A great opportunity for Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

A great opportunity for Carbondale

The Carbondale Board of Trustees will soon choose a new tenant for the Gordon Cooper Library building. One of three fine proposals stands out as the clear best choice for Carbondale.

A Surls Museum will bring wide recognition to our town and lead to long-sought economic stimulus. James Surls’ unique sculpture is highly organic and primal, each piece often being very large and made of stainless steel, bronze and wood. His work is a great fit with Carbondale’s culture and natural setting. A further attraction will be a side venue in this museum which will include rotating exhibits of many valley artists who primarily show outside the valley.

The Surls Museum, along with the potential opening of the Powers Museum (just east of Planted Earth) may lead to the remarkable situation of Carbondale being home to two of the valley’s major art venues.

This year Carbondale’s Trustees approved a new Comprehensive Plan, where our citizens endorsed the enhancement of the arts and culture as a top strategy of developing a unique place for Carbondale in the region’s economy. The Surls (and Powers) museums fit beautifully with this strategy and should lead to significant cultural tourism and patronization of Carbondale’s restaurants, shops and places of lodging. As well as direct economic benefits, these museums will further energize our arts community, and yet allow Carbondale to retain its small, mountain town character.

We are fortunate to have James Surls, a resident of Missouri Heights and a modernist sculptor of international renown, and Carbondale’s Jim Calaway, a fellow Texan and well-known valley philanthropist, show great understanding and vision for Carbondale and team up to give us the proposal for the Surls Museum. Let’s encourage Carbondale’s Board of Trustees to choose this excellent proposal.

Bill Spence


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