Kelcy Warren

Kelcy Warren is a billionaire, businessman, and the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. In 2013, he donated $175 million in charity to build the Kelcy Warren Museum of Western Art. The museum sits on 170 acres of land; it’s an astounding collection that includes Thomas Moran paintings and Frederic Remington sculptures. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in Western art and it perfectly serves as a tribute to one man who has made his fortune through gas pipelines. Warren is quite vocal about his success and endeavors; just one year after his gift, he said: “I believe in giving back to our society. I love learning about history. I love reading. It fuels my passion for art—it’s an even better thing to share with others.”

Kelcy Warren has also been making headlines for his involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL. He was one of the first supporters of Energy Transfer Partners as it began building its DAPL project. In fact, he was a guest at their groundbreaking ceremony in 2014 — a celebration that occurred two years after his donation to the museum. The DAPL is a nearly 1,200-mile-long pipeline system that carries crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

Warren is not only a vocal supporter of Energy Transfer Partners, but also a taker of financial risk. The CEO put in an extra $75 million into the construction of the pipeline; according to his attorney, Robert Howard Jr., this investment was made “to help ensure” that the project would not disrupt land in Illinois or Iowa. Warren’s concern for the environment and local populations may be genuine.

But it’s important to remember that he has chosen to use art as his tool for giving back. It is a very unique and powerful tool that can have positive impacts on the people who come in contact with it, including the communities where his projects are located. Kelcy Warren art museum will eventually inspire people to learn more about Western artists, but what about the history of the land he has chosen to operate on? Warren has chosen to operate on land that is sacred to Native Americans. In fact, when his museum was being built, archaeologists discovered remains of a Native American village in Illinois. They found burial sites, which were more than 3,000 years old — and were only found because Warren’s construction crew accidentally dug into one of those burial sites. See this page for related information.

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