Wake Up Call For Scottsdale: PS

“PS” in this case stands for post script but also Pejman’s Siren. Or Prescient Statement.

See what Scottsdale gallery owner Bob Pejman wrote to city leaders following a 2016 Phoenix New Times article even more disconcerting than the one we wrote about a couple of days ago.

Simply put, it was time to do something then.  It’s more than time to do something now. Part of Scottsdale’s heart and soul is at stake. Fortunately, there are solutions.  There is a will and a way, as we wrote about yesterday. Here is a link

March 03, 2016

To City Council,

I am sure that many of you have read yesterday’s extensive article in the Phoenix New Times titled “Scottsdale Art is Dead….”. This is the 2nd article from this publication on the serious subject of the crumbling downtown art galleries district.


We are hoping that reading this article will open the eyes of some of the Council members….in that, the recent outcry for help is NOT one that is coming from a handful of angry gallery owners who Mayor Lane describes as business operators who are responsible for their own fate….but rather a symptom of a serious issue for Scottsdale’s identity as an Arts & Culture draw.

The quote that sticks out from the article “Instead of a city of arts and culture, we are a city of entertainment, Udinotti says. It’s a party city now” describes one of the problems with the direction of downtown Scottsdale under the direction of the current Council. This quote is followed by the writer’s note: “An array of factors contributed to the downfall. High rent forced galleries to shutter or move. Instead of coping with vacancies, the city allowed Old Town to morph into a nightlife destination for dining and drinking.” And then there’s this one: “Now, the Scottsdale Gallery Association lists just 33 galleries on its website. By comparison, Scottsdale’s tourism website (experiencescottsdale.com) lists 100 nightclubs, bars, and restaurants.” Thus the gradual transformation of the Art District to “Eternal Spring Break” (that’s my quote).

It is not too late to stop the carnage and improve the art district: We understand that there are many factors such as the state of the economy, the retirement of the boomers, and the Internet, etc…that are negatively affecting our businesses. But if all of that is true (and it is), then shouldn’t the City be more proactive in protecting us rather than permitting (and in some cases subsidizing) even more events that “undercut” established galleries and brick & mortar businesses in downtown, leading to the destruction and decay of the Scottsdale Art District? And shouldn’t the new events ordinance place serious limitations on permitting of NEW Art Related Events, which we have asked Council to include in the Special Events Ordinance rewrite? In my recent meeting with Council member Korte, even she suggested this to be a reasonable option to protect the galleries.

All merchants’ and gallery owners’ eyes are on the New Special Events Ordinance that is due to be released tomorrow and voted on during the March 15 Council session.

Thank you for your anticipated support,

Bob Pejman
Pejman Gallery LLC