In 1960 Mrs. Charles Tate and Mrs. Robert Green, along with the Denver Civic Ballet Guild, conceived the idea of having an annual Ball to recognize young ladies for their accomplishments in the community. Even though the original plan was to have the young ladies called Honorees, the name soon evolved into Debutantes. The first Ball was held in 1969 at the Cherry Hills Country Club.
Subsequently several leaders wished to focus on the ballet dance art culture while others thought all forms of cultural arts endeavors should be recognized. The Fine Arts Foundation was formed in 1986 under the leadership of Mrs. Richard Hartman and Mrs. Charles Tate. The Fine Arts Foundation held its first fundraiser, The Summer Debutante Ball, the following June at Cherry Hills Country Club.
In 1989 the Foundation established the Citizen of the Arts award to recognize individuals in the community for their outstanding contributions and involvement in the arts. In 2000 the first Citizen of the Arts Jubilee was held to honor the Citizen of the Arts. This person is honored for their outstanding contributions in the arts community. In 2001 the Foundation moved the location of The Summer Debutante Ball to the University of Denver Graduation Green. The Robert and Judi Newman Performing Arts Center at the University of Denver includes the Fine Arts Foundation Recital Hall Green Room.
The money raised by the Fine Arts Foundation through the Debutante Ball and the Citizen of the Arts Jubilee is used to fund multiple grant recipients each year. We have awarded in excess of $2,000,000 to support all forms of cultural arts in our community.
In 1996 an Endowment Fund was established which has been managed by the Denver Foundation since 2004. The Fine Arts Foundation maintains an Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Denver.
The Fine Arts Foundation continues its long and proud tradition of contributing to the Arts of Colorado.