Competition? Call it opportunity.
Efforts continue to bring a Western art museum downtown. You’d expect such a museum, in the middle of one of the West’s premier arts districts, to provide some real synergy: Visitors view its art, which for the most part is on loan from collections and usually isn’t for sale. Then they spill out into the streets where beckon nearby art galleries, whose Western art pieces generally are for sale.
You’d expect a museum to spur, not deter, interest in purchasing such art. But as Amanda Lee Myers reported in the Oct. 27 Tribune, at least two Scottsdale gallery owners, Maryvonne Leshe and Abe Hays, told the Scottsdale Cultural Council this week that a museum might compete with them. As Myers reported, the question was raised about the need for a museum as recent attempts to secure one have failed.
They’ve failed, all right, but not because a museum isn’t a good idea. Inept city officials recently fussed and fumbled away the chance to land a branch of the famed Buffalo Bill Western history museum of Cody, Wyo.
Anybody who sees Scottsdale’s artificial Old West image as still having currency among tourists – and it still does – can see what an important addition to downtown a Western museum would be. And even if the museum does offer some works for sale — Myers reported one of the two owners saying other museums do this — the benefit will be to both buyers and sellers.
To illustrate: Sales of logo clothing, CDs, posters and other memorabilia go up after each stop on a concert tour or after a big athletic contest — either at the arena or at stores — because of the synergy of interest these performers create among the consuming public.
Former Scottsdale City Councilman Ned O’Hearn, a museum backer who was in attendance, wrote us to say Leshe’s and Hays’ views don’t square with most gallery owners. His letter is published elsewhere on this page. O’Hearn told one of our editors that the proposed museum would not offer anything for sale.
We hope he is right. A museum would be good for downtown, whether it sells art or not. Do we need to paint anybody a picture?