Richardson: Museum square will bring new patrons to Scottsdale Arts District

I have owned and operated an art gallery in Scottsdale for more than 30 years. Legacy Gallery has seen changes in trends and the economy over the decades.

Jinger Richardson

We also are partners in Scottsdale Art Auction, which takes place in the space above Legacy on the corner of Main Street and Scottsdale Road. We and many other galleries are proud of the fact we continue to survive and thrive through these changing times.

Sometimes change can create tremendous opportunities for the arts community and the city. In my opinion, the proposed Museum Square could indeed help boost the Scottsdale Arts District and give it an infusion of new business.

The site near Marshall Way and Second Street is an abandoned transit station and empty land around the Stagebrush Theater and Scottsdale Artists School. If the Museum Square project becomes a reality, Scottsdale would sell the land and collect $25 million. The parcel would then be home to a hotel, residential units, and public space. The project would clean up that entire area and give it a revival.

The galleries are very excited about the project. This will also help revive Main Street with repainting and remodeling of existing buildings.

The positive impacts on the arts community go beyond needing more museum space and theater upgrades. The new hotel will bring tourists into the heart of the Scottsdale Arts District. New residential units bring more potential patrons. New public spaces also bring more patrons and events to the area.

— Jinger Richardson, Scottsdale art gallery owner

In addition to helping the arts, the project would also help generate millions in new tax revenues initially through construction and then through sales and bed taxes.

The Scottsdale Art Auction sold over 900 pieces of art in 2018, and the 2019 auction sold 360 pieces. The auction brings 500 art patrons to Scottsdale and we get those people because Scottsdale is a great destination in April. The art market is not dying, but our clients can go anywhere they want too. If Scottsdale doesn’t stay relevant, clean, safe and active, the client that spends money and eats at our restaurants won’t come to Scottsdale anymore.

The survival of the local galleries and businesses in downtown depends on new customers discovering Scottsdale. If that doesn’t happen, galleries will close. Artists will seek new cities. Customers will vanish, and the local arts community would suffer. The Scottsdale Arts District will have a bright future as long as our leaders have foresight and vision.

I hope they see the wisdom of Museum Square and the benefits it will bring to all of Scottsdale.

Editor’s note: Ms. Richardson owns the Legacy Gallery and Scottsdale Art Auction in Scottsdale.

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