Mort and Toby Mower |

Mort and Toby Mower

Sarah L. Stewart
Theo StroomerDr. Mort Mower, right, and his wife, Toby, stand with pieces of their art collection in their winter home in Beaver Creek. The couple recently added a Monet and a Soutine, pictured below Dr. Mower, to the collection. The piece is entitled "Still Life with Bouquet and Basket of Fruit."

Like so many other second-home owners in the valley, Mort and Toby Mower came here 10 years ago to ski ” but found another calling within the community.

The Mowers make the most of the winters they spend at their home in Beaver Creek. Toby, a retired nurse, volunteers with patients at the Beaver Creek Medical Center. Both are avid supporters of the Vilar Performing Arts Center, attending about three-quarters of the winter shows and underwriting some events.

But that’s not all the Mowers have donated: They also have used their 350-piece art collection, which features work from some of the artistic masters, to raise money for their causes.

Toby: We’ve gotten involved very much with the Vilar Center. Two years ago, we loaned our Rembrandt collection to the Vilar Center for a fundraiser, and we hope in the future to make available our impressionist collection (including works by Renoir, Degas, Monet and others).

Toby: It’s a good investment, and they’re beautiful pieces of art.

Mort: We’ve always loved art, but for most of our lives didn’t have the space to put it up. We lived in the woods, with a house that had all glass and no walls, and so we really didn’t have much of a chance to show art. (Eventually, they moved into a condominium that had more wall space, and started working with an art dealer.) All of a sudden, we outran our wall space and we still had opportunities, so we decided we had to start showing it.

Well, people were asking us to get involved, and we did. We love the theater. We just love what this little theater has done. (In the time we’ve been here it’s transformed) from a small-theater atmosphere to a professional-theater atmosphere.

Mort: It’s not transient. (With performing arts) you have a performance and that’s it. You can remember it, but you’re not allowed to take pictures or videos. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. (The pieces of art in our collection were created) 200 to 400 years ago, and they’re still here. So there is a permanence that I don’t see with performing arts.

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