Guest Editorial: The Arts and a Different Blue Wave

By Recker McDowell —

A new venture from the renowned Pace Gallery in New York and Laurene Powell Jobs will bring new immersive art experiences to Miami.

The Superblue experiences will bring new contemporary and interactive installations to a Miami neighborhood near the Rubell Museum in December.  Powell Jobs is the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The effort could come to other cities.

Like so many other events and activities, the ambitious Superblue installations will have to navigate COVID-19 and social distancing.

You can check out stories from the New York Times and Miami Herald on Superblue here.

Immersive and interactive art exhibits (especially those that are outdoors) are going to become increasingly important for museums, artists and as tourism drivers for arts hubs.

This includes Scottsdale, which counts the arts as one of its major brands, tourism drivers, and economic development advantages.

The award-winning Canal Convergence events in Scottsdale already show how important public and interactive arts events can be for tourism, cultivating new arts fans and helping spur activity in the downtown area.

Established arts hubs such as Scottsdale along with emerging arts communities in cities such as Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert are going to have to create and cultivate cool events (with social distancing) to attract visitors and locals. These events can help bring more consumers out to visit cultural attractions and to spend money at local restaurants and shops.

We know how critical that is for many small businesses and restaurants with all the impacts of COVID-19. It is also critical of arts groups and cultural organizations to find new customers and revenue streams as they try to survive coming out of COVID and its impacts on more traditional shows and events.

New and creative arts events and installations can also enhance the economic development calling cards for Scottsdale, Gilbert, and other cities. Plenty of companies and entrepreneurs from markets such as New York, California, Portland, Chicago, and Seattle may look for new locations after the impacts of COVID and social unrest.

The increase of remote jobs and telecommuting workers because of COVID will allow more flexibility for plenty of professional and creative workers and where they live.

That could lead some out of expensive big cities to smaller towns. Others may focus on quality of life and things to do including the arts community.

This is a call to action to economic developers and elected officials to link arts and culture to their business recruitment and tax revenue generation efforts.

It is also a call to action for architects, designers and developers looking to bring new or enhanced projects to their communities. We know COVID-19 will dictate more social distancing in developments and designs.

There is also a chance for those blueprints to get creative with open spaces and public art. And that could help bring more tourism, spending and jobs back to communities.