Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: We’re not tooting our own horn enough

Letter by Kenneth R. Miller, Tacoma on March 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm with 5 Comments »
March 19, 2012 12:12 pm

The Tacoma Art Museum’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit is “Playing on a level with Washington D.C., and New York,” writes Rosemary Ponnekanti (TNT, 3-18). Cool. But just a few days earlier, in The New York Times’ 40-page section on museums, TAM’s show was nowhere to be seen. Not hidden; absent. Same for the LeMay-America’s Car Museum June 1 opening, anticipated around the world.

Instead, the Times featured the Seattle Art Museum (showing Paul Gaughin art), the Denver Art Museum (Yves St. Laurent couture) and the Getty (an altar from Warsaw). All excellent shows, no doubt. But why are our cultural assets hidden?

If outsiders didn’t say such great things about TAM and LeMay, the Museum of Glass and the Washington State History Museum, then we might be delusional, guilty of self-importance. I don’t think so. LeMay is not a well-lit car lot; “Hide/Seek” isn’t snapshots from a Warhol binge.

Do we actually choose to hide our light under a barrel? Or are we – as a community – incompetent in the art of blowing our own horn when it comes to cultural tourism? Modesty may be a virtue but not when it comes to competing for visitors we need to help grow our economy.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Tacoma is not a destination location.

    Maybe somebody from Butte MT would think the regular collections of the TAM, MOG, or the pitiful commercial collection at the Wa State Historical Museum is impressive.

    The silver maggot museum (Lemay refuse collection) has not opened yet but quantity over quality does not make a museum.

    You must not travel much if you think Tacoma’s museum row is a draw.

    We would get more with tourist attention with a Ripley’s or bad wax museum or something dedicated to Galloping Gertie

  2. While I was waiting to pick up a family member at the arrival section of Sea-Tac Airport I perused the brochures on the numerous racks. There was not one brochures for any Tacoma attraction. Is there a Tacoma Chamber of Commerce, Convention Bureau, etc? Do any of our museum or parks send information to the major newspapers in the major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston?

  3. kenrabbitmiller says:

    TomWa007, you’re right, I don’t get around much any more. But I’m afraid you didn’t read my letter as closely as I might wish. My opinion about Tacoma’s museums doesn’t matter much. But over the past five years, these institutions have received repeated, consistent praise from critics and media around the U.S. and the world. Even people from Butte like them, and we both know what tough critics they can be.

  4. Pecksbadboy says:

    And paid critics, politicians, paid news media, and comps to travel agents have spoken highly of Tacoma’s glut of public supported “so called” museums.

    That says nothing about the quality, if you want revenue you need quality or trendy trash to appeal to the masses.

    Please demonstrate how Tacoma has either.

  5. PumainTacoma says:

    People in Tacoma can’t even afford to go to its museums. Get real. Every time someone touts our 10+ museums (lost count) we end of paying for the cushy, non-profit, so called for profit, hiring former county members Miller (Paul) and the Cosmo gang of Combs to consult for more damn stinkin museums! Get the point yet? Another Tacoma non-profit ponzi scam.

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