Here I am in front of a sculpture by Sedona artist Susan Kliewar, at the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery in Chandler, AZ.
For those of us from Arizona, we recognize the name Basha from the grocery stores around the state, including the one in my home town of Sedona, AZ.
Eddie Basha began collecting art as a hobby during the 1970's under the guidance of his Aunt Zelma, hence the gallery name. He focused on western and American Indian Art. Truly, I have never seen so many Joe Beeler bronze sculptures; paintings and cartoons in one location.
Beeler was a founding member of the "Cowboy Artists of America" , well represented in this collection. This group started here in Sedona,while in the Oak Creek Tavern. Now an upscale restaurant, it was the local bar with tacky red vinyl booths and a stuffed poler bear in the corner. I remember it well. Ah those were the days. Living in Sedona for thirty years, I am, and have been acquainted, with both Susan and Joe.
The Basha Collection is housed at the corporate headquarters, which has been there since the 1930's. Walls of covered adobe give the collection an historical setting. Small rooms; hallways, and nooks, are painted vibrant colors to better show off the paintings; sculptures; baskets, and ceramics. The Gallery Director, who I had previously met, was kind enough to give us some more insight into the man who created this gallery, and the fun he had collecting.
Admission is free, and it is open most days from 9 to 4 pm.