’s favorite magazine (Real Simple), she believes in keeping things real and simple as possible. Ann has a distinctive, sophisticated and charming style all her own. Her positive outlook and enthusiasm about art is real and genuine and you can sense it when you talk with her about art collecting. Ann says: “There are so many incredible people involved in this process. It has been a wonderful opportunity and a privilege for me to work with so many talented artists.”
Ann, you look like the quintessential All American Girl; are you active in any sports? Currently, my all time favorite sport is running after our toddler. Other than that, I am passionate about skiing.
What will we find you doing on weekends? Hanging with the family.
You have been so involved lately with the Denver Art Museum, Salon D’ Arts and as the Curator for the Le Jeune Salon event; how did you first become interested in art collecting? My mother started taking me to the DAM since I was five. I was indoctrinated early in the art world and it stuck.
Le Jeune has pretty much been your “baby,” how has it evolved through the years? In 2003 I gave a talk about how to create/start an art collection as a young adult. And Le Jeune Salon grew from there. I wanted to show the importance of starting an art collection. Art can be available, approachable and accessible to the young collector. In 2004 the show’s art was under $1000 and I had many Colorado based artists with a few from Montana and New Mexico. The next year the price went up to $1500 and the show continued to be a tremendous success. This year the artwork was $2500 and under and we sold over $75,000 worth of artwork.
Where do you want to take Le Jeune from here? We will continue to have this event for the Denver Art Museum and its Young Associates.
How do you feel Denver is ranking as a “destination art city” these days? With the Frederic C. Hamilton expansion project almost completed, there seems to be a buzz about Denver nationally. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also bringing a huge focus on Denver, as is the new Clyfford Still Museum, which is currently fundraising for their new building located directly west of the DAM.
How do you decompress after a hectic day? Talk with my husband.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Vail.
What is your fondest childhood memory? Too many to choose from…
You grew up in a family that was very active in Politics; how did this influence your outlook on things? My father was the one active in politics. It showed us the commitment we should all have to be involved in public service.
When you were a young girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? A Colorado Senator.
What do you consider your proudest accomplishment? My marriage with Kevin.
Do you have a favorite saying or quote you like? As I always say to my children, “be kind and respectful.”
You probably attend many charitable events, what are some of your favorites? DAM Uncorked, Cherish the Children Gala (my husband is on the board of the Beacon Center), Children’s Hospital Gala, Spring Luncheon Gala for the DAM.
Is there a magazine you just love to read and can’t wait for the next issue to arrive? RealSimple.
With all the cutbacks in funding for Art and Music education in the schools, how do we get children interested in the Arts? Parents getting involved in their children’s schools and making sure that there is art and music available, if there are no programs then start fundraising! We fundraise every year at Bromwell Elementary to make sure we have a full time art and music teacher.
How do we get our young people interested in charitable giving and philanthropy – or to just giving back in any way to their community? Lead by example.
What should all of us be working on these days to make our country better for future generations? Ourselves.
If you could trade places with a famous historical figure for just one day, who would it be? I am happy just being me, I wouldn’t want to change.
What do you consider a priceless gift? Love.
What’s in the future for Ann Reidy? Continue raising and loving our beautiful children and being passionate about art.
Ann’s Community and Philanthropic Involvement: Bromwell Elementary School: Volunteer Parent: Room Parent, fundraising, art room assistant, student publishing aide; The Children’s Hospital Foundation: Development Committee Member, Children’s Hospital Gala 2002-2006, Committee Member 2004-2006; Le Jeune Salon: Curator 2004-2006; Salon d’ Arts: Docent 2002-2004; Denver Art Museum: Young Associates Steering Committee 2005-2006, DAM Uncorked: Honorary Co-Chair 2006, DAM Uncorked 2005 Co-Chair; The Design Council 2002-2006; Committee Member Louis Comfort Tiffany; Design Lecture Series and Gala Luncheon; CultureHaus Board 1997-2001, Event Volunteer Coordinator, Event Coordinator for Kids in the Haus; Denver Antique Show and Sale 1998, Committee Member; Arts Students League of Denver: Art and Soul Committee Member, Board Member; Denver Public Library: Trustee of Friend’s Foundation 2002-2004, Booklover’s Ball - General Committee Member 1998-2003, Co-Chair Ticket Committee 2002-2003; Denver Zoo: Do at the Zoo Corporate Committee 2000-2002; Do at the Zoo Event Committee 1995-1999, Corporate Development Committee 1999; Children’s Museum of Denver: The Birthday Bash Executive Steering Committee 2002, Children’s Museum Black Tie Gala, Junior Ticket Chair 2000; Montview Community Preschool: Fundraising Chairman 2003-2004, Auction Acquisitions Committee 2002-2003, Auction Chair 2001; Denver County Republicans: Precinct Committee Chairman: Precinct 616; Colorado Academy Alumni Board: VP of Development.