Convergence Of Good & Bad

This weekend Canal Convergence returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s a wonderful concept and celebration of Scottsdale ingenuity at its best.  Turning a non-descript waterway into a campus for capitalism and, periodically, the arts.  For this we can applaud Scottsdale Public Art.  For this.
But for two other reasons bureaucrats need to be held to account, or heads need to roll.
Several years ago Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven wisely spearheaded an appropriation to fund a dramatic new entry way to the Marshall Way arts district north of Indian School Road.  It’s an area that has struggled in recent years as salons have replaced galleries and Main Street has exerted its primacy.  
Yet, after a blue ribbon panel, including the finest contemporary art mind in the Valley, selected a transformative work to do exactly what the merchants hoped it would, arts advocates, city bureaucrats or both fumbled.  They have apparently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  We are going to spend time digging into this matter more.  Stay tuned.
Such investigation is worthy since some of the same people appear to have blundered badly a dramatic, permanent installation on the Waterfront canal itself as well.
Public art is one of the city’s great elevators.  It must always have people in its charge who understand the destination, not the journey.  And that going one for three in important public art outings may be good in baseball, but its not for the community.