11 February 2007
Support your local treasure
City development is a serious and vogue issue in Tulsa these days. There is a reason for it. We have some tremendous obstacles ahead of us if we are to remain competitive as a city, both regionally and nationally. It's not really about being a destination hub for entertainment or having "cool places" to go, so that some mythical "creative class" of people might want to live here. These are a just a small part of the equation.
But I want to mention something that Tulsans ought to be supporting, but don't and that is a place called Gilcrease Museum. It requires local support. All of the great cities with great museums support their museums, and we should too.
I will tell you from personal experience that most people in Tulsa don't know where the museum is, as Tim Farley aptly notes in his [Urban Tulsa Weekly] report. But also from personal experience I can tell you that people are quite apathetic on the subject.
That's scary. I live down here at the other end of the turnpike, and I can find the Gilcrease quite easily: I've been there twice in recent years. It's a splendid place, one Tulsa can be proud of. It doesn't get the press of the Philbrook, perhaps because some folks around these parts are still faintly embarrassed by that whole Western and/or Native American business. Fine. If you can't deal with the Old West, perhaps you can handle the gardens, which are lovely in their own right.
Or maybe it's just the Tyranny of the New. Thomas Gilcrease donated his collection of Western art to the city of Tulsa way back in the 1950s, and to some people, it might as well be ancient Sumeria. Distracted by shiny things, I suppose.